“History of Asbury United Methodist Church, 1867 to 2017 ”
One hundred fifty years ago, a small group of Christians gathered together to establish a church. They met in a log cabin, which was constructed by the late Wesley Watkins, father of the late Alice Brown. The log cabin became inadequate for the members and so the Good Samaritan Hall was erected and served as a school meeting hall. During this time, officers were elected for the Asbury Methodist Episcopal Church. The trustees were; Ed Jackson, Samuel Levi, Dennis Moore, Wesley Watkins, Jeremiah Smith, Charles Henson, and Bro. McDoulds. Thomas White gladly donated a half acre of ground for this venture, and the trustees began formulating the plans for a new edifice.
The families serving the church in those early years of struggle under the leadership of Rev. Watkins were; The Watkins, Johnsons, Greens, Moores, Smiths, Hensons, Levis, Praytons, Carrolls, Mayfields, Hebrons, Halls, Wesleys, Simms, Wallaces, Arthurs, Macks, Gaithers, Jackson, McDoulds, and Bostons.
In 1867 Asbury became a part of the South Baltimore District Conference, after the Washington Conference joined the Baltimore Conference. St. Mark Methodist Church of Hanover, Maryland was one of our sister churches. Rev. W. W. Foreman served as pastor.
In 1876 the cornerstone was laid, but it was not until 1888 after the death of Thomas White that the land was deeded to Asbury. Time brought new members as some of the older members were laid to rest. It then became evident that half an acre was not enough land for burial ground and the church. In 1892 Mr. & Mrs. Cornelius Mack deeded what was called “Mirey Swamp” to the church. This is the land on which Asbury UM Church rest today. According to a deed dated November 23, 1892 the building which was called Good Samaritan Hall was deeded to Asbury by Cornelius & Catherine Mack.
In early 1900 we were associated with the Locust UM Church in Simpsonville, Maryland, and Hopkins Chapel in Highland, Maryland forming what was known as the Atholton Charge. In June 1966 the Washington Annual Conference was dissolved due to integration and we became part of the Baltimore Conference once again.
In the early 1920’s-1960’s the labor and dedication of people like Lorraine Arthur, a dedicated organist and Thomas Arthur as Church Superintendent were very inspirational. Under the guidance of Rev. Aileen Moore our Assistant Pastor, many projects were successfully undertaken. For many years her Queen’s Rally was one of the largest fund raising projects with participants from the Harriet Tubman High School.
In April 1968 a uniting conference was held in Dallas, Texas. It was at this time the Methodist Churches merged with the Evangelical United Brethren and the name of these groups were changed to the United Methodist Church. Our church became Asbury United Methodist Church.
During the early 1970’s under the leadership of Rev. Walter Cox Sr., we added bathrooms, a kitchen, remodeled the dining room and other improvements.
February 1976, when our appointed pastor Rev. John Day Jr., was taken from us to his dwelling place into the paradise of God, we were discouraged and our future uncertain. We were without a pastor for four months. Rev. Brutus Wilson, a retired minister and his wife took us by the hand and said “I will be with you for as long as needed.” Rev. Wilson had been worshipping with us on the first and third Sunday’s for some time. He continued to worship with us on a regular basis, until we were appointed our first female pastor, Rev. Katherine B. Luckett in June 1976.
In July 1978, Rev. Daniel McLellan was appointed as pastor of Asbury-Hopkins-Locust Parish. Rev. McLellan arranged his ministry schedule so that his service would be available to each church every Sunday, Asbury had twelve noon service. During Rev. McLellan’s pastorate we held an in-house parish retreat at Hammond High School, Clarksville, Maryland, at which time we took a look at our church programs and goals of yesterday, today and tomorrow.
In April 1979 our 112th Church Anniversary was concluded with a banquet at the Red Carpet Inn, Ft. Meade, Maryland with our former pastor, Rev. John Coursey as our guest speaker.
In July 1981 under Rev. Middlebrooks leadership, we became the Atholton Larger Parish, Rev. Charles Baskerville and Rev. Edwin Simmons were assigned by the conference to assist Rev. Middlebrooks to keep our churches on the move. In spite of the fact that merger and building a new edifice in a central location was the number one topic at many joint meetings, we at Asbury were still enhancing the beauty of our church. Colored plexiglass windows were installed (donated by families of the church) and the sanctuary, pastor’s study and the narthex were carpeted. In 1982 we became Asbury-Hopkins Parish and Locust UM Church, a station church.
In April 1983 our 116th Church Anniversary was celebrated with a “Tree Of Life Pageant,” originated by the late Dora Mack Carter.
In July 1984 we became a station church with Rev. Theresa Robinson as our pastor. We came into the new setting with mixed emotions, but thanks be to God Almighty we can say we felt the spirit. Our increase in finance, membership, and spiritual uplifting had renewed our faith in the future as a church of tomorrow.
1986 with the leadership of Rev. Dr. Anna Reynolds we became Asbury/Andover Parish of the Baltimore Washington Conference.
1988 Rev. Walter Cox Sr. came out of retirement to pastor Asbury/Andover Parish. In
1991 there were major repairs to the church and dining room floors.
1994 Asbury/Andover Parish merged and Andover church was rented to another denomination. 1988 Rev. Fritz Outlaw became our pastor and Andover was sold.
2000 “The New Millennium” Rev. Callie Matthews was appointed as our pastor and with her spirit and leadership she took us on a new and improved Christian journey. In 2001 Rev. Callie Matthews became our first full time pastor, which was truly an accomplishment for Asbury. During that time we increased our membership and continued improving the appearance of our church; renovated the upstairs Sunday School Room, added a Mass Choir, Singles ministry, Transportation, Health, Tape Ministries, Bible Study at our neighboring Senior Home and more was planned.
In July 2005, Rev. Sonia L. King was appointed as our pastor, her first full time appointment as an ordained pastor. She came looking forward to getting to know the Asbury family and working with each of us as the Lord leads and guides the vision of Asbury. Her/our expectation and excitement was to continue the relationships, develop through study and spiritual disciplines, provide service to others and witness through our sharing. She encouraged each of us to get to know our gifts and use them. Her outreach ministry guidance was awesome and her belief that there is no end to what God can do through Asbury affirmed the possibilities are endless.
In July 2009, Rev. Gay Green-Carden was anointed and appointed as our part time pastor. Since her tenure she has grown the congregation financially and spiritually as well as the membership that has a burning desire and a deeper love of Jesus the Christ. She vowed to humbly serve, equip and most of all keep the flame burning to ignite all who are on this Christian journey! We have renovated our kitchen, pastor’s study, narthex, and padded our pews. Despite carrying a bag of medicines for a pharmaceutical company, she carries her love for the Lord and the B-I-B-L-E.
There is still a need for us to evaluate our efforts and sincerely decide if we are doing enough to help our church meet its goals and objectives. We ask God to strengthen and guide the Asbury United Methodist Church family as we move on with renewed faith as we develop a program to become an Acts 2 congregation guided by the Potters Hand to make better disciples for Christ.