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Asbury in Charles Town celebrates anniversary

By Staff | Jun 27, 2016

How do people celebrate anniversaries? With a celebration of family, friends, food and fun.

Asbury United Methodist Church, is doing the same. They are celebrating their 225th anniversary, which is Friday, June 24, by hosting a party of their own. Asbury, located on 100 West North Street in Charles Town is kicking off the celebration with a community BBQ on Saturday, June 25.

No worries sending out invitations; the whole community is invited!

Bill Ball, Asbury’s soon to be associate pastor effective July 1, has been leading the 225th planning committee for this event over the last year.

“The celebration is going to be about our community. It’s an opportunity to share what Asbury’s done in the community over the past 225 years. We have a community-oriented church and I really love that,” said Ball.

“Asbury has been a vital part of the Charles Town and Ranson life. You go to any civic organization-Community Ministries, the Ruritan, the Lions Club, Meals on Wheels-you name it and the Asbury family is involved. That’s what the Lord calls us to do, that’s one of the reasons I love our church. The walls and the building are not the church; it’s the people and what we do when we go out into the world. We serve and that’s what we are called to do.”

The event boasts a plethora of entertainment, educational activities, food and fun. Saturday kicks off with a community BBQ. The event includes kids’ activities such as games and a moon bounce. There will be tours of the church, two speakers, a video about the church and history of Methodism, corn hole and other games for adults and wagon rides.

“There will be activities for children and adults to enjoy; history talks on Frances Asbury and the Methodist church itself. It will be a nice, fun community time,” said Faylee Kisner Wilt, a retired Berkeley County middle school teacher from Jefferson County, who has been attending Asbury since birth and a member since fifth grade.

Wilt is a third generation member; she was raised in the church, was married there and raised her family in Asbury as well.

“I think it’s important for everyone to realize how long Asbury has been around, even though it’s had several different names-it’s still been the same church. People don’t realize it’s been around that long,” said Wilt.

She said that people who attend the 225th anniversary celebration at Asbury will not only have fun, but learn more about Asbury and what it does in the community.

“Hopefully people will come, learn a little more about us and learn what we can do for them. Even if they have a home church, we still provide outreach ministries for them. We reach out to the community in other ways– AA, Young Lives, NA, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and other groups all meet at Asbury.”

Church historian, 88-year-old Doris Cline, said she hopes people will attend the event to learn more about Asbury’s history.

“The fact that we are on the same parcel of land when my great-great-grandfather was treasurer and is pretty amazing,” said Cline. “I think if you look around at all of the smaller churches that are just getting started and then you realize that we have been here 225 years and we have not folded in that length of time, it’s remarkable.”

Cline said she believes it’s important that the people in Charles Town come and help Asbury celebrate the fact that Asbury has here for 225 years and that the property was purchased from Charles Washington.

“To me that’s important because I love history,” said Cline, who has been a member her whole life and served as historian for the last ten years.

Peter “Pete” Dougherty, sheriff of Jefferson County, has been a member at Asbury for decades. He said he is excited to attend the 225th anniversary event.

“A life without faith is just existing. The church has been my place to learn and grow for more than 40 years,” Dougherty said. “I think it’s wonderful to be part of a church family that has been at the same parcel of ground that Francis Asbury, an icon of Methodism, spoke at 225 years ago.”

No anniversary celebration is complete without presents. The first 500 people to attend Saturday get a commemorative gift bag.

The community BBQ is Saturday, but the celebration doesn’t stop there. On Sunday morning there will be a special 225th worship service, which is open to church and community members alike.

“On Sunday, for our 225th anniversary, we are holding a special worship service. We are doing a tent service, reminiscent of old tent revivals that Methodists have historically led,” said Ball. “We’ve invited all of our former Pastors, organists, music directors, etc. to join us. We will begin the service on Sunday; June 26 at 10 a.m. where we will rededicate Asbury into the Lord’s service. We are going to incorporate historical elements worship materials from the past–into this special rededication service.”

And what better way to cap off a two-day anniversary party?

Cake! After the service, those attending are invited to have anniversary cake and punch in the Asbury center.