Asbury United Methodist Church
Friday, September 18, 2020
Searching Inward Serving Outward Through Christ

1-Name and Early History

Have you wondered about the origin of the name of "Asbury"?  Have you noticed the inscription above Asbury's north sanctuary door, "Asbury M. E. Church", and also wondered about the relationship of the name "M. E. Church" to our current name, Asbury United Methodist Church?

A brief overview of the history of the Methodist denomination provides us with the following information: 

John Wesley (1703–1791) and his brother, Charles Wesley (1707–1788), established the Methodist movement in the mid-1700's in England.  As membership increased in England, a few members moved to the American colonies and asked for assistance from the English Methodists.  In 1771, John Wesley sent Richard Wright and Francis Asbury "to undergird the growing American Methodist societies. Francis Asbury became the most important figure in early American Methodism. His energetic devotion to the principles of Wesleyan theology, ministry, and organization shaped Methodism in America in a way unmatched by any other individual."   The founders of Delaware's Asbury United Methodist Church sought to honor the memory of this early American church worker and his outstanding devotion to ministry by naming their church and congregation in honor of Francis Asbury. 

In 1784, the followers of the American Methodist movement established a formal organization and called themselves The Methodist Episcopal Church in America, hence the abbreviation, "M.E." above the door to our building dedicated in 1890.

In 1800, the United Brethren Church was formed under the leadership of Philip Otterbein, and in 1803, the Evangelical Association was formed under the leadership of Jacob Albright.

In 1830, the Methodist Protestant Church was formed by Methodists who wanted lay persons to share power with clergy in church governance.
During the mid-1840's, debate over the slavery issues led to a split in the church and The Methodist Episcopal Church, South was formed as the result. 
In 1939, three Methodist groups, The Methodist Episcopal Church, The Methodist Protestant Church, and The Methodist Episcopal Church, South, united to form The Methodist Church. 

In 1946, the United Brethren and the Evangelical Church joined together to form the Evangelical United Brethren Church (EUB).
In 1968, The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church merged in an historic meeting in Dallas, Texas, to form The United Methodist Church.  At that time our local church and congregation became known as The Asbury United Methodist Church. 

For more information you may go to this link from which most of the above information was abstracted and specific quotes also came from this site, History of The Methodist Church.