Our History

Welcome to Asbury Memorial United Methodist Church.  We are glad you’ve taken a moment to learn about our church and the various things we do here in Asheville. We are the oldest Methodist church in western North Carolina, dating back to the time when our congregation was founded in 1801 by the first Methodist bishop in America, The Reverend Francis Asbury.  In September of 1771, Asbury was sent to America and as he was making the journey he wrote in his journal of his reasons for leaving England and coming to spread the word of God in the colonies:

“I returned to Bristol in the latter end of August, where Richard Wright3 was waiting for me, to sail in a few days for Philadelphia. When I came to Bristol I had not one penny of money; but the Lord soon opened the hearts of friends, who supplied me with clothes, and ten pounds: thus I found, by experience, that the Lord will provide for those who trust in him…On Wednesday, September 4, we set sail from a port near Bristol and having a good wind, soon passed the channel. For three days I was very ill with the seasickness; and no sickness I ever knew was equal to it. The captain behaved well to us. On the Lord’s day, September 8, brother Wright preached a sermon on deck, and all time crew gave attention…Thursday, 12. I will set down a few things that lie on my mind. Whither am I going To the New World? What to do? To gain honour? No, if I know my own heart. To get money? No: I am going to live to God, and to bring others so to do.”

The 1879 Timber-framed Church, our 2nd church building. It was replaced by the current sanctuary building in 1928.

Like Bishop Asbury before us, we too strive “to live to God and to bring others to do so.”  When Asbury first came to our area, Asheville was still very much a part of the frontier, and he was able to find shelter at the home of pioneer Daniel Killian who would eventually deed the land upon which our church sits to be “a church and burying ground forever.”  We have been continuing this mission since October of 1801, the first recorded entry in Asbury’s journal of a quarterly conference being held here on the property of Daniel Killian.  Our congregation was the first Methodist church in this area.  Asbury would use our church and Daniel Killian’s cabin as his base camp for starting the other churches in Western North Carolina, and just as Asbury met with a warm welcome in these mighty hills, we trust and hope you will too when you worship with us.

tnPlease join us for worship on Sunday at 11:00 am. Come and see what God is doing here at Asbury Memorial UMC!