Asbury United Methodist Church -1855
As early as 1850, a seed was sown which resulted in the formation of a Methodist Society in Forestville. At that time traveled roadways were few in Forestville, Central Street did not exist and East Main Street had not been cut through to Plainville. The principal thoroughfares were Dublin Street (Pine Street) and Washington Street.
On September 30, 1855 THE METHODIST SOCIETY was organized. Since they had no church building, meetings were held in a grove, located southwest of the junction of Washington Street and Church Avenue. When the weather prevented them from worshiping outside, the school house and homes of Truman Beach and Edwin Bunnell were made available.
The years preceding and during the Civil War were years of darkness and disturbances throughout our nation. The year 1857 saw many business failures throughout the nation and financial embarrassment in all walks of life. The little Society could not afford to pay a preacher therefore, Forestville was the training field for students at Wesleyan and in later years, many rose high in the Councils of the Methodist world.
Previous to 1863 the Society had been without a Church Home. In that year Rev. A. M. Allen came to Forestville, he seemed to be the right man in the right place for he worked zealously so that a church might be secured for this little society. A small Episcopal Church that stood on the north side of Federal Hill Green in Bristol was to be sold. On September 22, 1863 the building was removed to Forestville. On June 15, 1864 the Church was dedicated. Forestville was no longer considered a ‘Society’ they now were a ‘Church’.
On May 3, 1900, the church was stuck by lightning and destroyed. Work to rebuild was begun at once. With material aid from the late William E. Sessions of Bristol this present attractive Church home resulted. The cornerstone was laid on September 12, 1900 and on December 27, 1900 the church was dedicated, just seven months after being destroyed by fire.
January 6, 1918, the Official Board voted to change the name to Asbury Methodist-Episcopal Church as a memorial to our first Bishop, Francis Asbury.
In April, 1939 an important union took place between three Methodist bodies: the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Methodist Protestant Church, and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South – they united into one church the Methodist Church.
April 12, 1953 a ground breaking ceremony was held to add an education wing, kitchen and restrooms.
Once again, we were growing and needed additional space. On October 2, 1960 a ground breaking ceremony was held. The sanctuary was renovated and the addition includes a church office, pastor’s study, a Chapel and eight classrooms.
The United Methodist Church was formed in 1968 by the merger of the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church.
Asbury continues to serve the community in many ways, outside groups such as AA, NA, the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts and others use the facilities for meetings. The Memorial Day Parade marches past the church, parade goers can find refreshments on the church grounds.