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Asbury UMC addition is 'work that God has commissioned us to do'

Asbury United Methodist Church in Shepherdstown breaks ground on $2.2 million addition

March 10, 2013|By RICHARD F. BELISLE | richardb@herald-mail.com
  • Genevieve Monroe, 94, the oldest member of the Asbury United Methodist Church congregation in Shepherdstown, W.Va., was one of the hard-hatted shovelers helping to break ground Sunday for an addition to the building.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. — Worship Pastor Ginger Medley set the tone Sunday when, in her booming voice, she exclaimed, “What a mighty God we serve.”

Medley stood on the side lawn of Asbury United Methodist Church surrounded by about 200 congregants and supporters ready to watch the groundbreaking for a $2.2 million addition.

It will be a major expansion for the 25-year-old edifice at 4257 Kearneysville Pike. When finished in about a year, the nearly 24,000-square-foot multipurpose addition will include a gym, six classrooms, a nursery, restrooms, a commercial kitchen and a covered canopy to protect those entering the main church or the new addition, said Clark Dixon, building committee chairman.

“This is a day that God has made; the work that God has commissioned us to do,” Medley said.

Church officials said growing membership was one of the reasons for the expansion.

Medley’s remarks were followed by the a cappella singing of “Thank You, Lord” by the audience.

“This is the house of the people of God,” said the Rev. Rudy Bropleh, Asbury’s pastor. “It’s a place for recreation, classrooms and community.”

Genevieve Monroe, Miss Genny to all who know her, turned 94 in October and is Asbury’s oldest member. She took part in Sunday’s ceremony and remembered when the congregation met in the oldest church building in Shepherdstown, a small stone structure on the corner of Church and High streets. It’s now a private rental property.

The Asbury congregants left the old building in 1988 when their new church opened on Kearneysville Pike.

According to an unofficial local history, the old stone church began as a log structure in the early 18th century for the Anglican — later Episcopal — congregation.

White and black Episcopalians worshiped in the old church — whites in the morning, blacks in the afternoon.

The white Episcopalians moved out of the old church when the current Trinity Episcopal Church on the corner of Church and German streets opened late during the Civil War.

The old stone church was turned over to the black Episcopalian congregation.

According to Lorraine Rutherford, the church administrator, Asbury United Methodist Church was founded in the old church in 1867.

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