In the summer of 1995, a group of 25 to 30 United Methodists started meeting together every other week for potlucks and discussions about starting a new United Methodist church in Petal. The youth met together weekly in a home for Bible study.
The first worship service of 56 people was January 7, 1996, with retired pastor Rev. Homer Peden administering communion. At the time, this group was referred to as Petal’s Newest United Methodist Church, meeting together each Sunday morning in various community centers with a variety of ministers and lay preachers.
Rev. Shane Stanford was officially assigned to the church in June, and Asbury was chartered on September 8, 1996. The congregation soon outgrew the Magnolia Room of the Civic Center, so building committees were formed, and a campus plan was chosen for Asbury to be built on United Methodist-held property on the Hwy. 42.
December 21, 1997, Asbury met for the first worship service in the new multi-purpose building, and church offices were set up in a smaller building. By December 1999, the Children’s building was built and dedicated. The Children’s Building serves double duty as our 70-child Asbury Playschool for kids 2 years to pre-K. In Spring 2005, our Student Center was opened for use as a gathering place for youth and college-aged students, featuring state-of-the-art audio and video technology and a relaxed atmosphere.
In February 2005, Asbury said farewell to founding pastor Shane Stanford and welcomed Rev. Andy Johnson and his family. Under Pastor Johnson’s guidance, Asbury weathered a little hurricane name Katrina. Following the storm, the church worked together to remodel the damaged sanctuary and rebuild the church and the community. In July 2007, Rev. Jason Harms and his family joined the church, and in 2010, Rev. Andy Stoddard was named pastor of Asbury. Pastor Harms helped develop Asbury’s vision for the church’s work in the Petal area, and Pastor Stoddard refined that vision and gave focus to the church for missions and outreach in Petal and beyond. On June 16, 2015, Rev. Dr. Kurt Appel became pastor of Asbury, and continues to move our congregation forward in ministry and mission.
Today, Asbury continues to grow in numbers and spirit. Lively and engaging worship is the core of Asbury’s life together. We believe that our rich Christian tradition blended with new forms of music open the way to a deep experience of worship and lead us into the world to serve in the name of Jesus. Children and youth are a major part of Asbury’s ministry, comprising more than one-third of our worship attendance.
You are invited to join us for worship at Asbury as we live into our call to be Salt and Light in the world.