Asbury United Methodist Church

Asbury United Methodist Church

This is another of a series of historical articles on Anderson County and her people.

Clinton Courier News
December 29, 1977.

County Historian

Originally named Tate’s Chapel

Asbury United Methodist Church founded in 1865

The present Asbury United Methodist Church in Clinton is the third building on the site. The original structure was built in 1865 of logs, hand hewn by members of the newly-organized church and their pastor, the Rev. John C. Tate. It was named Tate’s Chapel in his honor.

Mr. Tate was a former slave. He came to Anderson County from Tate Springs with Dr. Milton Tate. Dr. Tate bought a farm, the management of which he left largely to John. In 1844 Dr. Tate was elected Circuit Court clerk of Anderson County. He often left John to look after the office while making his medical calls to patients.

With his background, when the time came that a portion of the local black population decided to organize a Methodist church, Mr. Tate was a natural choice. He had already decided to become a minister. It is said he preached a simple, direct gospel which changed the lives of many people and inspired them to work diligently hewing logs and building their own church. The cornerstone of that log church bore the date of May 29, 1865 and the name of the pastor.

Mr. Tate was an intelligent and educated person. Over the years he became well known throughout the county. He frequently spoke at political conventions, and people listened to what he had to say. He began to exert considerable influence in local politics and church circles. He was large in physique, an eloquent speaker and had a strong musical voice. He loved to sing.

Membership and interest grew, and in 1898 a new church was built on the site of Tate’s Chapel. The new building was named Asbury Methodist Episcopal Church for Bishop Francis Asbury, the first bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States. It was a beautiful frame building with stained glass windows. The congregation became well known for its choir and congregational singing. This would have pleased Mr. Tate, who had such a love of religious music.

The Asbury singers shared their music with the community. They often sang at other churches, and invited other congregations to visit them. This sharing and visiting is gratefully remembered by many present day residents of the town and county.

After approximately half of a century of service to its members and the Town, the church was destroyed by fire. This was in 1947. Work to rebuild began almost immediately under the leadership of the Rev. C.L. Willis. The present brick building was completed in 1950.

Asbury United Methodist Church is a member of the Oak Ridge District of the Holston Conference. The Re. G.W. Hollowell is the pastor.

Church officers are Tom McCoy, treasurer; M.S. Weaver, Chairman of the Church Building Committee; and Robert King, Sunday school superintendent.

Officers of the Women’s Society of Christian Service are Mrs. Dianne McCleary, president;Mrs. Hattie McSwain, vice president; Mrs. Gladys Iker, treasurer’ Mrs. Anna Bell Weaver, spiritual leader; and Mrs. Anna Lee McCoy, secretary.

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