Asbury, Our Roots, Our Family, Our Vision

OUR HISTORY

From our most humble beginnings in 1781 of meetings in a log cabin home on Roosevelt Avenue to more elaborate church buildings during the 1800’s on East Philadelphia Street and later West Philadelphia Street, to the move across town in 1925 to our current location at 340 East Market Street – the early history of our church was clearly not defined by it’s buildings or location, but rather by it’s people. We moved to survive, we moved to accommodate further growth, and sometimes we even moved to facilitate the growth of others, yet during the past fifty years when so many urban churches packed up and followed their congregants to suburbia, we stayed put in York City.

From the time we occupied our current building at 340 East Market Street, whether our members chose to live near the church, or the church drew members who lived near it, isn’t clear; the addresses on our membership rosters during the 1930’s and 1940’s do however reflect Asbury being a neighborhood church. Programming and outreach during this time also reflects community need and a commitment to the surrounding neighborhood. We clearly identified ourselves as a part of York City and were committed to serving our neighborhood during the tumultuous time in York’s history of the 1950’s and 1960’s.

Our areas of ministry included social justice programs during the 1950’s such as the FISH, which served as the precursor to modern day 911. As York’s Hispanic population grew in the 1970’s, we cultivated the beginnings of, and eventually planted, First Spanish Church.

In more recent years, when charter schools were still cutting edge alternatives to failing city school districts, we opened our doors to the very first grades of Logos Academy in 1999 and still house grades 4-8 in our building as they strive to become self sufficient.

By the 1990’s a very small percentage of our members still lived within even a mile of the church. For the most part we’d become a suburban church in an urban building. Our members may have eventually begun to move away from the City, but our place of worship and more importantly – the focus of our ministries – did not.

We can guess that prior church leaders did not take lightly decisions to leave certain buildings in pursuit of others. Surely they weighed carefully the issues prompting consideration of a move and asked God’s guidance in their decisions. Today we likewise struggle to maintain a balance between maintaining our older and often expensive facility, while not allowing our purpose to be to maintain the building. It can often be overheard in one of Asbury’s administrative meetings that we are not here to serve the building; the building is here as a vehicle for us to serve people.

And yet striking that balance and ensuring the building will continue to be present as a vehicle for ministry, as well as to honor the memories of those before us who built this amazing and sacred place to the glory of God, is often challenging.

It is not without notice that this delicate need for balance exists not only with our facility but also with our people and programs. We have often functioned as a “feeder church” in York County and beyond, nurturing the talents and abilities of people, giving them a forum to learn and grow in ministry. So often then we watch them move on and away from Asbury to serve elsewhere. Yet just as with the building, we need to remember the people are not “ours”. We have ministered to them or provided them a place, sometimes just a room – that God’s will be done through them. Sometimes, even when it isn’t our choice, God’s will leads them elsewhere. It is a tribute to the overall influence Asbury has had in the world and desires to continue to be.
The Asbury Board of Trustees of 1925 probably never envisioned that in this same building they were constructing, teenagers would occupy daily 75 years later as their school. It’s safe to assume they also never imagined a band complete with drums, electric bass and guitar and keyboard would be part of our fastest growing segment of worship and outreach to our neighborhood. With a current average attendance just under 500 our ministries are often hard on our facility and require that we adapt and modify to accommodate. We are confident that new inspiration, in the form of new people and new ministries will always be forthcoming, and with that most often will come new needs for our building.It was during the First Century A.D. that glass was first used in filling windows. The earliest example of work in stained glass, it is believed, belongs to the eleventh century where this glass is still in existence in Le Mans, France. The art of stained glass reached its climax and highest point of beauty in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. It is the feeling of all of the best critics that the most decadent period of stained glass was that of the opalescent type sometimes known as Tiffany windows which had a short life in America during the last century. During the past fifty years the art and beauty of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries has been revived. Our windows are basically of the thirteenth century influence, except that a decided modern touch has been added that lends freshness and newness to the windows. They have been designed to be in conformity with the architecture of the church.aum_8 The color scheme of our windows, based upon a simple palette provides rich deep color in the chancel and rose windows, while the aisle windows have been made the light-givers of the church, are Gresaille coloration. Color as has been used provides beautiful sparkling effect but denies of any distracting glare or insistent light We shall attempt here to give you a complete study of the iconography of our windows. The literal conception of the theme embodied has been carefully conceived and consistently carried in chronological fashion throughout all of the windows. As we enter the church, facing the chancel, the window at the left side and rear of the church is the Nativity window. Here the medallions portray the “Nativity.” The store commences with the annunciation in the first panel, followed by the birth, the flight into Egypt and Christ in the carpenter shop, as a child, with his father. The second window portrays the “Youth of Christ,” beginning in the top and left with the Presentation in the Temple of the Priest Simeon. The lower left shows Christ before the doctors in the Temple, followed by His baptism and the calling of the first Disciples, in the lower right-hand medallion. The smaller standing figures in these two windows just mentioned, represent the Prophets who prophesied concerning the coming of Christ, and also the Patriarchs of the Old Testament. In the tracery of the first window will be found the Ten Commandments and in the second, the Anchor, symbolizing Hope. The last two windows to the front on this left side represent the “Ministry of Jesus.” Beginning in the third window with the Sermon on the Mount (upper left); The Woman at the Well meeting Jesus, and in the upper right, Jesus and the Rich Young Ruler; and finally the Transfiguration of the Christ where He appears with Moses and Elijah. In the last window nearest the chancel will be found the medallions representing Christ Healing the Blind Man, and a portrayal of the Parable of the Good Samaritan. In the upper right, Christ Blessing Little Children; and finally, the Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem. The small standing figures in these last two windows represent the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. In the tracery of the third window will be seen the Lily symbolizing Purity, and in the fourth window we find the Star The focal point of the entire scheme is appropriately placed in the very beautiful chancel window, with the portrayal of the Passion, Crucifixion and Resurrection of Our Lord. Beginning in the bottom in the left panel, as you face the window, will be seen the Last Supper; Jesus praying in the Garden, being offered the Cup by the Angel; Christ before Pilate, and, finally, the Christ on the Cross. On the extreme right panels, at the top, we see the Angel seated on the tomb saying to the women, “He is not here, He is risen.” Immediately below is Jesus Baring His Side to Thomas; The Last Commission of Jesus saying, “Go Ye into all the World,” and finally, the Ascension of Christ In the central panels of the window, to the left of the Christ, the standing figure represents John the forerunner of Christ, with a staff in his hand; and to the right, Paul, the Leader of the Early Church. The central and crowning feature of all our windows is to be found in the figure of the Glorified Christ, high and lifted up with the Angels about to place the Crown of Victory. Above the figure of John in this window appears the Angel of Justice bearing the Scales, and to the right, the Angel bearing the Sword of Righteousness. This window greatly adds in creating the reverential atmosphere in the chancel that we so much desire.aum_27 The windows to the right, beginning at the front of the church, take up the “Story of the Christian Church.” The first window is the “Early Church” window, representing Pentecost, at the top and left panel, in which is pictured the descent of the Holy Spirit to the Disciples. The Stoning of Stephen, and on the right panel will be found the portrayal of Peter and Cornelius, with the final medallion showing Paul preaching. The small standing figures in this first window portray to us some of the leading characters of the Early Church, as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. In the tracery will be seen the Lamp, symbolizing the Light of the Gospel. The second window is devoted to the development of the “Early and Medieval Church,” in which the medallions begin with the telling of the story of the First Cathedral Builders, in the upper left panel. Jerome translating the Bible, and next St. Augustine baptizing the first English King. The final medallion shows Boniface bringing the Gospel to the first early Germanic Tribes. The four standing figures in the upper part of this window represent certain great leaders in the Medieval Church. It seemed fitting that we should, in this window, portray Bach and Handel who have contributed so much to the church through the medium of music. In the tracery of this window will be found the Holy Bible. The third window on this aisle is devoted to two scenes in the Reformation showing Wycliffe sending out his poor preachers, and Martin Luther before the Diet of Worms. It is significant to note that in the right panel of this window we carry two very interesting portrayals. The first is the Landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth and William Penn making a treaty with the Indians and thus founding the Christian State. The small figures in this window prove most interesting for they represent first some of the great characters of this period including John Huss and Zwingli, Erasmus and Savanarola. Here, too, in the two smaller figures at the bottom are represented Frances E. Willard, Christian and Temperance Crusader, and Florence Nightingale, Founder of the Red Cross. In the tracery of this window will be seen the Cross. The last window is the “Methodist Window” illustrated by dominant incidents in Methodist history including John Wesley preaching to the Indians and the early settlers in America; Charles Wesley leading the early Methodists in song; and Whitefield, in the top right panel, preaching to the miners and early settlers; concluding in the final medallion with Francis Asbury bringing the Gospel to the settlers in America. Here will be found, in the smaller standing figures, one of the most interesting facts in the whole story with the pictures of men and women who represent great Methodist causes and philanthropies. Ira Sankey, a Methodist and leader of song in the evangelistic work; Bishop Vincent, leader and pioneer for many years in our Sunday School Movement; Suzanne Wesley, mother of the Wesleys, representing Christian womanhood; Lucy Webb Hays representing our Deaconess and Home Mission work; and at the left and bottom, Booth who was a Methodist and the Founder of the Salvation Army. Finally, Bishop Thoburn, great Missionary Leader of our Methodism. In the tracery of this window is shown the symbol of the Crown. The development of Methodism in the City of York is illustrated in the window in the main entrance on the west side of the church, through the picturing of the house in which Methodism was organized in 1782 and the first log cabin church erected in 1791 by Jacob Sitler, one of the trustees appointed to purchase the lot, and presented to the Methodists by him. The next picture shows the church built at Newberry and Philadelphia Streets in 1836. The white marble slab from this old church will be found built into our present new Sanctuary in the east vestibule near the gallery. At the lower left of this window is pictured the late Beaver Street Church which was built in 1873 and vacated in 1926 when the congregation moved to its present location. In each of the two gallery windows appears an Angel holding a Scroll on which appears two of the Beatitudes. These windows are in perfect harmony with the aisle windows in the church. The rose window at the rear has been designed to give a beautiful flow of pure rich color in jewel-like effect. The colors have been so interwoven as to provide a color value that is exquisite in its purity of tone. It will be interesting for all who study these windows to note that taking into consideration the medallions, single standing figures and the emblems, a total of ninety-three religious ideas are represented. All of our windows were designed and executed at the P.J. Reeves Studio of Philadelphia, Pa., honored with many of the finest stained glass commissions in the countryIMG_2039

It was during the First Century A.D. that glass was first used in filling windows. The earliest example of work in stained glass, it is believed, belongs to the eleventh century where this glass is still in existence in Le Mans, France. The art of stained glass reached its climax and highest point of beauty in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. It is the feeling of all of the best critics that the most decadent period of stained glass was that of the opalescent type sometimes known as Tiffany windows which had a short life in America during the last century. During the past fifty years the art and beauty of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries has been revived. Our windows are basically of the thirteenth century influence, except that a decided modern touch has been added that lends freshness and newness to the windows. They have been designed to be in conformity with the architecture of the church. The color scheme of our windows, based upon a simple palette provides rich deep color in the chancel and rose windows, while the aisle windows have been made the light-givers of the church, are Gresaille coloration. Color as has been used provides beautiful sparkling effect but denies of any distracting glare or insistent light We shall attempt here to give you a complete study of the iconography of our windows. The literal conception of the theme embodied has been carefully conceived and consistently carried in chronological fashion throughout all of the windows. As we enter the church, facing the chancel, the window at the left side and rear of the church is the Nativity window. Here the medallions portray the “Nativity.” The store commences with the annunciation in the first panel, followed by the birth, the flight into Egypt and Christ in the carpenter shop, as a child, with his father. The second window portrays the “Youth of Christ,” beginning in the top and left with the Presentation in the Temple of the Priest Simeon. The lower left shows Christ before the doctors in the Temple, followed by His baptism and the calling of the first Disciples, in the lower right-hand medallion. The smaller standing figures in these two windows just mentioned, represent the Prophets who prophesied concerning the coming of Christ, and also the Patriarchs of the Old Testament. In the tracery of the first window will be found the Ten Commandments and in the second, the Anchor, symbolizing Hope. The last two windows to the front on this left side represent the “Ministry of Jesus.” Beginning in the third window with the Sermon on the Mount (upper left); The Woman at the Well meeting Jesus, and in the upper right, Jesus and the Rich Young Ruler; and finally the Transfiguration of the Christ where He appears with Moses and Elijah. In the last window nearest the chancel will be found the medallions representing Christ Healing the Blind Man, and a portrayal of the Parable of the Good Samaritan. In the upper right, Christ Blessing Little Children; and finally, the Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem. The small standing figures in these last two windows represent the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. In the tracery of the third window will be seen the Lily symbolizing Purity, and in the fourth window we find the Star The focal point of the entire scheme is appropriately placed in the very beautiful chancel window, with the portrayal of the Passion, Crucifixion and Resurrection of Our Lord. Beginning in the bottom in the left panel, as you face the window, will be seen the Last Supper; Jesus praying in the Garden, being offered the Cup by the Angel; Christ before Pilate, and, finally, the Christ on the Cross. On the extreme right panels, at the top, we see the Angel seated on the tomb saying to the women, “He is not here, He is risen.” Immediately below is Jesus Baring His Side to Thomas; The Last Commission of Jesus saying, “Go Ye into all the World,” and finally, the Ascension of Christ In the central panels of the window, to the left of the Christ, the standing figure represents John the forerunner of Christ, with a staff in his hand; and to the right, Paul, the Leader of the Early Church. The central and crowning feature of all our windows is to be found in the figure of the Glorified Christ, high and lifted up with the Angels about to place the Crown of Victory. Above the figure of John in this window appears the Angel of Justice bearing the Scales, and to the right, the Angel bearing the Sword of Righteousness. This window greatly adds in creating the reverential atmosphere in the chancel that we so much desire. The windows to the right, beginning at the front of the church, take up the “Story of the Christian Church.” The first window is the “Early Church” window, representing Pentecost, at the top and left panel, in which is pictured the descent of the Holy Spirit to the Disciples. The Stoning of Stephen, and on the right panel will be found the portrayal of Peter and Cornelius, with the final medallion showing Paul preaching. The small standing figures in this first window portray to us some of the leading characters of the Early Church, as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. In the tracery will be seen the Lamp, symbolizing the Light of the Gospel. The second window is devoted to the development of the “Early and Medieval Church,” in which the medallions begin with the telling of the story of the First Cathedral Builders, in the upper left panel. Jerome translating the Bible, and next St. Augustine baptizing the first English King. The final medallion shows Boniface bringing the Gospel to the first early Germanic Tribes. The four standing figures in the upper part of this window represent certain great leaders in the Medieval Church. It seemed fitting that we should, in this window, portray Bach and Handel who have contributed so much to the church through the medium of music. In the tracery of this window will be found the Holy Bible. The third window on this aisle is devoted to two scenes in the Reformation showing Wycliffe sending out his poor preachers, and Martin Luther before the Diet of Worms. It is significant to note that in the right panel of this window we carry two very interesting portrayals. The first is the Landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth and William Penn making a treaty with the Indians and thus founding the Christian State. The small figures in this window prove most interesting for they represent first some of the great characters of this period including John Huss and Zwingli, Erasmus and Savanarola. Here, too, in the two smaller figures at the bottom are represented Frances E. Willard, Christian and Temperance Crusader, and Florence Nightingale, Founder of the Red Cross. In the tracery of this window will be seen the Cross. The last window is the “Methodist Window” illustrated by dominant incidents in Methodist history including John Wesley preaching to the Indians and the early settlers in America; Charles Wesley leading the early Methodists in song; and Whitefield, in the top right panel, preaching to the miners and early settlers; concluding in the final medallion with Francis Asbury bringing the Gospel to the settlers in America. Here will be found, in the smaller standing figures, one of the most interesting facts in the whole story with the pictures of men and women who represent great Methodist causes and philanthropies. Ira Sankey, a Methodist and leader of song in the evangelistic work; Bishop Vincent, leader and pioneer for many years in our Sunday School Movement; Suzanne Wesley, mother of the Wesleys, representing Christian womanhood; Lucy Webb Hays representing our Deaconess and Home Mission work; and at the left and bottom, Booth who was a Methodist and the Founder of the Salvation Army. Finally, Bishop Thoburn, great Missionary Leader of our Methodism. In the tracery of this window is shown the symbol of the Crown. The development of Methodism in the City of York is illustrated in the window in the main entrance on the west side of the church, through the picturing of the house in which Methodism was organized in 1782 and the first log cabin church erected in 1791 by Jacob Sitler, one of the trustees appointed to purchase the lot, and presented to the Methodists by him. The next picture shows the church built at Newberry and Philadelphia Streets in 1836. The white marble slab from this old church will be found built into our present new Sanctuary in the east vestibule near the gallery. At the lower left of this window is pictured the late Beaver Street Church which was built in 1873 and vacated in 1926 when the congregation moved to its present location. In each of the two gallery windows appears an Angel holding a Scroll on which appears two of the Beatitudes. These windows are in perfect harmony with the aisle windows in the church. The rose window at the rear has been designed to give a beautiful flow of pure rich color in jewel-like effect. The colors have been so interwoven as to provide a color value that is exquisite in its purity of tone. It will be interesting for all who study these windows to note that taking into consideration the medallions, single standing figures and the emblems, a total of ninety-three religious ideas are represented. All of our windows were designed and executed at the P.J. Reeves Studio of Philadelphia, Pa., honored with many of the finest stained glass commissions in the country