Our first Sunday in Pennsylvania, Tom and I had the day off because we were still in training. Normally we will be working Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. The heaviest visitation in most parks is on the weekends, so we are used to working then. But we were glad to have a Sunday morning off to attend church. We decided to attend Asbury United Methodist Church in Uniontown, Pennsylvania.
In choosing a church, I look first at its website. There are other United Methodist Churches closer to us, but none of them had a website. When I hit Asbury’s website I found the Sunday morning worship time. Even more joyously, I found they have a regular Sunday evening service, even through the summer! So Tom and I headed there to check out Sunday morning worship and ask about the evening service.
Asbury United Methodist has a huge stone building on a downtown block. The steeple towered above us as we walked in. And, although the building was huge, we easily found the entrance and walked right into the sanctuary. The sanctuary easily seats 600, so it felt pretty empty with the 100 who showed up for worship.
We were greeted by the pastor, Rev. Don Henderson, who took time to chat with us for a few minutes. He is new to the church, serving the first year of this appointment. The prelude was a wonderful, fun arrangement of “Jacob’s Ladder” played by the handbell choir. Unfortunately they played in the balcony, so I couldn’t see them. But maybe being out of sight of the congregation helps them play better. It was so good I wanted to clap when they were done, but no one else did, so I stilled my hands.
The worship service followed a typical United Methodist order. Four children came in from children’s church for a children’s sermon. Several teenagers dotted the congregation, but most of the congregants were older. The church has a beautiful pipe organ that dominates the chancel. Intricate stained glass windows designed by Tiffany grace the sanctuary walls.
Pastor Don gave a good sermon. Tom liked it very much. It had one main point – trust God – and Pastor Don circled back to the main point after each illustrative digression. I prefer more orderly progressions, but Tom said the repetitive nature helped him grasp the main point. The illustrations were personal and biblical.
After the service the woman sitting behind us greeted us and talked with us a little bit. We enjoyed the worship service and felt comfortable in the congregation.
Asbury United Methodist Church has an interesting history. After the Christmas Conference of 1784, Francis Asbury headed into western Pennsylvania. He established the Restone Circuit of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the Uniontown area and preached at what would be renamed the Asbury church. Consequently the church says that it was founded in 1784 by Francis Asbury.
The church has been housed in four buildings and has been in this last building 110 years. The current church was built when Uniontown was in its coal mining boom days. Uniontown had more millionaires per capita than any other city in the United States. So the building reflects the former wealth of the congregation. Today the city’s population is half what it was in the 1940’s.
We enjoyed worshiping at Asbury and received confirmation that they do have a Sunday evening service every week. We look forward to going back and checking that out.