A Case for Growing Asbury
by John C. Westervelt
In the June Tidings, inside the front cover across from Tom Harrison’s column, was an article by Dwight Yoder. Dwight reported that Asbury has no remaining classroom space for any new Adult Communities on Sunday morning. To address this concern, the article continued, “Tom has called a Town Hall Meeting for Sunday June 7th at 6 PM to be held in the Community Life Center.”
My bacon and egg breakfast five days a week is varied with leisurely-prepared pancakes on Saturday. As I ate my maple syrup covered pancakes, I began to record my thoughts about “A Case for Growing Asbury.” This way, I would have my thoughts collected about Asbury’s building needs that would be discussed in the Town Hall meeting the next evening.
The Joy class was the second Sunday school class formed at Asbury. At that time, we were parents with children at home. Asbury, a young church, was growing year by year. In those days, there was always a shortage of space.
With each building program, the children came first. For a year, the Joy class met in the Asbury kitchen. We finally got a 9:30 classroom only to relinquish it a few years later for a greater need and moved our class to eight o’clock.
With faith, Asbury continued building. When the bankers could not help, Asbury’s people sold bonds to friends and relatives and moved their personal savings into church bonds.
All of this effort was worth it as I watched my children’s faith mature under Pastor Bill Mason and Youth Director Nancy Baxter.
Years have a way of swiftly passing by. Today the average age of members of the Joy Community is in the seventies. I have come to understand, “There is a time for living and a time for dying.” This truth is evident for the Joy class in that nineteen of us are widows and widowers. Three members have lost a spouse this year.
Nineteen empty chairs in a classroom half-filled could be depressing. That has not happened because Asbury is a growing church. A percentage of those drawn to Asbury’s programs and preaching are seniors. In turn, a percentage of these are willing to get to church at eight o’clock on Sunday morning to join the Joy Community. These folks have filled the empty chairs. They find fellowship, laughter, and Bible study.
We grew Asbury in our generation. Please continue to grow Asbury in yours. Of course, those of us remaining from the first generation will be there to help.
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