Asbury History
Our church had its beginnings with the circuit riders who came to this area, then a village called Newcastle. They came at infrequent times, so the regular business of the church was conducted by elders, who were laymen. The Methodist Church was officially started by Rev. David Power Day, who organized a Methodist Class of 18 people on January 2, 1857. They met at the White Fox School north of Webster City. In 1862 the congregation moved into Webster City under the leadership of Elijah Kendall. At this time the congregation numbered 26. Church services were held in the log school building on Division Street.

In 1866, the congregation decided that it was time to build a church, the first in Webster City. Services were held in the courtroom of the 1866 courthouse while the "Church on the Prairie" was being constructed at the west edge of town. Today that location is on Bank Street across from our present Educational Building. This church was built for a cost of $5,250 on a lot donated by Walter C. Willson, who promoted the growth of our city. (Willson Avenue was named for him.) Actually, the lot was sold to the church for $100, but he then gave $200 to the church. It was necessary for the deed to have a payment for the lot. The lot was acquired in 1861 but the congregation could not raise the money for the church until 1865 due to the Civil War.

Twenty years later, we needed a larger church as our membership had grown to 170. The school leaders approached us and indicated they wanted to purchase our property so they could build a larger school. We sold the property for $350 to the school board and proceeded to build a large church on the northwest corner of Des Moines and Bank Streets. Much of the building materials were moved to the new site by means of a rail line between the two sites. This new lot was donated to us by B. F. Miller, a banker, on condition that we would purchase the adjacent lot to the north. Rev. W. D. Phifer was pastor at that time. The cornerstone was laid on May 5, 1886. Again, we held services in the courtroom during construction.

In 1896, a new parsonage was constructed north of the church on the lot we purchased from Mr. Miller. This parsonage was our third parsonage. The first two parsonages were frame houses on Bank Street. The first was a one-story building. This was soon sold, and we constructed a two-story frame parsonage. Both parsonages were located where our present Education Building now stands.

Twenty-five years later we again outgrew our church building. Our membership was now 373, with a Sunday School attendance of 339. Rev. C. H. Kamphoefner was pastor during this time. Again, we conducted services in the courtroom while our church was torn down and the new brick church was built. The cornerstone was laid in March of 1911, and the church was completed in 1912. This building is the building in which we worship today. Our Education Building was added in 1966. The plans were developed under the leadership of Rev. Paul Heath. Rev. Willard Cunningham took over the pastorate during construction. A large stained glass window over the main door was created by an Asbury senior high school student, John Ferrell

Our church and education buildings were joined in 1984. This connecting link features an elevator, a ramp entrance, and hallways connecting our buildings on two levels. Asbury remodeled our 1912 church building in 1998 at a cost of nearly $500,000. At this time we added air-conditioning, a new heating plant, a new sound system, and an improved electrical system.
In 2008, the Trustees (visioning for the future) bought the house just to the west of the parking lot, sold it to a local businessman who then had it moved off the property. The lot was filled in and reseeded and currently stands empty, waiting for future use by the church.

The most recent renovation was done in the winter of 2009. The chancel was remodeled by lowering and widening it. All new electrical service was added for the state-of-the-art media system that was installed in the skybox in the balcony at the back of the sanctuary. This includes a new sound system with a digital sound mixer, a projection system, and a 3-camera video system that includes live recording to DVD. Repairs to the roofing system were made, several of the office area stained glass windows were repaired, and plaster was removed from a stairway wall to expose the brick.
Changing Lives * Transforming Communities * Renewing the Church