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Our History


Asbury United Methodist Church of Clinton, Tennessee, was organized in 1865 and initially named Tate's Chapel in recognition of Rev. John C. Tate, a former slave who had come to Anderson County of Tennessee with Dr. Milton Tate, a physician. Church history, as published in a local newspaper (Courier, September 5, 2011), explains that John Milton was the trusted companion of Dr. Tate. John, a large man with a commanding voice, positively influenced the community. Interest in Tate's Chapel grew, and Asbury Methodist Episcopal Church, named for Bishop Francis Asbury, was built in 1898. The church became well-known for the Asbury Singers, who shared their music throughout the community. In 1947, the church building burned down and was replaced with a brick building in 1950.  


The community has changed over the years. Historical documents indicate that about 600 formerly enslaved people settled around the former Tate's Chapel. As many people began to recognize the injustice of slavery, many Blacks (African Americans) migrated to other areas of the city, state, and country. In the 1950s, the Black population was estimated at 220 people compared to approximately 3500 Whites. As of 2020, Blacks account for 2.5% of Clinton (250 residents) and about 9,450 whites, and 158 Hispanics (1.5%) (Data USA: 2020). The essential fact is that Rev. Tate's life was transformed by his acceptance of Jesus Christ and his calling to minister to the entire community, even in the 1800s. However, Asbury was primarily composed of African Americans because of the legacy of segregation. As individuals and a church body, it is time to grow beyond the divisions Jesus never promoted and that misguided men—even those claiming Christianity may have promoted. In Christ, we have liberty indeed. 


A church community, to remain effective, must always maintain that vision to reach others for Christ, to be that witness in a world of turmoil. All are welcome to our church to worship, learn of Christ and serve. 

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