Asbury United Methodist receives statewide recognition

Published 8:01 pm Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Jim Reed is a busy man — his days immersed in his church, feeding the community both physically and spiritually.

The Asbury United Methodist Church pastor spends his summer alleviating child hunger, raising money for community partners and spreading the love of Christ.

Reed and his church work tirelessly in many community outreach programs, all in an effort to meet their vision: “Feed our community Body and Soul,” according to Reed.

This year, the church’s mission work in Beaufort County has not gone unnoticed — the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church rewarded Asbury UMC with the 2017 Key Taylor Rural Church Award in May.

The award, aimed at highlighting the mission work of a rural church, was presented to Asbury UMC on July 9.

“I’m just so proud of this small congregation. We’re small in numbers, but we are large in energy. … I’ve had the most fun in this ministry these last four years than I have in my other 29 years,” Reed said.

Asbury UMC has been a part of the Beaufort County summer feeding program for about three years, according to Reed. The church spearheaded an effort to transport nutritious meals prepared by Care-O-World, an early learning center in Beaufort County, to different mobile sites across the county. Reed said he’s been working to get other churches involved as well, and churches like Wares Chapel, Church of the Good Shepherd, First Christian Church and Covenant Church have all jumped on board to help the cause.

“You can either bus the kids to where the food is, or you can take the food to where the kids are,” Reed said.

The church also planted Ruby’s Garden almost four years ago. All of the produce goes to Beaufort County-based organizations, such as Eagle’s Wings and the Zion Homeless Shelter, according to Reed.

Reed said local organizations have been tremendous in extending a helping hand in hope of bettering the community. He said he believes his church would not have been awarded the honor without the generous support of its many community partnerships. Eagle’s Wings, Jonathan Havens Charitable Trust, First Presbyterian Church, First United Methodist Church, United Way and Paul Funeral Home are just a few of the organizations that have worked to make Asbury UMC’s community endeavors possible, he said.

“This isn’t about me. This is about this community and how it’s embraced innovative ministry,” Reed said.

When the conference informed Reed of the award in May, he said he decided to keep it a secret from the rest of his church for about two months. He said on the day the award was presented, many church members became suspicious of all the extra people at church that day.

“It was a lot of ‘Why is everyone here? And who is that person?’” Reed said. “They enjoyed the surprise. … It was a good Sunday. It was a beautiful day. I even got choked up a little bit,” Reed said.

Reed said the Asbury UMC was up against beneficial ministries across the state, but he is honored that the conference chose to recognize the Washington-based church.

“The competition was stiff. There are some wonderful ministries out there,” Reed said. “We’ve got our hands in so many things. They were impressed with all that we were doing. … We feel honored they decided to choose us.”