Asbury Mount Olive UMC
The History of
Asbury Mount Olive United Methodist Church
In the beginning there were two, yes TWO, black Methodist Episcopal churches in Topeka. One was in the North and one in the South. Both were in the Central Jurisdiction established by the Methodist Episcopal Church for black churches. In 1964 both were invited to be a part of the Kansas Conference in the South Central Jurisdiction, an event in preparation for the uniting of the Methodist Episcopal Church with the United Brethren Church to become the United Methodist Church and dissolution of the Central Jurisdiction.
Asbury was the church in North Topeka. Built in the 1800s, the stone structure with a flat-topped roof was attended by the late U. S. Vice-President, Charles Curtis. It was purchased in the 1890’s by a black congregation who extended the walls and added a pitched roof. Amazingly, the stone structure withstood the floods of 1903 and 1951, but had to be entirely renovated inside by the members who called it home.
The church in the South, Mt. Olive, was organized in 1877 by 10 pioneers under the leadership of Rev. John Sanders. Their first meeting was held in a blacksmith shop located in the 1100 block of Kansas Avenue. The year 1907 marked the move to our present location, 12th & Buchanan. After four years, in 1911, a stone building was erected, and stood until 1974.
And then…..there was ONE!
Asbury and Mt. Olive merged and became one in March 1969, under the pastorate of Rev. Whalon H. Blackman. On June 4, 1969, we began using Mt. Olive until a new facility was erected. The new structure began to become reality with the razing of the old building in October of 1974. A year passed as we watched our dream come to fruition. On October 19, 1975, we moved into our new church building-a church that will forever pursue the cause of Christ with the Spirit born in that blacksmith shop, the Spirit that filled the sanctuary of that old flat-topped building, a Spirit born in the 1800s that LIVES today!