Ward’s Funeral Home merging with Memorial Park; church buys Ward’s property

The nearly 100-year-old Ward’s Funeral Home is merging with Memorial Park Funeral Home and a newly formed church has bought Ward’s property on Main Street.

The merger was announced Tuesday about the same time Asbury Chapel, a Global Methodist Church which was founded last year by a group of worshippers in a split from First United Methodist of Gainesville, announced that it had bought Ward’s property.

Ward’s was founded in 1934.

A news release from Asbury Chapel says the church closed on the property Tuesday and expects to locate church administration and services to the property in the “very near future.”

In December 2023, Rev. Whit Martin, pastor at Asbury Chapel, and Charles Hudgins, chairman of the Asbury Board of Trustees, presented the project at a church meeting where membership voted on and approved the property purchase. 

“Our leadership has said from the very beginning, ‘Let’s not get ahead of God,’” Rev. Martin said. “We have been prayerful and patient and the Lord has blessed us with this amazing opportunity to serve Gainesville. It is an honor to be located amongst the people of this vibrant downtown area.”

Asbury Chapel conducted its inaugural service on January 8,2023 with 165 in attendance.  In just under a year, the church “has experienced steady growth,” “welcoming 136 people who have decided to make Asbury their church home.  Until locating to its permanent home, Sunday morning services are held at Riverside Chapel at Memorial Park North. 

To learn more about Asbury Chapel, visit its newly launched website at www.asburychapel.net.

(Photo from Ward’s website.)