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The Staff-Parish Relations Committee must inform you of a difficult decision to address the needs of Asbury United Methodist Church. Responding to serious concerns brought to the Staff-Parish Relations Committee, the District Superintendent Rev. Dr. Rick Owen, and Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett, in consultation with Rev. Dr. Kip Laxson it has been decided that Rev. Dr. Kip Laxson will no longer serve as Senior Pastor at Asbury United Methodist Church, effective October 1, 2021. This decision was not made lightly, but was done after much prayer and consideration by all parties involved.


The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church requires each church to have a Staff-Parish Relations Committee, and makes clear, at ¶258, that “[t]he committee shall meet in closed session, and information shared in the committee shall be confidential.” Also, “[m]embers of the committee on … staff-parish relations shall keep themselves informed of personnel matters in relationship to the Church’s policy, professional standards, liability issues, and civil law.”


We thank Dr. Laxson for his dedication to Asbury over the past 12 years and wish him the best as he continues the work God is calling him to do. During his time at Asbury, he has encouraged us with dynamic preaching and led us to become a strong United Methodist voice in our community. We ask that you continue to pray for Dr. Laxson and the Laxson family during this time of transition and restoration.


Rev. Dr. Bill Morgan, Rev. Robert Mercer, and Rev. Maggie Dunaway will serve Asbury as the pastoral team leading Asbury and its staff as we continue to be a place for all to worship, serve, and grow. The SPRC will work with the District Superintendent and Bishop Wallace-Padgett in the coming weeks and months to ensure the next Senior Pastor of Asbury United Methodist Church continues to move us forward as a welcoming United Methodist congregation focused on missions and ministry for all.


The SPRC understands the congregation has questions, seeks answers, and feels specific details are warranted given this announcement. To help address questions you may have, please visit which contains a frequently asked questions section. Members of the SPRC are available should you have additional questions.


We ask you to support and be in prayer for Asbury’s clergy and staff as they navigate this transition and continue leading Asbury forward in missions and ministry. We also ask you to be in prayer for our Asbury church family as we remain committed to be a part of the body of Christ, as we have been since 1986.




The Staff-Parish Relations Committee

Melanie Nichols, Chairperson

Amanda Benson

Ranea Breen

Brooks Burdette

Lenora Jones

Larry King

Grayson Lawrence

Lea Renfroe

Natan Shar

Bob Suellentrop

Asbury UMC Website

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