Published: Dec. 18, 2020
These past nine months have been challenging for us all. The COVID-19 pandemic has required us to make significant adjustments, which have impacted our personal lives and our church community. Our outreach ministries have certainly felt this. As news of the pandemic worsened, our dedicated volunteers made efficient and effective decisions to adjust programs, halt activities, and seek creative ways to serve our community, even if it meant doing so from home. We are grateful to all volunteers of the Dining & Caring Center, Storehouse, Grocery Bag Ministry and UR Well clinic for their flexibility and commitment to our on-campus programs.
One of the many ways we have been able to respond to our community and remain a church that prioritizes outreach is through our COVID relief fund. This fund, traditionally referred to as the Pastor’s Discretionary Fund, has allowed us to respond to needs surrounding back-rent, threats of eviction, and RG&E concerns from individuals who have experienced the pain of this pandemic in direct ways. From June to November, we served 55 individuals, and provided over $64,000 in COVID-relief support. We would not have been able to do that without the support of this congregation, grant funding dedicated to COVID-relief; and our dedicated volunteer social worker, Martha Neubert, who spends countless hours working with members of the community, referring individuals to other agencies for further support, and helping us respond to this growing need as a church. We’ve received countless “thank you” messages and affirmations of just how impactful this support has been to the individuals we served.
As we head into the Christmas season, it is no surprise then that the needs steadily increase. With the holidays and deadlines for eviction notices approaching, we are averaging at least ten calls a week from our neighbors looking for assistance. In response, the Outreach Committee leaders have decided that this year, our Joy of Christmas Giving efforts should be focused on COVID-relief. To ensure that more of Rochester’s most vulnerable receive the support they need, we are inviting the congregation to consider donating to this fund, in lieu of donating to our individual Asbury First-afiliated outreach ministries. We’d like to be a part of mediating the current crisis around evictions, and believe we can do it with your help! Thank you in advance for helping to make someone else’s holiday a little better.
To donate please www.asburyfirst.org/give; and for further questions or concerns, please contact the Rev. Jacqueline Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org.