Outreach Center and Staffing News


Published: July 8, 2021

This is an exciting time within the life of the congregation, and while the COVID-19 pandemic required us to adjust in significant ways, we are grateful that our outreach ministries continue to do more good in this community and beyond. As we prepare to break ground on our new Outreach Center this Fall (keep September 19 tentatively on your calendars), there are a few outreach related updates we want to share with you.

Dining and Caring Center Temporarily Moving

The new Outreach Center will include a fully renovated and expanded Dining and Caring Center. While this will necessitate our vacating the current premises during construction, we are pleased to share that this vital ministry will continue in a temporary new location! Beginning after Labor Day, the Dining and Caring Center will operate out of Covenant United Methodist just down the street on Culver Road. We are deeply grateful to the Rev. Dr. Ann Kemper and that congregation for their hospitality. To facilitate this move, the Dining and Caring Center will be closed for the month of August. Please watch for ways that you can help us keep this vital ministry thriving during this anticipated year of construction!

Staffing Changes

It is with mixed emotions that we report that Michele Cooley, our current Director of the Dining and Caring Center, has accepted a new position with another local agency. We are so grateful for the work that she has done with us over the last twelve years and invite you to join us for a reception in her honor following the 9am service on Sunday, July 18. We wish her well in all her future endeavors.

As the new Outreach Center will bring together several of our vital outreach ministries under one roof, the Outreach Center Committee has spent the last couple of months creating a new Director of the Outreach Center position. Originally articulated by the 2016 Outreach Task Force and voted upon by the congregation as a part of the 2017 Dreamscape (our strategic plan), this full-time position will replace and incorporate aspects of the Director of Dining and Caring Center position while providing the primary, hands-on supervision and management of on-campus poverty-relief efforts, which include the Dining and Caring Center, Grocery Bag Ministry, Storehouse, UR Well Clinic, and Community Garden. 

We are pleased to announce that beginning July 19, the Rev. Patrick Dupont, a provisional deacon in the United Methodist Church, will be joining the Asbury First staff as our new Director of the Outreach Center. Pat is excited to be joining the community at such an important moment in the life of the Outreach Center and looks forward to helping the Center and congregation reach their fullest potential in service to Christ and the broader community. Prior to coming to Asbury First, Pat served several United Methodist congregations and spent three years living and working at St. Joseph’s House of Hospitality, a Catholic Worker community that operates a soup kitchen, clothing closet, and emergency shelter, and engages in activism and advocacy alongside Rochester’s poor and homeless. As someone particularly called to lead the church in ministries of compassion and justice with those who find themselves on the margins of society, Pat believes it is through authentic relationships with our neighbors that we move from being Jesus worshippers to Jesus followers. 

We look forward to this upcoming season of transition, and remain excited about the continued opportunity to live out our mission, and Do More Good.

With love,
The Rev. Jacqueline Nelson