• Remember Your Tips from Joe!


    Published: Sept. 24, 2021

    We are still adjusting to being back together after so long, so here are a few reminders from Joe Congregant to make sure we are all SAFE AND COMFORTABLE

    • If you really want to give someone a hug, try one of the special signs available at the front entrance.
    • For everyone's safety, please wear a mask. We have extras available if you forget to bring one. Remember, Over the nose is where it goes.
    • Try to follow the Pew Signs and sit to maintain social distancing. Remember to stay six feet apart. 

    To watch, or re-watch, the “Welcome Back” video starring Joe Congregant, click here. The seating arrangements have changed, but the rest of the tips are still applicable. Thank you all for your continued effort in keeping everyone safe!

  • COVID and Worship Updates


    Published: Sept. 22, 2021

    What a gift it has been to worship together again! While we are grateful for the technology that has connected us during the pandemic and recognize the many who continue to utilize that medium for worship, it has been a true blessing to be able to see people back in the pews. As we anticipated, we have learned some things over our first couple of weeks back that, in the interest of everyone’s safety, we believe warrant some new policies and reminders:

    1. CHANCEL VACCINATION REQUIREMENT: While all are welcome in our worship services, we are implementing a policy that anyone participating in the leadership of our service (pastors, choir, acolytes, readers, etc.) will need to be fully vaccinated. Full social distancing is not always possible in the chancel and we believe that this, alongside mask-wearing, will help mitigate risk.
    2. SOCIAL DISTANCING IN PEWS: We have attempted to label the pews with signs to suggest where people could sit to maintain social distancing, but we ask that everyone remains diligent about trying to maintain six feet between family/pod/household groupings.
    3. TENT: One of the things that we miss most is being able to connect with one another following the service. To that end, we have erected a tent for the next month (or so) outside the Gathering Center to provide a location for those who would be more comfortable connecting outside following the service.
    4. HUGGING/HANDSHAKING: While so many of us love a good hug or handshake, we also recognize that during the pandemic this is complicated. Your staff is committed to finding other means of expressing our affection and we’d encourage you to do the same. Consider picking up a sign in the Welcome Hall that will let you share the love!

    Thanks so much for all of the hard work that you have been doing to bring us back together safely. While it has been an adjustment, we firmly believe that the benefits of being together are worth the sacrifices we make to keep each other safe! For answers to frequently asked questions about our COVID policy, please click here. As always, don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns.

    Grace and Peace,

  • Chancel Chats — Episode 4


    Published: Sept. 20, 2021

    Did you miss the new Chancel Chat?

    Click here to watch the video

    This week we focus on the past and creation “From the Dust.” To go with that theme, there will be a new Chancel Chat following the postlude with a blast from the past. Colleen Robinson discovered some old 8 mm film of a 1959 snowstorm in Rochester that features a snow-covered Asbury First. She was kind enough to share the footage with us. Stay tuned after the 11 am service to learn more about it!

    To see the other episodes of Chancel Chats, click here.


  • Social Distancing and Pew Seating


    Published: Sept. 19, 2021

    To help keep us socially distant during worship, please take a look at the signs on the pews when you find a seat. To keep our “All Are Welcome” promise, the signs are positive and instruct you on where TO SIT, instead of where NOT TO SIT. The hearts on the sign indicate where is best to be on that particular pew. We appreciate your help in keeping everyone safe!

  • #asburyfirstisback


    Published: Sept. 16, 2021

    We don’t know about you, but being together during our Together In Ministry service last Sunday filled our souls! We are overjoyed to be able to worship in person again. For those of you unable to physically join us, we will still be together in spirit and are grateful for the ability to connect from a distance. During the service, we had a special litany about “What has God done in your life?”. Please take a chance to watch or re-watch the video by clicking here.

  • The Gospel of Mary Magdalene


    Published: Sept. 16, 2021

    Tuesdays starting October 5, 7 pm, Zoom

    Class not meeting on Tuesday, October 26, will return Tuesday, November 2

    Was Jesus's most important disciple a woman?  What was the character of the relationship between Mary Magdalene and Jesus? Did Mary Magdalene, among all of Jesus's students and followers, actually "get" what Jesus was teaching more than anyone else? Can a committed, loving relationship be a transformative, spiritual path? And what does the Gospel of Mary Magdalene—manuscript fragments from the 2nd century which first came to light in 1896—reveal about how she understood the teachings of Jesus? 

    In the spirit of being open to spiritual transformation you are invited to participate in what will be an energetic, challenging, and provocative exploration of the book The Meaning of Mary Magdalene: Discovering the Woman at the Heart of Christianity by Cynthia Bourgeault. 

    The group will be facilitated by Rev. Kathy Thiel and Claude Adair and will meet on Tuesday evenings at 7 pm on Zoom starting September 28. Our intention is to provide an opportunity to share, discuss, learn, grow, and transform. Our time together with this book will be much more than a typical book study.

  • Dining In For Outreach Update


    Published: Sept. 13, 2021

    Because the cases of COVID continue to rise in Monroe County, we have made the difficult decision to cancel Dining In for Outreach. Annually, this event raises thousands of dollars used to provide needed services for guests at our on-campus and off-campus ministries. We remain committed both to keeping our church members safe and continuing our outreach efforts.

    While we will not be gathering for meals and fellowship, we encourage you to continue your support of Outreach at Asbury First. As in previous years, your donation will be used to assist our neighbors near and far living in poverty. Through personal relationships, education, food and clothing relief, and medical care, we work together to share the love of Christ.

    In this challenging hour, please consider making a special gift for Outreach. Donations may be made to Asbury First UMC, 1050 East Ave. Rochester, NY, 14607 or online at Be sure to designate your gift for Outreach. Volunteers will also be available on the morning of October 17 in the Welcoming Foyer to accept your donation.

  • Updated COVID Protocols


    Published: Sept. 9, 2021

    As we return to indoor worship this Sunday and slowly begin to return to some of our pre-pandemic programming, we recognize that COVID-19 is still a reality and want you to know that we continue to make the safety of our community a priority. To that end, we want to inform you of our updated safety protocols:

    MASKS – Inside, we continue to require that everyone wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status. Outside, masks are required for those who have not been vaccinated and encouraged for everyone else.

    PEWS – In order to maintain social distancing (especially important for those children who cannot yet be vaccinated yet), we will place signs on the pew cushions that will help you know where to sit.

    CHILDCARE – Beginning this Sunday (September 12), we will again have childcare available for worship and have put safety protocols in place to ensure the safety of all.

    COOKIES/COFFEE – Until further notice, we have suspended our coffee and cookie service. This will return as soon as possible!

    For more of our safety protocols and our response to several frequently asked questions (FAQs), please click here.

    As a reminder, we will begin our fall worship schedule with one service at 11 am that is both live-streamed and in person. We look forward to seeing you there! Don’t hesitate to invite a friend!

    Grace and Peace,

  • Children's Music begins September 15


    Published: Sept. 4, 2021

    Wednesdays, beginning September 15
    Front Porch of 1050 as long as weather permits, then Room 201

    Children’s Music at Asbury First begins Wednesday, September 15. It might look a little different than normal but we’d love to see your children on Wednesday evenings for some musical fun and fellowship. Below is a list of our musical groups. We will meet outdoors for as long as possible on the front porch of 1050 then move indoors to Room 201. Currently we are required to mask indoors and outdoors on our campus. As policies and protocols change, we will keep you informed. Since singing in a mask can be uncomfortable we will focus heavily on handbells, percussion instruments, and musical games. We are working on how we might provide a meal safely for those who might like that on Wednesday evenings. We will be in touch soon with more details.

    Hallelujah Kids

    Wednesdays, 5–5:30 pm, Front Porch of 1050 as long as weather permits then Room 201

    Music fundamentals class for ages 4 through 1st grade. Playful music, dance and games designed to foster creativity and develop a love for children’s music and classic church songs.

    Wesley Singers & Ringers

    Wednesdays, 6–7 pm, Front Porch of 1050 as long as weather permits then Room 201

    Vocal & Handbell Choir for children grades 2-5. Handbells, chimes and percussion instruments will be used to foster creativity and develop a love for children’s music and classic church songs.

    For more information contact Holly Temming at

  • Wednesday Morning Study Group


    Published: Sept. 4, 2021

    Wednesdays, beginning September 15, 10-11:30 am
    Beginning on Zoom,

    This fall, our Wednesday morning study group will begin a new book, Ladder to the Light: An Indigenous Elder’s Meditations on Hope and Courage by Steven Charleston. This group is open to all. Some members have been together for many years, others joined during COVID, and still others come and go as interests and schedules permit. This fall, we are excited to be delving into Ladder to the Light as we continue to search for our own light amidst a continued pandemic. Steven Charleston is a Choctaw elder and an Episcopal priest, and his work promises to both comfort and challenge its readers. Books may be purchased online, or by contacting Mike Mullin at

  • Adult Education: New Creation


    Published: Sept. 3, 2021

    Wednesday Evenings, September 15, 22, 29, 6-7 pm
    Room 203, Second Floor, Education Wing

    While we are not yet ready to return to community meals on Wednesday nights, we are still looking forward to various opportunities to gather as a community. With our Fall theme of “New Creation,” we wanted to kick off our Wednesday evenings in September based on the theme of creation. The first week, we will focus on our biblical creation accounts, and how they might speak to us in this season. In the second week, we will focus on The United Methodist Church and John Wesley’s vision for a New Creation. Finally, in the third week, we will consider various creation stories from around the globe, and invite participants to consider what types of new creation might be on the horizon in our own lives. For more information, contact Mike Mullin at

  • Dynamic Disciple Challenge Returns


    Published: Sept. 3, 2021

    Beginning the week of September 12 as scheduled below

    This Spring, many of us began a journey through the Old Testament with the Disciple Bible study series. This fall, we will be continuing our journey with the New Testament and we would like to extend an invitation to anyone who might like to join us. No previous Bible experience is necessary. We use a Study Manual to help guide us through our weekly readings. These may be purchased online, or by contacting Mike Mullin at At present, all of our meetings will occur via Zoom beginning the week of September 12:

    • Tuesdays 3-4 pm, led by The Rev. Ruthellen Hoyle
    • Thursdays 7-8 pm, led by The Rev. Linda Clemow
    • Fridays 9:30-10:30 am, led by Mike Mullin
  • Staffing News


    Published: Sept. 2, 2021

    It is with heavy hearts, we inform you that Melody Guadagnino, our Office Manager, has resigned effective September 1. We are so grateful for her years of service to this congregation and ask that you join us in praying for her in all her future endeavors.

  • Together In Ministry Sunday


    Published: Aug. 26, 2021

    Sunday, September 12, 11 am, Sanctuary

    Join us as we return to in-person worship at 11 am on Sunday, September 12 and help us find "A New Creation" from the recent chaos!

    After the last 18 months, we are thrilled to return to our regular schedule...even if it is slightly different from past years. There will be a chance to add your "piece" to Asbury First and greet friends again. We hope to see you then! 

    For more information, please contact Deb Bullock-Smith at

  • School Supply Drive


    Published: Aug. 26, 2021

    Sundays in September, starting September 12

    We will be collecting school supplies again this year for Schools 17 and 45. The following is a list of needed items which can be brought to the Welcome Hall starting September 12 and continuing every Sunday in September.

    Items needed include: backpacks, 24-count pencils, colored pencils, erasers and eraser tops, ink pens (blue, black, and red), crayons, color-safe markers, highlighters, child-safe scissors, glue sticks, pencil boxes or pouches, index cards, sticky notes, solid-color folders with pockets, three-ring binders, composition books, graph paper, hand sanitizer, and tissues.

    Many thanks to YOU for your support! For more information, please contact John Smalt at (585) 924-8624, or at