Published: Aug. 11, 2021
On behalf of the Governing Board and the Pastor Parish Relations Committee, I write with mixed emotions to inform you that the Rev. Jackie Nelson has accepted a new position as the Director of Student Support Services and Coordinator of Spiritual Care at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School. We are so grateful for the four years that Jackie has served as our Minister for Outreach and wish her nothing but the best in her new role. We have no doubt that she will make as great an impact there as she has done here, and we are thrilled that she will help shape the ministries of church leaders for years to come.
The good news is that Rev. Nelson is not leaving us fully! Jackie has graciously agreed to stay on in a very part time capacity (5-10 hours a month) in a new reimagined position** we have created called the Minister for Social Justice. While she will not have regular weekly pastoral responsibilities and we ask that people honor that shift, she will provide pastoral leadership to our justice ministries, including our Racial Justice Advocacy Team as well as our Q Advocacy Team. In addition, Jackie will participate in worship monthly and preach occasionally as well. While we will miss her daily presence on our campus, we are so grateful that we will remain in ministry together.
We do intend to fill the soon-to-be-vacant Minister for Outreach position and are beginning the process of assessing our Outreach staffing needs. We will keep you informed as we have more information, but we anticipate a couple of months with that role vacant. Fortunately, we have the Rev. Patrick Dupont serving as our new Director of the Outreach Center, who can help ensure that the daily on campus outreach ministries continue uninterrupted.
Rev. Nelson will transition into her new roles in early September. Please join us in celebrating Jackie’s extraordinary ministry among us and praying for her as she begins this new endeavor.
Grace and Peace,
** The Governing Board believes the funding for this very part-time position for the next year will come from the savings we anticipate from not having a Minister for Outreach for a couple of months while we make preparations to fill that position. After that, we believe we will be able to include it in our Annual Operating Plan with minimal impact.
Published: Aug. 5, 2021
Though we had to brave the rain and wear masks once again, it was truly a blessing to be together for Tent Sunday last week. Given the last year and a half, I never want to take for granted the gift that it is to look one another in the eye. To that end, we have been working to carefully plan for our safe return to worship this fall.
For those who might have missed it, during the service on Sunday we announced our plan to begin the fall (starting on September 12) with just one service at 11 am. It will be both in-person and live-streamed. To be clear, we view this as a temporary step toward a return to multiple services. However, with the uncertainty regarding the new COVID variant as well as continued apprehension by many about returning to in-person worship, we felt this would be a prudent first step. Our hope would be to reassess after a couple of months and put forward a more permanent worship schedule at that time.
Through September 5, we will continue to enjoy our summer worship schedule with outdoor services at 9 am (weather permitting) and the live-stream-only service at 11 am. We will provide more information in the weeks to come regarding Sunday School, childcare, and updated worship protocols. Thank you for your patience.
In response to the Delta variant, we are again asking all people to mask while on our campus, indoors and outdoors, regardless of vaccination status.
We are grateful for your grace and patience as we attempt to navigate our safe return.
Published: July 29, 2021
Everyone age 12 and older is eligible to receive a free COVID-19 vaccine in New York state. Walk-ins are now accepted for all regional health department and state-run clinics and some pharmacies. Those being vaccinated at their pharmacy can make an appointment or check with their pharmacy to see if they accept walk-ins. For more information and clickable links, visit flvaccinehub.com/getting-your-vaccine/.
Published: July 28, 2021
During the past few days, our COVID-19 Task Force has continued to monitor the impact of the Delta variant in our community. Out of an abundance of caution, and at the recommendation of our medical experts, we will require that everyone attending this Sunday's service and activities wear a mask at all times. This includes both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.
Next week, we will also be requiring everyone attending Vacation Bible School to wear a mask. Once again, this includes all children, adults, vaccinated, and unvaccinated individuals.
We will continue to closely monitor the best practices and safety guidelines put forth by NYS and the CDC; and we will keep you informed about future services and events.
We appreciate your understanding and cooperation as we continue to do our best to live out our mission to live, love, serve, and repeat.
Peace and blessings,
The COVID-19 Task Force
Published: July 22, 2021
For the rest of July, The Dining & Caring Center will be open on Wednesdays and Thursdays for breakfast, 7-9 am, and for lunch on Sundays from 12-1:30 pm.
Beginning August 1, the Dining & Caring Center will be closed for the month of August and will reopen after Labor Day. For more information, contact Rev. Jackie Nelson at email@example.com.
Published: July 21, 2021
Keeping Our Promise (KOP) is looking for Caring Circle volunteers for an influx of family arrivals from Afghanistan here in Rochester. We have an urgent need for volunteers to help! As the US withdraws from Afghanistan, these families are escaping as quickly as they can. The KOP expect to have.
Caring Circle volunteers work as a team (usually 3–4 people) to help newly arrived families navigate the early months of living in Rochester. They provide or coordinate transportation as needed, and generally help out with a lot of the early issues that arise. There is plenty of guidance, and we have an intake team of specialized volunteers for issues such as school registration.
If you are interested in becoming a Caring Circle volunteer, please contact Cindy Malone at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Published: July 21, 2021
The Youth Risk and Resilience Lab at the University of Rochester is currently running a paid study on gender identity and suicide risk. They are looking for teens 12–17 living in New York State who identify as transgender, gender non-conforming, or any other gender minority, who experienced suicidal thoughts or behaviors within the past year, and who have a willing parent to participate with them. There is no deadline for sign-up. Please call 585-210-9885, or email Emily Han at TGNC_Teen_Study@URMC.Rochester.edu if you are interested! You can learn more about the TGNC Teen study by clicking here.
Published: July 19, 2021
Grace and peace to you in the name of God our Creator and Christ our Redeemer! I pray that this summer is giving you time to appreciate the beauty of God’s creation. I want to update you on a few items related to the new Outreach Center.
Thanks to your generosity and the generosity of more than fourteen foundations, we have met the fundraising goal we articulated last January! We are now closer than ever to breaking ground on our new Outreach Center! Before we declare victory, however, we have one very important hurdle to clear—we have to make sure that the construction bids we receive are in line with the plan to date.
Like many of you, we have been watching the rising cost of building materials with some trepidation. Working with our architects and a team of very thoughtful volunteers and staff, we have done our due diligence to plan for the new Outreach Center. But, as with so much in life right now, things are changing so quickly that it is impossible to predict how the construction bids will come back.
As a result of this uncertainty, the bidding process for the project is much slower than we originally anticipated. It has taken longer to prepare the materials for bid and we have been advised to leave more time for bids to return. To be clear, our hope is to break ground as soon as possible, but we will need to review the bids before we can make that final call.
Our commitment throughout this project has been to not proceed until we have all the funds (pledged or in hand) necessary to complete the project. That is still our commitment. If the bids were to come back higher than the amount we have raised, we will review our options and communicate with you our updated plan for moving forward.
As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions that you might have. We anticipate receiving the construction bids back in late September and will plan to communicate again with you shortly thereafter.
In the meantime, we’d ask that you keep the mission and ministry of Asbury First and the future Outreach Center in your prayers.
Grace and Peace,
Published: July 17, 2021
Due to the weather forecast for tomorrow, July 18th, we are cancelling the 9am worship service and will hold our livestream only service at 11am.
In light of tomorrow being Michele Cooley’s last day, we are still planning to hold a light reception in the Gathering Center from 9:30-10:30am, and invite you to stop by and join us in celebrating Michele for her time at Asbury First. We look forward to seeing you there.
Published: July 15, 2021
Summer Choir for Tent Sunday, August 1, 9:45 am
We know that there are many singers at Asbury First who have been itching to get back to group singing. As a "warm up" for a further opening up in September, we want to invite all singers (including but not limited to Sanctuary Choir and Asbury Singers members) to take part in a one-time Summer Choir for the Tent Sunday service on August 1. Brian Bohrer will lead a rehearsal starting at 9:45 am in Fellowship Hall, followed by participating in the 11 am service under the tent. All you need to do is show up ready to sing! Questions? Contact Brian at email@example.com.