• Sermon Podcast Official Launch!


    Published: Oct. 8, 2021

    Subscribe to our sermon podcast for an Automatic Download!

    Did you know that you can listen to the Sunday sermon on our podcast? It is time to officially launch our Asbury First UMC — Sermon Podcast! If you’d like to check it out, you can find it at, or you can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music Podcasts, and many more! Keep an eye out for a celebration of this new ministry.

  • World Communion Sunday


    Published: Oct. 1, 2021

    Sundays, October 3

    This Sunday, October 3, we will partake in our first Communion in person since March 2020. The fact that it coincides with World Communion Sunday, means that we will be together in the spirit and in the flesh with our siblings in Christ around the world. However, it will be a little different from usual. Due to the ongoing pandemic, we will supply individual Communion elements upon entering the sanctuary. This will help keep us safe as we connect with each other in this wonderful sacrament.

    As a special treat, our pulpit and lectern will display new banners (or antependiums, Latin for “to hang before”) to celebrate World Communion Sunday. These beautiful, double-sided fabric pieces were lovingly created by Master Weaver, Jan Towsley. The works were commissioned by the Asbury Altar Guild in memory of our former member, Elaine Boyd.

  • Governance Board Open Forum


    Published: Oct. 1, 2021

    Sunday, October 24, 12 pm, Sanctuary and Live Stream

    In order to answer questions and hear from the congregation on open questions moving forward, the Governing Board will be hosting an Open Forum following the service on Sunday, October 24 in the sanctuary (and on the live stream). We have also put up a list of answers to FAQs on our website. If you have questions that you want us to be prepared to answer or would like us to put up on the website, please email For more information, visit

  • Women On Wednesday (WOW)


    Published: Oct. 1, 2021

    Wednesdays, 12 pm, Gathering Center

    The Holy Longing — The Search for a Christian Spirituality by Ronald Rolheiser is WOW’s first reading journey through October 13. WOW selects books by voting on group suggestions. The next book, beginning on October 20, is The Next Right Thing — A Simple Soulful Practice for Making Life Decisions by Emily Freeman.

    Women on Wednesday (WOW) is an ever-changing group of readers that meets weekly from September to June to explore books of current and thoughtful interest. All women readers are welcome. There are no Asbury or any other membership requirements. Participants move in and out of the group as schedules and busy lives allow — just bring your curiosity and interest in the world of reading and sharing ideas.

    For questions or more information contact Mary Lynn Vickers at

  • Looking for Girl Scout Leaders


    Published: Sept. 30, 2021

    If you happen to know of anyone who would be interested in leading a Girl Scout Troop, there are opportunities available. Training & assistance is available, and volunteers do not have to have children. If you are interested in learning more, please contact Laura Halewski at

  • School 17 & 45 THANK YOU!


    Published: Sept. 30, 2021

    Thanks so much to Asbury First for your generous support in this year's school supply drive. Thank you to all who answered the call to give. Your caring support will make a difference in these school communities. There is still an opportunity for you to join the Help Me Read Volunteers. For more information, please contact John Smalt 585-924-8624 or at

  • You're Invited to Learn More or Join The Discipleship Project


    Published: Sept. 24, 2021

    The vision of The Discipleship Project at Asbury First is to: 

    • Reclaim the method of connection and discipleship through small groups aimed at transforming the way we think and live as Christians. 
    • Renew the mission to alleviate and end poverty through solidarity-based ministries of compassion and justice. 
    • Reignite the movement of the Spirit-led church through faith sharing and invitation to new Christians. 

    This fall, we’ve already started four small groups (styled “Classes” after the original Methodist small group) to focus on living out our faith in our everyday lives, while building deeper connections with others who seek the same. These groups meet weekly for one hour, and are shepherded by the Rev. Rachel Ann Dupont, Minister for Christian Formation and Director of The Discipleship Project. If you are interested in learning more, please visit If you’re ready to sign up for a small group, or would like to schedule a meeting with Rachel, please click here to fill out a form.

  • 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,