News

  • Church Conference Recap

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    Published: Jan. 31, 2022

    Did you miss the Annual Church Conference on Sunday? Not to worry! You can read all of the documents as well as watch the conference by visiting asburyfirst.org/church-conference.

  • The Storehouse Needs You!

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    Published: Jan. 24, 2022

    Join us for a quick look into one of our Outreach ministries, The Storehouse. From helping the Red Cross clothe people who have suffered loss due to fires, to providing clothes, books, and toys to a child in foster care, the Asbury Storehouse served 2,638 people in 2021 alone! Now, we need YOUR help as volunteers to continue this important service for the Rochester community.

    Sign up to volunteer at asburyfirst.org/outreach-volunteer/.

    Click here to watch the video

  • Housing Call to Action

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    Published: Jan. 24, 2022

    “Everyone around was in awe—all those wonders and signs done through the apostles! And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common. They sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person’s need was met.” (Acts 2:43-45, The Message)

    On January 15, the eviction moratorium that has been in place for the duration of the pandemic was lifted. As a result, many of our neighbors who have been financially impacted by the pandemic are on the brink of eviction and homelessness. This crisis comes in the midst of both the coldest months of the year and the highest numbers of daily infections of the entire pandemic.

    At Asbury First, we are already feeling the local fallout of this change. In January alone we have received over $20,000 of rental assistance requests as individuals and families seek ways to stay in their homes. We currently do not have the necessary funds available to meet the staggering amount of need in our community.

    This is a crisis moment in which we as a congregation and community are called to respond:

    • If you are in need of assistance or are in danger of losing your home, please do not hesitate to reach out to a member of our pastoral staff. (585-271-1050)
    • If you are in a financial position to contribute to our emergency rental assistance fund, please consider doing so. You can make a gift online here: asburyfirst.org/give-online. Please designate it for “Rent Assistance.”
    • If you would like to learn more about, volunteer with, or donate to housing justice organizations who are working on long-term sustainable solutions to the housing crisis in Rochester and statewide, please contact Pat Dupont (pdupont@asburyfirst.org, 585-271-1050 x136).

    May we embody our faith ancestors of the book of Acts in “pooling our resources so that each person’s need is met.”

  • Disciple Bible Study

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    Published: Jan. 21, 2022

    Have you ever wondered what the Bible really says—and if it truly has any meaning for us in modern times? If so, then you’re not alone. Most Christians have never really read the Bible, and many wonder if its antiquated teachings truly transcend time. If you would like to grapple with these questions, then you are encouraged to sign up for a Disciple Bible Study. We will offer both Disciple I Bible Studies and Disciple II (for those who have previously completed Disciple I). Groups will be formed at the end of January, and will begin meeting in February for weekly, one-hour sessions. All of our groups will meet via Zoom this year, meaning that anyone can participate from anywhere in the world. Perhaps, this is the time to invite a friend or family member to come alongside you as you commit to a year of weekly Bible study (NB: we will take a break during the summer). Please contact Mike Mullin, mmullin@asburyfirst.org, with any questions, and use this link to sign-up for a Disciple Bible Study!

  • Keeping Our Promise Update

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    Published: Jan. 21, 2022

    In December 2021, the Mission & Service Team welcomed Keeping Our Promise as an outreach ministry of Asbury First. A Rochester based non-profit, the organization’s mission is “To provide comprehensive resettlement assistance to endangered wartime allies who served U.S. interests in conflict and war zones.” Volunteers assist refugees through the complicated steps of finding and furnishing a home, registering children for school, finding employment and medical care, learning English and more. 232 individuals were assisted in 2021 and many, many more are anticipated in 2022. The Asbury First Grocery Bag Ministry and Storehouse are actively involved in helping our new Americans. Many in our congregation already support Keeping Our Promise by volunteering and/or financial support. Stay tuned for ways that you can become involved to Do More Good by caring for our wartime allies. Visit www.keepingourpromise.org to learn more, or feel free to contact Asbury First member and KOP volunteer Cindy Malone, who can be reached at (call or text) 585-645-4060 or by email at cmalone1015@gmail.com.

  • Annual Church Conference on January 30

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    Published: Jan. 20, 2022

    This year, the Asbury First Annual Church Conference will be held on Sunday, January 30 following the 11 am service and will be a Virtual Conference with an in-person component.
     
    The Upper New York Conference informed us that if we do an “in-person” conference, the votes of the people watching on the livestream will not count. However, if we do a “virtual” conference and have the people who are in-person vote in the same way as those watching on the livestream, then everyone’s vote will count. To that end, we ask that those who plan to attend the virtual conference in-person bring a device (i.e. smartphone or tablet) to connect with our voting system. Look for more instructions on that, along with all of the Church Conference materials, next week.
     
    We recognize that this will create a challenge for those who might want to be in-person, but do not have access to a device. Rest assured that we will do everything in our power to make sure that everyone who wants to vote (and is eligible) may do so. Some will also recognize that, just like last year, the virtual nature of this church conference, will mean that the work of this year’s conference will have to be ratified at some point in the future when we are able to safely gather with a fuller representation of our community.
     
    Thank you for your patience and understanding as we, once again, try to balance the business of the church with the safety of the community.

    — The Asbury First Staff

  • Women on Wednesday (WOW) begins Brian McLaren book January 26

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    Published: Jan. 7, 2022

    Wednesdays, 12:15 pm, Click here for Zoom link 

    The Secret Message of Jesus: Uncovering the Truth that Could Change Everything is WOW’s next reading selection. In The Secret Message you’ll find what’s at the center of Brian’s critique of conventional Christianity, and what’s at the heart of his expanding vision. WOW meets via Zoom at 12:15 pm on Wednesdays. 

    Women on Wednesday (WOW) 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 mvicker1@rochester.rr.com.

  • COVID and Worship Update

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    Published: Jan. 6, 2022

    Like most of you, we are watching the COVID numbers increase in our region and are paying special attention to how we as a church might need to adjust to keep everyone safe. To be clear, everyone will need to make their own decision based on their level of comfort and health. Please know that there is no shame in staying home to watch the livestream (or listening via radio, phone, or archive) and absolutely no pressure to attend in person. That said, we also recognize that for some people, in-person worship is their only means of weekly connection and are reticent to take that away.

    As of this moment, the COVID-19 Task Force believes that we can continue in-person worship with these additional safety precautions: 

    1. ROPING OFF PEWS: We will rope off every other pew to encourage better social distancing
    2. REQUIRING BETTER MASKS: Following new public health guidance, and the recommendations of our own medical professionals, we will now require higher caliber masks (surgical, K95, N95, or double-masking) for anyone attending in-person worship. We will have appropriate masks available for anyone who might need one. 
    3. CHOIR ON HIATUS: Through January, we will put the Sanctuary choir on hiatus to limit congestion in the chancel.
    4. CHILDREN’S TIME FROM PEWS: We will not call the children forward for children’s time, but instead ask them to remain in their pews. We will continue to offer enrichment and Bible Beat for children following children’s time.

    Thank you in advance for your understanding and compliance with these new precautions. We will continue monitor the situation and alert you should any change to these plans become necessary.

    In the meantime, please continue to keep everyone affected and infected by COVID-19 in your prayers.

    Grace and Peace,

    Stephen

  • RIT Celebrates 40th "Expressions of King’s Legacy"

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    Published: Jan. 5, 2022

    The Division of Diversity and Inclusion at Rochester Institute of Technology invites the members of Asbury First to join them as they welcome Harvard professor and Emmy Award winning filmmaker, cultural critic and journalist Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. to the Henrietta campus Thursday January 27, 2022.

    Dr. Gates is the executive producer, host and writer of the documentary “The Black Church: This is Our Story, This is Our Song “on PBS which looks at the rich history and the important role of the Black church in America. In addition, his popular genealogy series, Finding Your Roots is now in its seventh season on PBS.

    Dr. Gates will deliver the keynote address during RIT's 40th anniversary celebration of “Expressions of King’s Legacy” which honors the life and work of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It begins at noon and will be held in RIT’s Gordon Field House. Ample parking is available.

    Please note RIT’s Policy that all attendees 12 years of age and older must provide proof of vaccination. For more information or to register, visit www.rit.edu/diversity/2022expressions.

  • Casowasco: SOLID Winter Retreat

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    Published: Jan. 4, 2022

    January 28–30, Camp Casowasco

    We are happy to announce that Casowasco will be bringing back it's winter retreat, SOLID, this January 28-30!

    The theme is SUPERHEROES and the theme verse is Jeremiah 29.11: For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.
    The cost this year is $180 per participant. Registration is due by Monday, January 10. If you would like to attend, but the cost is a deterrent, please contact Mike Mullin at mmullin@asburyfirst.org; we have scholarships available for anyone that might benefit from them. 

    SOLID is a weekend retreat designed for youth groups with youth from 6th–12th grades. The weekend is run like a mini-summer camp with large group sessions, camp-wide activities, and small group discussions. For more information or to register, visit casowasco.org/event/solid-retreat-2022/.