Newsletter Archive

We hope you enjoy reading about the events and stories that make Asbury First a church that is an integral piece of the Rochester community. Scroll down for archived articles, or click the links to view past issues of the Visitor @ Home newsletter.

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Article Archive

Asbury First Featured in The Advocate

Published May 4, 2022

Check out the cover of the latest issue of the award winning UNY Advocate. How wonderful to be featured for our Children's and Youth Ministries! This issue focuses on some of the children and youth ministries around the Upper New York Conference. 

Click here to read the issue


Chacocente Update

Published May 4, 2022

Things have been busy in Nicuragua at Project Chacocente. Learn about the virtual mission trip, a new board memeber and more in the newsletter below. You can also download a PDF by clicking here.

Keeping Our Promise (KOP) — Perhaps you didn't know that...

Published April 21, 2022

Perhaps you didn’t know that:

  • KOP has welcomed and settled 70 Afghan refugee families into the Rochester area since July, 2021. That is over 200 people.  
  • KOP is looking to find a “Housing Miracle.” We are in search of a three- or four-bedroom home to rent for a three-generation family of seven people. If you know of anyone in the Rochester area who is looking to rent a home please contact Deb Abell at
  • In March four car grants were provided to four different SIV families through our Wheels for Work program. That means each SIV has completed 100 hours of volunteer service and secured full time employment. We have a critical need for car grants — either vehicles or monetary donations — because KOP contributes between $4,000 to $5,000 toward each vehicle.
  • We have given nine car grants so far in 2022 totaling $30,407!
  • Only 3% of the Afghan SIV’s who worked for the American forces have been rescued from Afghanistan. 70,000 are still trapped in their county under Taliban rule.
  • KOP has just launched our annual virtual fundraising event: “‘ALL IN FOR AFGHAN ALLIES”. It will be held from June, 20–30th. Please click here for complete details.  


Welcome to Our New Members!

Published April 11, 2022

After a year hiatus, we have 26 new members joining our church this week, six of whom are virtual members only! This is a large group all coming from different religious backgrounds and even from some different parts of the country. What a blessing to add these individuals to our community. If you see them around or on Zoom, make sure they feel welcome!


Keeping Our Promise (KOP) — Helping Hands: Triplets!

Published March 4, 2022

"Helping Hands: Triplets!" is a KOP initiative designed to support one of our recently arrived Afghan couples who welcomed triplets on February 9! They live in the Brighton/Rochester area. We are reaching out to our community to mobilize a group of women volunteers willing to offer hands-on help in caring for the babies. Helpers will have the support of Keeping Our Promise volunteers: Lin Vanderstyne and Deb Abell.

While the arrival of the triplets is surely delightful, we also respect the complexities of caring for three infants. We are conducting this outreach volunteer request in advance of them being discharged home, and are mindful that we may need to adjust course. Specifically, we are seeking women to do one or more 'shifts' per week or every other week. We are hopeful for consistency for the couple and the babies. Ideally, a shift would be four hours; however, there is certainly flexibility. We ask that volunteers be fully vaccinated, including boosted, and masked when in the home. Helpers must be willing to register as a volunteer with Keeping Our Promise—a very simple process. 

Thank you for considering this deeply meaningful volunteer opportunity to care for these dear little ones. If you are interested in volunteering with this family or if you have any questions, please contact Keeping Our Promise volunteer, Jordan Bontrager at


The Storehouse Needs You!

Published January 25, 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


Join us on a Virtual Mission Trip to Chacocente 

Published January 28, 2022

We are thrilled to offer you the opportunity to visit Chacocente virtually! We realize that many of you have missed traveling to Nicaragua and we hope that you will join Chacocente Board member Rev. John Shaver (pictured at left below) and a small group of supporters from California (again, virtually) as they travel physically to Nicaragua February 7-15, 2022. We look forward to being able to extend an invitation for in-person trips in the future.

Your participation in our 2022 Virtual Mission Trip will include:

  • A Valentine from a student at Chacocente Christian School to you.
  • A Valentine for a student that will include a toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • A cement block with your name on it will become part of the new storage shed to be built by the team and funded by your donation when you register.
  • A Zoom session from the Project with Rev. John Shaver and In-Country Director, Omar. 
  • Sponsorship of a Chacocente Christian School student to take part in a 5K for staff, students and mission team members. Participating students will be given a T-shirt. 
  • Video tour of the Chacocente community delivered to your Inbox within a month of the team’s return.
  • A dollar-for-dollar match for all donations of $100 or more!

To register, please send a suggested minimum donation of $100 to Project Chacocente, PO Box 128, Lexington, MA, 02420; or donate online at If paying by check, please write “Virtual Tour” in the memo line.

Please also send your name, mailing address, email address (for the Zoom call) and amount of your donation to Deadline for registering is Tuesday, February 8th.



Keeping Our Promise Needs Volunteers 

Published December 10, 2021

The Afghan families from the military camps continue to trickle into Rochester. We are so grateful to the volunteers who step up and assist these families during their first few months here. We continue to have a great need for ongoing help in this regard. We especially need local volunteers, who are available to help give rides and the like.

On Monday, December 13 a family of seven arrives. This family comprises two parents, two children, and three young adult siblings of one of the parents. On Tuesday, December 14 a family of four arrives: two parents, two children, etc.  


  • A volunteer to drive a wife back and forth to visit husband in Park Ridge. She also needs a first-floor bedroom and bath where she can stay while waiting for husband to return from hospital.
  • Linens are needed, as well as sewing machines, housing, volunteer coordinators and grocery store gift cards.  

Please visit the website for Keeping Our Promise at for more information and to sign up.

Identifying volunteers NOW does help the whole process, so please let me know ASAP if you can help! You will receive more information, literature, opportunity for a Zoom training session, access to a recorded Zoom session, and more. We are trying very hard to stay on top of helping our volunteers to help these families, but it is tremendously difficult to play catch-up, so please step up now if you can help!

We welcome you even if you have holiday plans. You are not expected to make any changes to those plans. We just need you to help when you can, in cooperation with your fellow volunteers.

Thank you, so very much, for your willingness to help these families settle in to their new, safe lives in Rochester! Please reply now if you are local and can help! Please be aware that I take volunteers in the order in which they reply. I do not track specific availability, so no need to share that--just a simple email response is all I need--you will work out specific workflow with your fellow volunteers

Feel free to reach out to Asbury First member Cindy Malone by email at, or text/call 585-645-4060.


Project Chacocente Update 

Published November 10, 2021

The global pandemic continues to affect all of us, and as we try to adjust to the “new normal” we fear for those living in poverty near and far. For those living day-to-day in rural Nicaragua, the needs are great.

Project Chacocente, a registered 501(c)(3) organization, works alongside Nicaraguans as they journey out of dire poverty. We continue to refine a model of working with the poor by educating children from pre-school through high school at Chacocente Christian School and then supporting them through college, by offering emergency food relief during times of extreme need, and by providing a living wage to our teachers and staff. Chacocente began by helping families living in the Managua city dump form a new community in rural Masaya, then teaching them the skills needed to survive and thrive on their own. They learned how to read and write, and attended classes on farming, home construction, hygiene and parenting, among many disciplines. We now also work with families living in the community that surrounds the Chacocente campus.

We invite you to share their journey by taking part in our second virtual 5K, The Iguana Trot.

Spend the month of November walking, running, biking, or trotting (as in Turkey Trot) as many 5Ks as you can (5 kilometers is the distance from the main highway to the Project). To ensure the success of this event we encourage you to invite family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers to sponsor you per kilometer, or to participate directly themselves! Registration is $50 and includes a T-shirt that will be mailed to you in December.

There are three ways to register. Once you have done so, we will send you further instructions:

  1. Online at
  2. Send a $50 check made out to Project Chacocente with “Iguana Trot” in the memo line. Include a separate piece of paper with your T-shirt size (Adult S, M, L, XL, XXL). Mail to Project Chacocente, c/o Robyn Gage, 9 Glenmore Circle, Pittsford, NY, 14534
  3. Pay the $50 registration fee using the DONATE button at Then email us at with your T-shirt size and address so we can mail your shirt.

Where did the Asbury Community Garden go? 

Published November 5, 2021

With production winding down and a killing frost around the corner, the garden team recently put the garden to bed for the winter. All that’s remaining to do is add a nice, thick blanket of chopped up leaves to protect the soil over the winter. The little bit of green still growing is the carrots we’re leaving a bit longer. 

If you missed out on all the fun this year, consider joining us in 2022 as we plan and execute another garden season. We’ll probably start planning — choosing what to grow and ordering seeds — right after the holidays. If you’re game to help just once, or nearly every week, let us know. There’s plenty of gardening to go around. 

In the meantime, we want to say “Thank you!" to the many, many people who helped out this year, from children at the day care and in our children’s ministry and youth ministry, to various garden team members and volunteers, to guests and staff at the dining center, to Monroe County Soil and Water Conservation Service, and to the Monroe County Cornell Cooperative Extension. The food we raised was shared with the dining center and its guests, with recent refugees from Afghanistan, with two feeding programs in the city, and with VBS families. We had an amazing year and hope to do it all over again next year.


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