Rev. Dr. Stephen M. Cady II
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Stephen joined the pastoral staff at Asbury First in July 2012. He became Asbury First's senior minister on July 1, 2015. Prior to his appointment at AFUMC, he was the minister of Kingston United Methodist Church in Kingston, NJ. During Stephen’s tenure, Kingston UMC was designated as a teaching congregation for young adults in the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference. Prior to serving Kingston UMC, Stephen served for four years as the associate minister of Park Ridge Community Church in Park Ridge, IL.
Stephen received his PhD in Practical Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary. His particular research is youth and young adult faith formation, particularly in the area of worship. His dissertation was titled: Creative Encounters: Toward a Theology of Magnitude for worship with United Methodist Youth. Stephen has been named a Timothy Scholar by the United Methodist Foundation for Evangelism, was twice the recipient of a Dempster Fellowship through the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, and is a John Wesley Fellow. He attended seminary at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary on the campus of Northwestern University and currently serves as an adjunct faculty member at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School.
Stephen grew up in Olathe, KS and attended Ohio Wesleyan University (Delaware, OH) where he received a BA in Theatre. He was active on the stage and in commercials prior to entering seminary. Stephen and his wife, Emily, have three children, Ellie, Charlie and Hannah. Stephen enjoys running, collecting Superman memorabilia, and teaching people how to yo-yo.
Favorite Scripture Verse – John 10:10b
I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
The Rev. Kathy Thiel
Minister for Congregational Care
Kathy joined the Asbury First staff in July 2015, but she is no stranger to the congregation. From 2012-2014, she served at AFUMC as a student intern while earning her master of divinity degree at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School (CRCDS), and later as a visitation minister. From 2014 to July 2015, Kathy participated in a clinical pastoral education residency program at St. Mary's Hospital in San Francisco, CA., where she provided spiritual and emotional care to patients, families, and staff.
A native of New Jersey, Kathy received her undergraduate degree from Hampshire College in Amherst, MA, with an interdisciplinary concentration in psychology, religion, and literature. From 1995 to 2010 she was the founding owner, manager, and field techniciaion for Valley Environmental Services, an environmental consulting firm in Greenfield, MA. She has also served as a chaplain intern at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester. In her spare time, Kathy raises and breeds guinea pigs.
Favorite Scripture Verse – John 1:1-5
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
The Rev. Jacqueline Nelson
Minister for Outreach
Jackie joined the Asbury First staff in August 2017. Prior to her arrival at Asbury First, she served as an Associate Minister at Mount Olive Baptist Church in Hackensack, NJ. From 2014-2015, while pursuing her academic studies, Jackie participated in field education opportunities as a student pastoral intern to the First Baptist Church of Princeton, NJ and Hope Presbyterian Church of Memphis, TN.
Jackie received both a Master of Divinity (2016) and Master of Theology (2017) from Princeton Theological Seminary (PTS). Upon graduation, Jackie received a Certificate in Black Church Studies, a Certificate in Women, Theology & Gender, and the 2016 Bryant M. Kirkland Award for Excellence in Practical Theology. During her tenure at PTS, Jackie served as Moderator for the Association of Black Seminarians and completed a senior thesis titled: Unmasking the Mask: The Deconstruction and Death of the Strong Black Woman & Reconstruction of a Theology of Vulnerability and Authenticity.
Jackie is a native of Teaneck, New Jersey, and attended Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey where she received a BA in Africana Studies. Jackie enjoys long walks, dancing and sleeping in her spare time.
Favorite Scripture Verse – Jeremian 29:11
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
The Rev. Mike Mullin
Minister for Discipleship and Youth
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Mike is in charge of our youth ministry program. He arrived at Asbury First in August 2013. Mike is from Pittsburgh and most recently served as director of youth ministries at Countryside Community Church in Omaha, Nebraska. Mike received a B.A. in Christian Education and Music (percussion) at Westminster College in New Wilmington, PA, and has completed coursework toward his master's degree in theology at Creighton University in Omaha. He is an Eagle Scout, and loves the outdoors, having worked as a ropes course constructor, inspector, and trainer with Griffin Adventures. He loves white water kayaking, rock climbing, spelunking, and international mission trips. Mike met his wife, Nadia, in college, and in February of 2013, they welcomed their son Caleb into the world.
Favorite Scripture Verse – 2 Timothy 1:7
...for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.
MINISTRY & ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF
Children's Ministry Assistant
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Holly is excited to join the Asbury Children's Ministry staff in the Fall of 2015. She grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma and received her bachelor of music degree in vocal performance from Oklahoma City University. She has taught private voice and piano, worked in healthcare management, and been a stay-at-home mom. She is a past member of Syracuse Vocal Ensemble, Madrigalia, and the Rochester Oratorio Society, and has been an ensemble member with Syracuse Opera.
Holly and her husband, Ryan, have attended Asbury since 2013 and have one daugher, Sophia, and a son named Harper. Holly enjoys choral music, cooking, yoga and being with children. She is so thankful for the opportunity to share God's love and joy with children at Asbury First.
Favorite Scripture – 1 Peter 4:8
Above all, love each other deeply because love covers a multitude of sins.
Director, Children’s Ministry
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Paula and her family have been members of Asbury First UMC since 1991. As her family grew, so did her role in children’s ministry. In 2008, Paula assumed a leadership role and has helped grow the program to what it is today.
Paula is the mother of four children, and brings that motherly love and enthusiasm to all the children at Asbury First. Her educational background is in music therapy at Nazareth College. She is dedicated to both children and families, and hopes to provide a loving and nurturing environment to both.
Paula’s goals at Asbury First are to provide a solid Christian education, support and encouragement, and fun family fellowship for all.
Favorite Scripture – Psalm 100 v 1-6
Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth! Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy. Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him And praise his name. For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.
Church Administrator; Assistant Organist
Asbury First’s assistant organist since 1987, David took on an additional role as music administrator in 2010, and as church administrator in 2017.
David retired from the University of Rochester (UR) in 2016, after holding staff and leadership positions throughout the UR and at Cornell University. He held position as vice chair for administration in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at UR Medicine, senior associate dean for administration and finance at the Eastman School of Music, associate director for administration at UR Medicine’s Wilmot Cancer Institute, assistant director of administrative information systems in UR central administration, and associate dean for business affairs at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration. David holds a bachelor’s degree in music from Ithaca College and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Rochester. He holds a master's degree in health systems administration and organizational development from Rochester Institute of Technology. He has served as a board member and treasurer for the Westfield Center for Early Keyboard Studies, Inc. and is a member of the American Guild of Organists (AGO). David and his wife Jeanne have two daughters, Mackenzie and Jacqueline. In his spare time he likes to ski, travel, jog, cook, attend services at Saint Thomas Church in Manhattan and listen to jazz.
Favorite scripture – Colossians 2:6-7
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing in thankfulness.
Dr. William Weinert
Director of Music
William Weinert is very visible to Asbury First members on Sunday mornings, when he leads the Sanctuary Choir at the 11:00 a.m. service.
Bill received his undergraduate degree at Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, with an institute diploma in clarinet from Salzburg Mozarteum. While completing his schooling in Ohio and Wisconsin, he gained experience as music director at various churches in the regions. After graduating with his DMA (doctor of musical arts) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he began building a conducting repertoire that today includes composers from Bach to Britten, Tchaikovsky to Mozart. Since 1994, he has served at the Eastman School of Music as a professor of conducting and ensembles, director of choral activities, and director of the Eastman Summer Choral Institute. Since 1999, he has also been editor of The American Choral Review. Since early 2007, he has dedicated time to his role as music director of Voices professional vocal ensemble. Het has conducted at many venues in the United States and internationally in Hong Kong and Germany, where he has also been a visiting professor of conducting at Musikhochschule Freiburg. Bill and his wife, Marcia, have three children: John, Margaret, and Clara.
Favorite Scripture – Psalm 90:14
O satisfy us early with Thy mercy, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Duane joined the Asbury First music staff in the fall of 1996. Prior to Asbury First, he served as director of music at Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Transfiguration in Rochester. Duane earned his master of music degree as a scholarship student in organ performance from Eastman School of Music and his bachelor of music degree summa cum laude from Ohio Wesleyan University. Post-graduate studies were with David Craighead. In addition to enjoying an active church music career, Duane is tonal director for Parsons Pipe Organ Builders, Canandaigua, N.Y., where he is responsible for scaling, voicing, and tonal finishing their instruments. He is a colleague member of the American Institute of Organbuilders, where he has served as vice-president. He has also been dean and sub dean of the Rochester Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and is a member of the Organ Historical Society and the Rochester Theatre Organ Society. His compact disc titled, "Celebrate!" featured music for two trumpets and organ. Duane has also served as organist for the Rochester Oratorio Society, as well as for ensembles including Madrigalia and Concentus, accompanying concerts both locally and abroad.
Favorite Scripture – Romans 8:28
All things to work together for good to those who love the Lord, to those who are called according to His purpose.
Director, Dining and Caring Center
Michele joined the Dining Center as its Executive Director in 2009. She has more than 30 years as a social work professional and a lifelong love of helping people. Michele brings great depth and enthusiasm to her work. Before joining us, Michele served as a Social Worker at the Salvation Army, the Volunteer Coordinator for Meals on Wheels, and, in South Carolina as the Director of a crisis center.
Favorite scripture – Ephesians 4:2
Be completely humble and gentle; bearing with one another in love.
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Dick joined Asbury First as the financial administrator in February 2006. Prior to coming to Asbury First he was employed by Eastman Kodak, working in various corporate financial positions at Kodak Office. Dick majored in accounting at Penn State and received an MBA at RIT.
Dick is married to Sandy, who is the parish administrator at Reformation Lutheran Church. They have two children, Jennifer and Scott. Sandy and Dick both enjoy singing in their church choirs, the Finger Lakes Choral Festival, the Eastman-Rochester Chorus and the Rochester Oratorio Society. They are both on the board of Community Lutheran Ministry for youth on Joseph Avenue and volunteer for Camp Joy, a weeklong camp for developmentally disabled adults held at the Rotary Sunshine Campus.
Favorite Scripture – Micah 6:8b
... and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Property Care Manager
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Ken joined the Asbury First staff in March, 2015. He has filled many roles during his career, and has worked as a landscape designer, project and operations manager, and as owner of landscape design and build company. Most recently, he worked in the grounds department at Nazareth College. Ken and his wife Lori became members and were married at Asbury First in 2005 and since then have had two daughters, Anna and Lily. He has always felt that Asbury First UMC was a welcoming community where he and his family could worship and grow in faith. He looks forward to watching his daughters grow up in the church with strong friendships and a foundation of faith. When he isn't at work, Ken enjoys being outdoors, reading, and working on his own landscape. What he values the most is spending time with his family.
Favorite Scripture Verse – 1 Corinthians 16:13
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.
Director, Youth Music
Carol joined the Asbury First music staff in August, 2104. She is the director of the youth music program, which includes directing the youth bells, youth choir and musical. Prior to Asbury first, she served as the director of music at Faith UMC in Henrietta. She holds a Bachelor of Science in education with a specialization in music from SUNY Fredonia and a master's degree in interdisciplinary arts for children from SUNY Brockport.
She is a vocal music teacher in the Rush Henrietta Central School district at Roth Middle School where she conducts two choirs, teaches string lessons, keyboard classes and general music. In addition to her teaching assignments she directs the fall theatrical productions and the spring musicals. Carol and her husband, Tim, are members of Asbury First and have three children, Emily, Allie and Joe. In her spare time Carol enjoys card making, spending time at the beach, rooting for the New York Yankees and cheering on Allie and Joe in their high school sporting events.
Favorite scripture – Psalm 98:4
Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice,and sing praise.
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Melody has been a member of AFUMC since 1999, and began working here in 2001. Melody is responsible for keeping things running smoothly during the week at Asbury First. She has been married to Phil for 40 years, and has three children (Lynn, Becky, and Christopher) and four grandchildren (Matthew, Emma, Joshua, and Kate). She likes to spend time at home relaxing with her cats, Abigail and Noa, and quilting.
Favorite scripture – Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Director, Asbury Singers
Brian is director of the Asbury Singers (the resident 8:30 choir). In addition, he directs the Asbury First Men's Chorus, which offers music one Sunday each fall and spring. He holds a bachelor of music in education and vocal performance from Ithaca College and a master of music in performance and literature from Eastman School of Music. He teaches choral music at Rush-Henrietta Senior High School, where he directs three choirs and teaches an introductory piano course. He was also the tenor section leader in the AFUMC sanctuary choir for ten years, and loves working in the field of choral music. He is originally from Greece, N.Y. and has been featured soloist with many local groups including the Greece Choral Society, Irondequoit Chorale, Opera Rochester, and Rochester Opera Factory. He and his wife Melissa are proud members of Asbury First, and are raising their son Charlie in the church.
Favorite scripture – Psalm 138:1
I will give thee thanks with my whole heart: Before the gods will I sing praises unto thee.
Director of Development and Communications
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Morgan joined Asbury First as development directorin December of 2015. Before joining Asbury First, Morgan worked as a fundraising consultant, advising capital campaigns for private K-12 schools. She also has taught management and human resources at a local community college. Morgan's development background began at Roberts Wesleyan College, where she served as director of the Roberts Annual Fund in 2012-2014. In her time there, she led initiatives of rebranding, strategizing, and launching a new approach to annual giving at Roberts in the midst of a capital campaign.
Morgan received her MS in strategic leadership and her BA in psychology from Roberts Wesleyan College. While originally from Florida, she now calls Rochester home, with her husband Glen and their daughter Normandy. During her spare time, you can find her reading, running, or drinking coffee. However, she's most happy when she's around a table, full of good food, with the people she loves.
Favorite Scripture – Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see.
Director, Bell Choirs; Co-director, Youth Music
Elizabeth grew up in a family that celebrated life's moments through music. She joined Asbury First in 1968 when her family moved to Rochester from the Midwest. A member of the youth handbell choir in the '70s, she traveled to Poland and New England with them to perform. After receiving her bachelor of music degree from DePauw University, she became director of the youth handbell choir for seven years. She has sung with the sanctuary choir and is a member of the Asbury Singers. In her role as director of the Asbury Ringers, she works closely with the music staff to choose musical offerings for worship services, as well as planning and conducting weekly rehearsals. She and her husband Rick have two children, Mary and Johnny—all of whom are active members of Asbury First.
Favorite Scripture: Micah 6:8
"And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?"
Laurie Kennedy is a career music educator and musician. She holds a bachelor's degree in cello performance from the University of Southern Mississippi and a master's degree in music education from the University of Michigan. She teaches elementary music/orchestra in the Penfield Schools, and is also the principal cellist in the Penfield Symphony Orchestra. She and her husband Dave met in an Asbury First new members class and have had the joy of raising their family in the church.
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Jamie Least is a communications specialist and copywriter. She holds a bachelor's degree in advertising and public relations from Rochester Insitute of Technology and oversees and implements the strategic communications produced by Asbury First, including The Visitor, the weekly bulletin, and more.
Favorite Scripture – Philippians 4:4-9
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Administrative Assistant to the Senior Pastor
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Deb has been a member of AFUMC since 2001 and has enjoyed playing handbells with the Asbury Ringers for many years. Before coming to Asbury First, Deb worked as an IT consultant and trainer, and as general manager for two small companies. She grew up in Newark, NY, but has lived in the South Wedge neighborhood in Rochester for over 20 years with her spouse, Melissa. In her spare time, Deb enjoys walking, knitting, sewing, quilting, and spending time with family.
Favorite Scripture – 1 Corinthians 13:13
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.