- Hot chocolate packets
- 10-ounce to-go cups
- Men’s winter gloves
- Hand or body lotion
- Sleeping bags
- Granola bars
- Toilet paper
- Cans of fruit
- Monetary donations
- Canned tuna
- Peanut butter (creamy)
- Jelly (strawberry, grape)
- Soups (tomato, chicken noodle, typically Campbells or store brand)
- Canned vegetables (corn, green beans, mixed)
- Canned fruit (peaches, mixed), smaller (<16 oz) cans ideally
- Boxes of mac-and-cheese
- Socks for babies and young children (up to size 5)
- New men’s underwear
- Clean, gently used winter jackets (men, women, and children)
- Clean, gently used blankets
- Gift cards to Walmart or Target in any amount
Sunday, October 11
We at Asbury First are truly blessed to have such amazing shepherds guiding us during a very difficult time. This October 11 is national Pastor Appreciation Sunday. Please take a moment to click here and add a greeting for our pastor's on our Kudoboard to thank them for all they do!
Saturday, October 17, 7 pm
- STAY INFORMED: As details are constantly changing, we are creating a special Racial Justice page here with links to some of the organizations and community-led anti-racist efforts. While we recognize the list will not be exhaustive, our hope is to regularly update it with resources so that we can all stay informed and connected.
- SHOW UP: Whether virtually or in person, we encourage you to attend a peaceful protest, a town hall meeting, or one of the many interfaith prayer vigils. If you choose to attend in person, please use a face mask and do your best to maintain social distancing.
- STEP UP: Resist the temptation to tune this moment out. Nothing changes if nothing changes. This is a moment to listen, to engage in hard conversations, and to spend some honest time reflecting on our own behaviors and attitudes as it relates to race. As we get into the fall, we will be looking for ways that Asbury First can support formal conversations about racial justice. Look for more details soon.
- READ UP: There are many fantastic books that can help us better understand this moment. In particular, we encourage you to read books by people of color that can help us all gain a new perspective.
- DONATE: We have created a specially designated fund called the Racial Justice Advocacy Fund to which any may contribute. These funds will be distributed to local organizations and community efforts that are committed to ending racism in Rochester. The use of this fund will be determined by the Racial Justice Advocacy Team in consultation with pastoral leadership. Click here to donate.
Like so many of you, I watched the video released yesterday of Daniel Prude's fatal mental health arrest in horror. Eerily similar to the other videos we have come to know so well over the last few months, this murder was different in one important way — it happened here. In Rochester. In the very same city where we live and breathe and worship.
In other words, this happened in our neighborhood.
To be clear, the lives of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, and the countless other human beings whose names we do not know, do not matter any less because they were not from this city. All Black Lives Matter. Yet, right or wrong, we feel this one more acutely. After all, we recognize that street. We've been there. We've driven by. Some of us have even stopped.
This happened in our neighborhood.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is fundamentally the call to love our neighbor as ourselves. When George Floyd's neck was kneeled upon for 8 minutes and 46 seconds by a police officer in Minneapolis, or Breonna Taylor awoke to police breaking down her door in Louisville, or Jacob Blake was shot in the back seven times by an officer in front of his three-, five-, and eight-year-old sons in Kenosha, we may have been able to convince ourselves that they were too far away to really be our neighbors.
This happened in our neighborhood.
So, how will we love our neighbors in this moment? Like so many of you, my first impulse is to do something. I also know that what we do matters, lest we cause more harm. Over the next few days and weeks, we will be listening as new details emerge and seeking ways that we, as a community of faith, can participate in the reforms that are so desperately needed. We are fortunate that the Racial Justice Advocacy group has already been formed and they have committed to putting concrete steps to support anti-racist policies in front of our congregation in the weeks ahead.
As individuals of faith, one of the places we can begin is with ourselves. If you have been avoiding having these conversations or putting off educating yourself on the realities of racism, this is yet another opportunity for engagement. As was our stated commitment earlier this summer, the staff both individually and together have been reading, discussing, and engaging in the difficult process of confronting our own racism and working on the daily task of becoming anti-racists. We invite you to join us.
Finally, because this happened in our neighborhood, you will likely be in more conversations about this murder than the others of this summer.Look for those moments when — in the face of fear, misinformation, or racism — you can personally offer a word of truth, love, or grace. Perhaps the most powerful tool we have to affect change is our own voice. Let us each commit to using it.
This happened in our neighborhood. By God's grace and through our love, let us work to make sure it never happens again.
Grace and Peace,
"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." — Hebrews 11:1
A few weeks ago, the Asbury First Re-Opening Task Force released our "Stages of Re-Opening" plan. Since the beginning of July, we have been operating at Stage Two. With approved safety protocols in place, some of our long-term building occupants have returned to campus, our outreach programs have begun to re-open in modified forms, and the church staff has been welcomed back into the office building at less than 50% capacity. While much of this work is on-going (not all of our outreach programs have re-opened nor have all of our campus occupants returned), we believe we are ready for the next stage.
Stage Three will allow limited small groups to begin to meet on campus with safety protocols in place and upon specific approval by both the Re-Opening Task Force and that group's staff liaison. Outside groups are not yet allowed. Our strong recommendation is that groups continue to meet virtually. However, those groups that are ready to meet on-campus will be asked to put together a safety plan that includes, among other things, plans for social distancing, mask-wearing, and a strategy to include those who are not yet ready or able to meet in person.
Every individual will be asked to abide by a Covenant of Risk (forthcoming) that outlines personal responsibilities as well as commitments from Asbury First. Groups wanting to meet should be flexible in meeting time and location as we attempt to limit overlap and areas of potential contamination on campus. If your group is interested in meeting in-person, the first step is to contact your staff liaison.
As we have said from the beginning, our first priority is the health and safety of the entire congregation. This has been a hard time for so many, but we are finding our way together toward who God is calling us to be. I have been so proud of the ways in which Asbury First has continued to live out its mission and vision as a congregation during this strange moment.
We are all looking with hope toward that day when we can gather again fully for worship and fellowship. Until that day, let us continue to walk alongside one another in prayer, in support, and in love.
Grace and Peace,