An inclusive, Christ-centered community making a difference.


AsburyFirst VigilofSupportandAffirmation

During the Special Session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church, we will be holding a Vigil Service of Support and Affirmation for the LGBTQ+ community, to include family and friends. Recognizing the anxiety and the potential for pain resulting from the Special Session, we want to pray for the delegates and affirm the love of God in Christ for all persons. This Vigil Service will be held Sunday, February 24th at 2 pm in the Sanctuary. For any questions and for more information, please contact Rev. Kathy Thiel at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Rev. Jackie Nelson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Also, take time to listen to this video of lay delegate to the Special Session of General Conference (and long-time member of Asbury First and former ministry intern), Ian Urriola's vlog, where he shares his prayer asking the Holy Spirit for guidance.

Sundays 12-1 pm, February 17, 24, and March 3 in the Fellowship Hall.

The United Methodist Church gathers as a worldwide denomination once every four years to make decisions about what we believe and how we govern ourselves. At the 2016 General Conference, the Bishops suggested that a Special Session of General Conference be held to focus solely on the topic of human sexuality. This Special Session of General Conference is scheduled for February 23-26 in St. Louis, MO. We will have three Sunday morning Town Hall-style meetings February 17, 24, and March 3. The first meeting will focus on the propositions put forth to the conference; the second will highlight what has transpired thus far, and the third will recap the conversations and decisions of the conference. Questions? Contact Rev. Mike Mullin at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

*If you missed our town hall meeting yesterday, February 17, about the upcoming Special Session of General Conference of The United Methodist Church, see these documents which outline the main proposals. 

Chart of Explanation

General Conference 2019 Plan Comparison


On Monday, January 21, Rev. Dr. Cady was honored to be the keynote speaker at MLK Day 2019, hosted by the Greater Rochester Martin Luther King Jr. Commission at Kodak Hall at the Eastman Theater. Calling on Dr. King's legacy, Rev. Dr. Cady spoke of the need to "Walk in the Light," and that "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” You can listen to the full sermon here or on our Worship Archive. For more coverage of the event, see the links below:

Democrat & Chronicle: Rochester's favorite MLK quotes from 6 people you may know

WXXI News: Rochester celebrates legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Spectrum News: Rochester celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy


Due to the snow on January 20, we have postponed our Annual Church Conference.

Join us on Sunday, February 3 after the 11 am service. We will discuss the budget, the nominations report, the progress of the Better Together campaign, and much more. If you are not able to join us in person, please watch the live stream at beginning shortly after 12 pm. Please note, as per the vote taken at last year's Church Conference, we will only have limited physical copies of these reports available.


Please find the appropriate information below:

Minutes from 2018 Annual Church Conference

2018 Annual Report

2019 Nominations

Advent season begins December 2 and an Advent devotional is available for you as you prepare for Jesus' Coming. Each day of Advent, you will find a personal devotion written by members of our community. 

Chris Wilson Flyer Cards Final for web 3For a family event to start the holiday season, come to Asbury First for Chris Wilson: An Advent Concert, at 7 pm on Saturday, November 24. The vocalist and acoustic guitar player will present a heartwarming and inspirational program of spiritual and Christmas music in the sanctuary.

The concert will raise money for the Dining and Caring Center, which provides more than 35,000 meals a year.

Tickets are $20 each and are available at the door, in the church office, or in the Welcome Hall. Your attendance will help Asbury First continue to feed those in need!

Storehouse Christmas Craft Sale 2018 PosterThe annual Storehouse Christmas Treasures Sale (formerly the Christmas Craft Sale) will take place this year on Saturday and Sunday, December 1 and 2. Visit the many fine craftspeople and artisans for a wonderful variety of one-of-a-kind gifts and treasures! Items include fine art, jewelry, photographic cards and prints, pottery, Christmas ornaments, and much more!

Hours are:
Saturday, December 1
10 am–4 pm 

Sunday, December 2
9 am–2 pm.

Get some Christmas shopping done while benefiting the important work of the Storehouse!

For more information about the Storehouse, click here!

gatheringbwThe Gathering: From October 15-18, 2018, Asbury First hosted “The Gathering,” an informal assembly of United Methodist ministers from large congregations and historic pulpits for fellowship and connection. Though the faces have changed, the group has been meeting together for over 40 years and has been the genesis of lifelong friendships and faithful support. Each year, The Gathering moves between host churches and, this year, Asbury First is honored to host ten ministers from around the denomination. It is the first time in many years that the group met north of the Mason Dixon line. That’s why Asbury First’s Dr. Rev. Stephen Cady (pictured center) gave a welcoming homily to introduce these ministers to Rochester—and speak about the winds of change that are coming within our denomination...and all of Christianity. Read the homily below.

Homily: Something New

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.

Friends, welcome to Rochester. The flower city. On the shore of Lake Ontario and the Genesee River. A stop on the Erie Canal.

That’s right, you’ve come to upstate—to western NY, what was known 200 years ago as the burned over district, a name given by Charles Finney after decades of revivals and camp meetings meant that there seemed to be no one left to convert, the fuel had already been burned over. Let’s just say, that’s not our problem today.

It’s the land where Frederick Douglass published his North Star, where Harriet Tubman called home, where Susan B Anthony asserted her right to vote, where Elizabeth Cady Stanton gathered a group in a little Methodist hall to hold the first Women’s conference.

It’s the land where Joseph Smith had his vision that launched the Mormon movement and where William Miller unsuccessfully predicted the second coming leading to both the great disappointment and the advent of the Adventist movement.

This is the town where Walter Rauschenbusch, Howard Thurman, and Marjorie Matthews went to seminary.

It’s the birthplace of Bausch and Lomb, the Xerox corporation, and the garbage plate.

It’s the hometown of Wegmans grocers, a grocery chain so beloved by locals that they know where every store exists outside of this region and have been known make holy pilgrimage to pay homage.

But all of that aside, the thing Rochester is perhaps known best for, the thing that over the last hundred years has been both the cause of our greatest pride and, at times, the source of our deepest shame, is, of course, Kodak.

This was the place, after all, that launched the snapshot camera. “You press the button, we do the rest.”

Where George Eastman figured out the formula for getting a camera into the hands of the world and the process for producing the moments they captured.

Kodak was at one time one of the most powerful and profitable companies in the world.

Fifty years ago, at the height of its success, Eastman Kodak, headquartered a couple miles from where we now sit, employed close to 130,000 people worldwide with over 70k here in Rochester.

They existed to help people capture those moments of life worth sharing, those Kodak moments, and their tag line was simple, “share memories, share life.”

But as sometimes happens to those of us called to help others share life, Kodak got used to sharing it one way...and the world changed around them.

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.”

Today Kodak employs 6,000 people and is a shell of its former self—a casualty, some would say, of the digital revolution.

The irony, of course, is that in some ways they started the digital revolution. They were, after all, the ones who in 1975 had the first prototype of a digital big as a toaster, it took 20 seconds to take an image and had to be hooked up through a complicated series of connections to a television in order to view the grainy image, but it had potential.

Only they were a film company...and it meant a change. And as the now infamous story goes, the executive who first saw the camera was reported to say, “That’s cute, but don’t tell anyone about it.”

If we’re honest, we know what this is like.

After all, there are moments when we can see the new heaven and new earth coming, but aren’t quite sure whether to embrace it or run the other way...used to the way it’s always been.

Perhaps this is one of those moments for the people called United Methodist. Or maybe at this point, it’s better to just say, Methodist.

As we anxiously await the results of February’s Special General Conference, we wonder as we wander toward that new thing in front of us, unsure what it will fully look like.

What we do know, of course, is that, for better or worse, regardless of what happens, we as a people called Methodist will not be the same after that Conference as we are now.

“Some will win, some will lose, some were born to sing the blues.”

And yet, here we are, gathered again, from churches across the connection, each with different histories, stances, hopes and dreams for what comes next.

Here we are, committed, as this group has for over forty years, to walk alongside one another for a couple days on the journey of ministry and to remind each other of that which never changes—The grace of God made known in Jesus Christ and the call we have to share life—in any way we can.

Which means, of course, that while we might not know what that new heaven and new earth will look like—at least we know we won’t have to face it alone.

And who knows, maybe 50 or 100 or 200 years from now, someone will stand in a space like this rehearsing the most important moments in Western NY history, in the history of the people called Methodist, and will celebrate this Gathering on the eve of change in the denomination as that brave group who faced the unknown in the only way they knew how...together.

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.”


micah headshot brokenbanjo 013 2 custom 5c6614683b11ab3b2f808e3ffd49cac267cf563c s800 c85Micah White, PhD, of Occupy Wall Street, at Asbury First on October 2 at 7 pm

Micah White is the lifelong activist who co-created Occupy Wall Street, a global social movement that spread to 82 countries, while an editor of "Adbusters" magazine. He has a 20-year record of innovative activism, including conceiving the debt forgiveness tactic used b the Rolling Jubilee and RIP Medical Debt, popularizing the critique of clicktivism and identifying the emerging trend of "social movement warfare."

Widely recognized as a pioneer of social movement creation, White has been profiled by NPR's "Morning Edition," "The New Yorker," and "The Guardian." In recognition of his contributions, "Esquire" has named him one of the most influential young thinkers alive today. Micah has received numerous awards, including the Roddenberry Fellowship and a Voqal Fellowship to create the Activist Graduate School He was also named the National Endowment for the Humanities/Hannah Arendt Center Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Bard College where he is co-teaching a seminar on social activism.

This event is free and open to the public! Join us at 1040 East Avenue in the Gathering Center of Asbury First United Methodist Church at 7 pm.

This event is part of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School's Fall Lecture Week. For more information, please visit