A church is more than the building, and the members of Asbury First are proving this time and again. We aim to keep connected with an e-newsletter that will highlight the unique stories of our amazing community. Each week, we will share some of the incredible ways we are Better Together while being apart.
Wednesdays, 6:15 pm, Zoom, zoom.us/j/8347173468
Please click the image to download the guide to the service, or click here.
Sundays, 12 pm, Zoom, zoom.us/j/8347173468
It has been wonderful seeing the thousands of people who are able to tune in to our live stream on Sunday mornings; but one thing we have missed is the fellowship hour—and I’m not just talking about the cookies and coffee. We have missed interacting with folks as we come and go from our various classes and services. In an effort to once again bring some of us around a table, we invite you on Sundays to our virtual Fellowship (Half) Hour. From 12–12:30 pm, you may log on to Zoom and we will randomly place you in groups of about six people. You may know these individuals and you may not. You are encouraged to spend the time together to get to know one another, and to share what is going on in your lives. What are you doing to pass the time and make the most of this new socially distant reality? What are some ideas you have for additional ways that we might come together? You can join us as an individual or as a family (pets included) as we continue to find new ways to be better together while being physically apart.
While Holy Week might look and feel differently this year, it will still be holy. We invite you to join us (virtually) for the following livestream worship experiences:
April 9, 7pm
Communion at a Distance
In this simple and brief service, we invite you to gather around a table in your home, to turn on the live stream, and to share an experience of communion from afar. If you have bread and juice (or wine) please use them. If not, please use anything that reminds you of God’s grace.
April 10, 12pm
Envisioning the Passion
Please join us for a service that remembers the passion of Christ through art, scripture, and music.
April 12, 11am
This Easter, the sanctuary will be as empty as the tomb, and Christ will be just as alive. Please join us as we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and the promise of new life.
For a schedule and class/meeting descriptions, visit our Events Calendar.
Main discipleship meetings:
Bicentennial Bible Challenge meetings:
When you open the link, you should get some pop-ups asking questions like:
- Do you want to open and run the program Zoom?
- Do you want to connect with your computer audio?
- Do you want to connect with your computer video?
Click yes to any and all of these prompts. Once you have clicked through these prompts, you should be able to see yourself on your computer screen, and you should be able to see the rest of the group that are also logged on.
If any group would like to utilize our discipleship Zoom account to take their meetings online, please contact
March 30 Update
Asbury First is taking the following steps to ensure the safety and well being of both our members and the greater Rochester community:
- SUNDAY WORSHIP: We will hold the 11 am service only and request that you stay home to watch via the live stream or tune into the radio WYSL 1040 AM or 92.1 FM. For more information about how to access the live stream and the bulletin for Sunday, please click here. For help troubleshooting live stream problems, click here.
- CLASSES AND MEETINGS MOVING ONLINE: Until further notice, we are canceling all other meetings and events on our campus. We are now offering online meetings via Zoom for Sunday school, children's and youth ministries, discipleship classes and meetings, and the Bicentennial Bible Challenge. For a schedule, including links, please click here. Click here for instructions on how to join. The office staff is working from home, and we will not be adhereing to regular office hours. Please know that we will be monitoring our messages.
- SUSTAINING OUTREACH: Our Dining and Caring Center has moved to boxed meals only and has been continuing to serve daily with a skeleton crew of two or three intrepid volunteers. For a schedule, click here. All other outreach has been suspended.
March 19 Update
- LIVE-STREAM ONLY WORSHIP: Beginning this Sunday, March 22, we will have only one live-streamed service at 11 am. You can also tune into the radio at WYSL 1040 AM or 92.1 FM. For the health and well-being of the entire community, no one other than the worship staff will be physically present. The livestream can be accessed via our website at asburyfirst.org which will also have the bulletin (with hymns) available. To learn how to watch the livestream on your television, please click here. Last week, we had over 960 unique devices watching the livestream (that's estimated to be around 2000 people)! Feel free to share the opportunity to maintain a worship connection with your loved ones. If you're out there watching, check in through the website or take a picture and post it on social media using #asburyfirstathome.
- CAMPUS EVENTS: Until further notice, all on-campus meetings and events are cancelled. We have already started having a few virtual gatherings and they have gone well. In the coming weeks, we will look for ways to expand these offerings.
- OFFICE: Until further notice, the church office will be closed. Most staff will be working from home and will be regularly checking their voicemail and email. As some staff will have to remain on campus for certain vital functions, we respectfully ask that members honor the "social distancing" guidelines outlined by the CDC.
- OUTREACH: Our Dining and Caring Center has moved to boxed meals only and has been continuing to serve daily with a skeleton crew of two or three intrepid volunteers. All other outreach has been suspended.
- CARE: Many have been asking how they can help to spread a little love in this time. We need your help to check in with members of the congregation via phone, email, text, social media, or written note. Please let us know when you hear of other things that we could be doing and we will keep you posted in the coming weeks on other efforts under way.
March 16 Update
SUNDAY WORSHIP: We will hold the 11 am service only and request that you stay home to watch via the live stream or tune into the radio WYSL 1040 AM or 92.1 FM. For more information about how to access the live stream and the bulletin for Sunday, please click here.
CHURCH OFFICE: The office staff is being encouraged to work from home, and we will not be adhereing to regular office hours. Please know that we will be monitoring our messages.
- The Storehouse is open this week for curent appointments only. It will be closed after this week until the mandates for social distancing are lifted.
- The Dining and Caring Center will be open with some modifications until further notice. We will serve breakfast bags from 7–9 am, and lunch bags on Wednesday from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm. Guests will be ushered out as soon as they receive their food bags and beverage cups. We are suspending hair care, showers, and laundry until further notice, and will not be open on Saturday. Our next Sunday meal will be bag lunches from 12–1:30 pm.
- The the UR Well Clinic has been suspended due to the University of Rochester closure.
March 13 Update
We never know what a day is going to bring, as the last 24-hours have confirmed. We have been closely monitoring the latest developments regarding the spread of the COVID-19 virus in our area. At a press conference this morning, the Monroe County Public Health Commissioner, Dr. Michael Mendoza strongly advised all organizations to consider suspending gatherings of more than 50 people.
To that end, Asbury First is taking the following steps to ensure the safety and well being of both our members and the greater Rochester community:
- CHANGING SUNDAY WORSHIP: This Sunday, we will hold only one service at 11 am and recommend that people stay home to watch it on the live stream or listen via the radio. To be clear, we will still hold worship and will not turn anyone away, but we are encouraging our community to remain home for it, especially if you are unwell. For more information about how to access the live stream and the bulletin for Sunday, please click here.
- CANCELING OTHER EVENTS: Until further notice, we are canceling all other meetings and events on our campus, including Sunday school, youth groups, and mid-week gatherings.
- SUSTAINING OUTREACH: While the UR Well Clinic has been suspended due to the University of Rochester closure, we are working with the Storehouse and Dining and Caring Center teams to figure out how to safely keep these vital on-campus ministries open during this outbreak.
- ENHANCING OUR CLEANING PROTOCOLS: Our intrepid property care team has increased and improved their regular cleaning protocols, paying special attention to high-traffic and high-touch areas.
We continue to hold in our prayers all of those who have been affected by this outbreak. We will continue to closely monitor this situation and consider how we as a church and as disciples of Jesus Christ might continue to love, live, and serve in the midst of it.
Grace and Peace,
The Mother Cabrini Health Foundation announced last week that the forthcoming Outreach Center at Asbury First United Methodist Church is a recipient of its first round of grants in support of the health and well-being of vulnerable New Yorkers across the state.
For over 50 years, Asbury First has offered warm meals, clothing, household supplies, laundry facilities, medical care, and showers to those in need. In 2019 alone, they served over 38,000 meals, clothed over 6,000 unique families, and offered free medical care to hundreds around the region. To date, this important work has been done in largely inaccessible spaces, spread across its three-building campus. As the demand grows, and more guests need more services, Asbury First has plans to integrate their services by converting one of their historic buildings into a fully accessible and expansive Outreach Center.
After evaluating their programs, Asbury First discovered that their current design and structure creates a barrier for many guests. Too often, they end up having to choose between food, clothing, or health care when their needs often encompass all three. This is not unique to Asbury First. The Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative (RMAPI) has named access to basic needs as one of its core foci and suggested the need for integrated services. This new Outreach Center will mark a shift in Asbury First’s focus to a more holistic approach to caring for the needs of its guests. By centralizing their services into one dedicated, accessible, and beautiful space, they hope to remove barriers for guests.
Most of the funding for this Outreach Center has come from the congregation itself. To help close the final funding gap, Asbury First has reached out to local foundations and interested individuals to help raise the rest of the money. “While we are not quite there yet, this grant from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation brings us another step closer to making this Outreach Center a reality,” says the Rev. Dr. Stephen Cady. With this grant, the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation joins commitments from the Davenport-Hatch Foundation, the August Family Foundation, and the Willmott Foundation, among others.
Asbury First hopes to break ground on their new Outreach Center during its Bicentennial celebration on September 20, 2020.
To learn more about the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation, click here.
Saturday, March 28, 10 am–12 pm
Sunday Streams transitioning to BoxCast as of March 1
If you can't make it to church, you can watch the 11 am (or 10 am in the summer) service live here, or watch past services here. On Sunday, March 1, Asbury First will be transitioning from Sunday Streams to a new live streaming service: BoxCast.
- What’s changing? If you access live streams via the church website, nothing! You’ll still navigate to the same webpage here.
- What if I watch with a Roku, Amazon Fire TV stick, or Apple TV? Simply add the BoxCast app/channel to the account/device. Then, within the app, search for "Asbury". The live stream (if available) and the video archives (limited to just a few for now) are all available within the Asbury First BoxCast channel.
- Chromecast? Same as with Sunday Streams: click here and press start to begin streaming, then tap the Chromecast and choose your cast device.
To follow along with the bulletin online, click here.
For help troubleshooting live stream problems, click here.
Wednesdays, starting March 4, 6 pm, 1040 Wesley Hall
Please join us during the month of March, Wednesday evenings from 6-7 pm. March is International Women’s Month, and we will begin a series of storytelling where we will hear from several women their story of becoming Faithful, Resilient, Empathetic, and Empowered—FREE. Mark your calendars!
Courage to Become is a new initiative at Asbury First seeking to support and empower women in their faith journeys. Our first programming in this initiative is a Wednesday night series beginning on March 4, which will feature women who will share their own becoming with time for personal reflection.
March 4: Janet Lomax — Journalist in Residence with the Division of Diversity and Inclusion at RIT
March 11: Jennifer Johnson — A recent news broadcaster and now the Director of Patient Advocacy at Golisano Children’s Hospital
March 18: Rev. Myra Brown — An American Catholic Priest at Spiritus Christi Church
March 26: Brianna Johnston & Sharron Emmons — Married in 2015, both are long-time, active members of Metropolitan Community Church of Hartford, a church founded in the LGBT+ community