An inclusive, Christ-centered community making a difference.


The campaign projects are well under way in our sanctuary building (1040). It is really exciting to see, and since you can't go see it just yet, we figured we'd start bringing it to you! Here is the first update from our new series, where you will see first hand the construction, the progress, and hear the stories about what's happening below the sanctuary. This is all happening because of your giving. Thank you!

Check out our first video! Today, our tour guide is Chuck Hanrahan, Chair of the Building Committee. Enjoy footage of the boiler room and the former bell room in the lower level of 1040.

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DCC ArtAuction
OutreachSunday Sq 300pxWe are starting a new series at Asbury First called Outreach Sunday. One Sunday a month, we will highlight a specific outreach ministry, sharing the stories, presenting current needs and challenges, and bringing all of Asbury First together in celebration of our work to Do More Good throughout our community. 
Our first Outreach Sunday will feature the Dining and Caring Center (D&CC). This outreach ministry has been a part of Asbury First for over 25 years, located in the lower level of 1010 East Ave (the location of our future Outreach Center). The Dining and Caring Center offers a hot meal to anyone in need, along with care items such as laundry facilities, haircuts, showers, toiletries, etc. This Sunday, you will get to hear more about the stories of the D&CC, celebrating the good work done there every day.

On Sunday, September 22, we will be hosting an Art Silent Auction (see a few examples above) to benefit the Dining and Caring Center's budget. The art was donated by the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester, and we are grateful to be able to fundraise in this way for the D&CC. The art will be displayed throughout the Welcome Hall and Gathering Center, and anonymous bidding will take place in the Welcome Hall. 100% of every dollar raised will go to the D&CC's budget. 

Thank you to the Outreach Committee for bringing leadership to our new Outreach Sunday series. Thank you to the Dining and Caring Center for sharing their stories. And thank you to all of Asbury First—we are truly better together.

MelodyMastersBB 2019 FacebookEvent 600pxAdd sparkle, warmth, and coziness to your life with the “Time for Lovin’” concert by the Melody Masters Big Band on September 26 at 7 pm, in the Sanctuary. Classic selections that reflect themes of love, travel, and nature including the night, moonlight, and stars will be performed. Music director Dr. Marcia Bornhurst Parkes will illustrate how musicians naturally foster strong relationships as they listen and respond to each other. A suggested $10 free-will offering will support Asbury First outreach ministries. A reception will follow the two-set concert.

The Melody Masters Big Band brings it on home with heart through fresh arrangements of classic big band standards. This 17-piece band honors the legends of Basie, Dorsey, Ellington, Miller, Sinatra, and many others with performances for schools, music festivals, community events, benefits, and business and social occasions throughout the greater Rochester, NY region.  Key concerts in the 2019 season included the Jazz90.1 on-air radio broadcast, the Honor Flight Welcome Home for area veterans at the Rochester Airport, and “Lovin’ Education”, the band’s benefit concert. Concert proceeds were used to support music instruction for needy Rochester City School children.

Dr. Marcia Bornhurst Parkes creates a bond with audiences through inspiring repertoire and meaningful commentary. While leading the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth Music Department she directed the University Jazz Ensemble, and while chair of the Eastman School of Music New Horizons Program she directed the New Horizons Big Band in the Rochester International Jazz Festival with performances in 2008, 2009, and 2010. Through Insightful Music Leadership, Parkes supports the professional music community through guest conducting, consulting, and in-service workshops. She gives presentations on leadership, engagement, musicianship, and performance anxiety for national, state, and regional professional music associations and for small to medium-size businesses.

Just as the Christian faith is about bringing life to the world, Asbury First is about bringing life to this community. We believe the way to the fullness of life promised by Jesus Christ is through love. Through love we find life. In a love-filled life, we are led to serve others. Through service to others, we find love fully expressed. This cycle is the heart of discipleship and as such, we believe it is the key to living into God’s dream for this community. Our mission at Asbury First is to love God and neighbor, to live fully, to serve all, and then to do it all again. Jesus said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10). Asbury First is a warm, open faith community of 2,300 people in the city of Rochester, NY that extends hospitality and encourages full participation for all, regardless of age, race, national origin, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, marital status or family structure, education or economic background and physical or mental ability. We do not seek to erase our differences, but to journey together in faith toward greater understanding and mutual respect. 

For more information, please contact the church office at (585) 272-1050.

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UPDATE: Emmanuel College Chapel Choir concert moved to Third Presbyterian Church

Friday's performance by the Emmanuel Chapel College Choir from Cambridge, UK has been MOVED to Third Presbyterian Church, which is located at the corner of East Avenue and Meigs Street, just a few blocks from Asbury First. Since Asbury First is still sponsoring the event, we sincerely hope that many of our members will make an effort to attend and support it. The concert is scheduled to begin at 7:30 pm—we will delay the start slightly to allow for those who arrive at Asbury First and need to be redirected. Thanks to everyone for their understanding and flexibility!
Grace and peace,
The Asbury First Staff and Leadership

BeStillHere is a friendly reminder to take a break from whatever is stressing you out this week. Read through this wonderful devotional that is in our new issue of the Visitor by our Minister for Congregational Care, the Rev. Kathy Thiel. Learn from Jesus’ example on how to deal with the world when overwhelmed. You can download a printable version here.

Also, check out the rest of the Visitor online here:

EmmanuelCCC CoverFriday, September 13, 7:30 pm, Sanctuary

We are proud to host the Emmanuel College Chapel Choir from Cambridge University. The Choir is comprised of about eighteen singers, and has a large repertoire of sacred and secular music: their principal function is to sing one Communion service and one service of Evensong each week—though they also entertain at dinners and undertake various external engagements. Besides these regular commitments in the College, the Choir has a very active profile, both across England and abroad. Over the past year, residencies have included Southwark Cathedral (in London) and St. George’s Chapel (Windsor Castle). The Choir toured in Barcelona in the summer of 2018, and in Poland in 2017; and the Choir will tour in the United States in 2019. Concert engagements in Michaelmas 2018 include Verdi Requiem (with another choir) at the Hampstead Arts Festival (outside of London), and future plans include the first British performance of Stölzel’s Passion.

Saturday, September 28, 9:30 am–3 pm, 1 Favor Street, Rochester, NY 14608

Check out this incredible seminar that Asbury First is excited to be co-sponsoring. For the last 40 years, Focused Community Strategies has been partnering with communities experiencing poverty. The Reimagine Charity Seminar is a distillation of the 40 years of on-the-ground, hard-won wisdom. This seminar is for you if you have a desire to reimagine charity in ways that will lead to real and lasting change. This training event is designed for groups who are passionately engaged in loving and serving those experiencing poverty but, at the same time, know that a better way has to be possible. For more information contact Bob Castle at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. To register for the seminar, sign up here.



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We made the Upper New York Conference of the United Methodist Church Weekly Digest with coverage of our Hug Relay!!
Read all about it here:

Thank you, Shannon, for coming out to cover our event!

HugRelay Recap NewsThere are moments when this world feels hopeless. With each horrific headline, with every juvenile expression of political factionalism, it can feel like the division in our world is inevitable. Then comes a moment like last night.
We may not have set the world record for the longest hug relay, but despite the rain, despite the division, despite the inertia of isolation, we brought hundreds of people together to share a moment of genuine connection. I will never forget the laughter, the visceral sense of fun, or the authentic affection people shared with each hug. The gospel of Jesus Christ is grounded in the promise that when we love our neighbor as ourselves we find life-not at death, but right now. Last night, one hug at a time, we preached that sermon to this entire community.
These events can seem rather silly at first glance, but we live in a world with people dying for human connection. The good news is that we have it to offer and last night we did. We gave hundreds of people in this community (over 600 at last count) a story to tell and a chance to rehearse a better way of life. Some may never darken our doors on a Sunday morning and some might. Either way, we gave people a glimpse of what true community looks like. In short, we reminded people that there is always hope.
Thank you to all of the participants, the volunteers, the staff, the planning team, and sponsors who helped make this world better last night, one hug at a time.
Grace and Peace,


Check out what people are saying:

AsburyFirst HugRelay SocialPostWe are getting excited about the Hug Relay! We have so many wonderful groups from around the community joining in to spread the love One Hug at a Time. Check out all our sponsors here.

But, we need your help to spread the word! Please download this flyer to let others know about this incredible event.

Also, if you have a social media account, please share this image and the following quick blurb:

Join us and our partners at Asbury First UMC to break the world record for longest Hug Relay on August 8th! Everyone is invited and welcome—we're looking for 1300 people in order to break the world record! Come, stand in line, get a hug and give a hug, and enjoy music, food, and fun along the way. Please register online at #rocthehug

Don't forget the hashtags! #rocthehug #asburyfirstumc 

Thank you to all who have pledged to participate in this fun-filled event!