An inclusive, Christ-centered community making a difference.

News

Next Sunday, the Rochester Regional Health Flower City Half Marathon will be taking place and will cause some road closures that may have an impact on getting to our services. The race begins at 7:30 am on the Broad Street Bridge in downtown Rochester, with the course closing at 11 am.

The following traffic advisories will be in effect the morning of Sunday, April 28, 2019:

Blue Cross Arena Area (4:30 am - 12:30 pm): Broad Street Bridge between Exchange & South closed. Exchange Blvd between Broad & Court closed.

Zone 1 & 2 (7:15 am to 9:00 am): Broad St Bridge to the impacted streets on W. Main, Madison, Brown, Morrie Silver Way, Plymouth Ave Northbound from Allen St to Brown St., State St. to E. Main to East Ave to Right on Brunswick to Park Ave to Goodman.

Zone 3 (8:00 am to 10:00 am): Goodman from Park to Pinetum. No Exiting Off I-490 to Goodman Street.

Zone 4 (8:00 am to 11:00 am): Pinetum to Doctors, left onto Mt Vernon to Alpine then cross South Ave and then Robinson to Mt. Hope over to the River Path at U of R over the Ford St Bridge. Delays Expected. To and from Wilson Blvd from Elmwood during peak runner times will be restricted, use Intercampus, Ford Street or McLean.

Zone 5 (8:45 am to 12:30 pm): Exchange Blvd at Ford Street to Court Street. Court Street Bridge Closed at 7:15 am.

For more information on the marathon or the route, please visit the Flower City Challenge website.



Equalization Members allow our congregation additional representation at the meeting of our Annual Conference (Upper NY Conference), held this year from June 5-8, in Syracuse. We currently are represented by our three appointed clergy (not counting Jackie Nelson, as she is not appointed), and three laities. In addition, our retired clergy may attend and vote. For each retired clergy, we can have one equalization member. 
 
If you are available on the conference dates and are interested in attending and voting on business items at the Annual Conference, please complete the application, and you'll be notified if you are accepted. All lay members of the Annual Conference must be Professing Members of The United Methodist Church for two years preceding their election, and shall have been active participants in The United Methodist Church for at least four years preceding their election. There is an $85 fee to apply and applications are due on March 11.  
 

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"Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain that way." 
- Augustine of Hippo (4th Century)
 
The Special Session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church in St. Louis, MO ended last evening. Their work is complete, but ours is just beginning.
 
My prayer was that this special session would finally provide an official way forward for those among us who, responding to the call of Christ, long to fully embrace our LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters in marriage and ministry. Unfortunately, it did not. The "One Church Plan" (the compromise supported by a clear majority of US delegates and for which many of us advocated) failed. Instead, the "Traditional Plan" (which hardens our restrictive language) passed--due largely to the support of international delegates. It was a day of tears, anger, and embarrassment.
 
Nevertheless, there are signs of hope. The "Traditional Plan" has twice been ruled "unconstitutional" by the Judicial Council (both before the Special Session and during). As a result, most of the provisions of the plan are expected to be rendered moot. If that happens, the Wesleyan Covenant Association (a conservative splinter group) has said that it will leave the denomination. While I lament the occasion of their loss, it now seems inevitable that The United Methodist Church will divorce.
 
Where does that leave us? To be honest, it is still a little early to know for sure. Over the next few days, we will hear from the Council of Bishops and the Judicial Council as to what legislation will stand. Following that, Annual Conferences, Jurisdictions, and local churches will plan their responses. To that end, we will have a meeting tonight at 6 pm (following the community dinner) as well as a town hall meeting following the 11 am service on Sunday. Both will take place in Fellowship Hall. At those meetings, we will share more detailed information about what happened and begin to prayerfully process together how we will respond.
 
As of now, nothing has changed--not within the denomination and most assuredly not at Asbury First. We will continue to advocate, agitate, and advance the full inclusion of our LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters. I recognize that there will be many who hear this news and feel that it is time to leave Asbury First. I echo your anger, mourn your loss, and will love you and support you whatever decision you make. But make no mistake; the church needs you now more than ever. The church needs us now more than ever. If you are willing to answer the call of Christ to stand up for justice, this is a time when Asbury First can be at the vanguard of the change that is coming. It may be that God is doing something new.
 
Thank you for your prayers and your support for all of those hurt by these events, both those within our congregation and those who may never come because of this. Asbury First is blessed to be a church with a future as strong as its past. With our help, the denomination might be as well.
 
Grace and Peace,
Rev. Dr. Stephen Cady II
Senior Minister
 

Rev. Dr. Stephen Cady was recently featured on the WXXI News program Connections with Evan Dawson. Dr. Cady and Asbury First member Cory Tylenda discussed the decision of the Special Session of the General Conference and its possible impacts. If you missed it, listen online at www.wxxinews.org/programs/connections.

 


Shower of Stoles Project

This was a disheartening week for The United Methodist Church and for our siblings in the LGBTQIA+ community. But even amidst this darkness, we are committed to focusing on the light of hope. Because Asbury First is a place committed to loving and affirming all people, we are honored to be able to display numerous stoles from the Shower of Stoles Project (www.welcomingresources.org/sosp.htm) this Sunday. 

Each stole contains a story of an LGBTQIA+ individual who is a ministerial leader in their faith tradition. This display exemplifies the beautiful truth that we are all children of God, and we are all called into ministry regardless of our various identities. We hope this exhibit will be a reminder to us of our task to make love louder.

If you are unable to view the exhibit on Sunday, you may also peruse the stoles and stories online, here: exhibits.lgbtran.org/exhibits/show/shower-of-stoles/home.

Also, join us for #rainbowsunday — In an attempt to show solidarity and support for our LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters, we encourage persons to wear rainbow attire this Sunday (bow-tie, scarf, pin, lanyard, headband, etc.). This idea came out of the town hall meeting on Wednesday night, in response to the Special Session of the General Conference.


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We are excited to host the internationally acclaimed Morehouse College Glee Club on Tuesday, March 12, in the Sanctuary at 7 pm. The MCGC is the premier singing organization of Morehouse College, traveling all over the country and the world, demonstrating excellence not only in choral performance but also in discipline, dedication, and brotherhood.


Founded in 1867, Morehouse is a private, all-male, liberal arts, historically black college in Atlanta, Georgia. It is one of only three remaining traditional men's liberal arts colleges in the United States. Morehouse is also one of only two historically black colleges in the country to produce Rhodes Scholars, and it is the alma mater of many African-American communities and civic leaders, including the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Tickets will be sold at the door for $20, $10 for students with ID, and free under 18. For more information, contact David Strong at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at (585) 271-1050.


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


MLKDay2019

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


UPDATED REPORTS

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 www.asburyfirst.org/worship/live 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