Outreach at Asbury First United Methodist Church
A group that Stephen Cady called together in the spring of 2015 spent more than a year pondering the question, "What's the difference between charity and justice?"—among other questions—as it sought to create a unified strategy for Asbury First’s outreach programs. As space needs at the Dining and Caring Center and the Storehouse called for solving, it seemed wise to review all of Asbury First’s poverty initiatives before deciding whether to build a new building, renovate, or seek new space off campus for these legacy programs.
The Outreach Taskforce issued its final report, A Way Forward for Outreach, in October 2016 and that report is now available to read online. It contains the first-ever assessment of each of our outreach programs. To create this assessment, members of the Taskforce interviewed leaders, participants and guests in each ministry. We also created a mission statement supported by common values to guide ongoing outreach efforts.
Two main thrusts came out of our work, embodied in our recommendations for the church. The first is to move the focus of our anti-poverty efforts from solely doling out charity to seeking justice. This means moving from a pattern of one-way giving to having a deeper relationship with our guests and working with them to address the unjust forces that leave some people in perpetual poverty. This a very large goal. It will require us to get to know our guests’ needs better, and look at longer-lasting solutions than food for a week or clothing for a season. These solutions might take the form of healthful cooking classes, or internships that can lead to jobs. And to accomplish them, we will need to partner with other churches and agencies. Meanwhile, however, we fully expect to continue providing merciful assistance.
The second thrust is a recommendation to equip ourselves by training our volunteers and congregation in justice work and by adding staff—a social worker and outreach coordinator, for example. Each ministry will be asked to survey the people it helps each year to more fully understand their needs. We expect to offer training both in volunteer positions and in dealing with diversity and poverty issues. In addition, we hope to bring our missions more closely together so they work in concert with each other.
All this work will take time, phased in over five years. The Outreach Committee has agreed to oversee adoption of this new way of doing outreach. And the Church Council agreed to this new philosophy late last year. Financial details and the original space issues are being worked out.
Now we invite all of you to be justice seekers, too. You can start by reading the report or asking questions of any of the committee members below. In weeks, months, and years to come, you’ll hear about educational programs where you can learn more. We hope you’ll prayerfully consider joining in.
Outreach Taskforce members:
Diana Carter, chair; Gary Brown, Bob Castle, Judy Cohen, Robyn Gage, Carolyn Hamil, Rick Kuempel, John Smalt
Stephen Cady, Katie O’Hern, Kathy Thiel
New: Outreach Mission Statement and Vision
The mission statement and values were developed by the Outreach Taskforce as part of their report which was accepted by Church Council on December 12, 2016. They will help to guide our outreach ministries as we move forward. The Outreach Committee welcomes your participation and support, as we strive to live out this mission.
As disciples of Jesus Christ, we cultivate hope and fullness of life.
Faith in Christ- As disciples of Jesus Christ, we model our lives on his words and deeds.
Love- All our actions testify to our love for God and for all people.
Community- We welcome a sense of community and partnership with everyone. The safety and wellbeing of our guests and volunteers is important to us.
Sharing- God has bestowed gifts upon us and others; we share these through fellowship, hospitality and service.
Justice- We believe all people are equal, deserving of having their immediate needs met with dignity and their injustices and inequities addressed righteously.
Stewardship - We are called to be good caretakers of ourselves, our resources and the world God created for us all.
Joy- We share and experience the promised joy of life by reaching out to those in need.
On Sunday, January 22, we met for the annual AFUMC charge conference to vote on the 2017 Annual Operating Plan and the nominations report, as well as hear a report from the Ministry and Space Task Force about the various projects under review around campus. You can watch the full video, follow along with the presentation, read the report, and learn more about the forthcoming changes below.
The Ministry & Space Task Force was created in 2012 to evaluate how we use our campus and recommend any changes which could help us better utilize our space to live out our mission. Our goal as a congregation is to steward all our resources well, including all spaces on our campus. We want our physical space to represent the convictions and purposes of Asbury First. Our buildings are ministry tools that should help us to achieve our mission and be accessible by all.
The committee began with a room-by-room, hour-by-hour analysis of every building and a review of major deferred maintenance items that needed to be addressed. We interviewed over fifty groups on campus in order to understand usage and hopes for future ministry. The committee quickly discovered that our space usage and accessibility varies significantly—while some of our space on campus is very well used and accessible, other spaces on our campus are under-utilized, inaccessible, or in need of repair and or improvement. We used this information to identify major themes and engaged an architect to help us think through better uses of our space. We identified the following areas of focus:
•Accessibility of All Buildings
•Inadequate Space for The Dining and Caring Center and Storehouse
•Potential Usage of Third Floor of 1050
•The future of 1010
In September 2015 we presented our recommendations at a special Church Conference, and the congregation voted to move forward with more detailed estimates and plans for the following areas:
•Completion of Major Maintenance on 1050 and 1040
•HVAC Replacement and electrical upgrades 1040
•Replacement of front and side steps to Sanctuary
•Adding an Elevator to 1050
•Building an accessible restroom in 1050
•Renovation of third floor of 1050
•Additional Maintenance and Space Issues
•Partial Air Conditioning in Sanctuary
•Consolidated music space
•New Sanctuary lighting and controls
•1040 Window Repair & Maintenance
•Updating Fellowship Hall Kitchen Equipment
•Porte Cochere off Welcoming Hall
Three items were added by the trustees following that meeting:
•Organ repair and Curtain Replacement
•Basement upgrades in 1010 and 1050
At the time, we recommended leasing 1010, and building an Outreach Center to house all of our ministries. The Outreach Task Force was then formed to further explore our outreach ministries with an eye toward the future. This committee was led by Diana Carter and they spent the a last sixteen months on this vital work. Their conclusion was that outreach needs to be done in the most cost-effective way possible, and encouraged us to evaluate existing space as compared to building. After extensive discussion, both the Storehouse and the Dining & Caring Center came to the independent conclusions that they would rather solve the issues in their current space than build or move.
With all of this information, and cost information from the architect, Ministry & Space is ready to make our final recommendations.
•Boiler & Air Handler with partial cooling in 1040
•Updated electrical service and fire code
•Replacement of chancel lighting and control
•1050 Accessibility (elevator, new entrance, site changes)
•1050 Third Floor Rehab
•Update of Fellowship Hall kitchen
•Replacement of front and side steps
•HVAC improvements in Ed Wing
•Waterproofing and HVAC improvements in DCC and Storehouse
•Organ curtain replacement
•Replacement of Ed Wing windows
•Porte Cochere at Welcoming Hall
More detailed information about each of these items can be viewed through the church website at asburyfirst.org.
We will soon have a major announcement regarding an exciting potential use for 1010. We plan to hold a congregational meeting after the 11am service on Sunday, February 12 to discuss this opportunity and hope that you will plan to join us for that conversation.
Ready to register? Fill out this form and return it to the Welcome Desk in the Welcoming Hall on Sunday mornings or to the church office during regular business hours.
- Additional Administrative Support
- We currently have a staff of 36 full and part-time persons being supported by one (capable and talented!) administrative assistant. The SPRC, the Church Council, and the entire staff recognize this is not enough. With more administrative support, our ministers and staff can say yes to more outreach, ministry, and care opportunities.
- Church Management Software
- Our current database does not support the needs of our growing and vital congregation. In order to more faithfully care for our current and future membership, we need to upgrade our software.
- We are in the process of revamping the communications strategies and practices at Asbury First in order to better fulfill our mission and vision as a congregation. With increased attention to strategic internal and external communications through both digital and print media, we can reach more people with the life-giving message of Christ.
Outreach Task Force Report on Sunday, January 22
On Sunday, January 22 at 9:45 am in Fellowship Hall, members of the Outreach Task Force will present the results of their work, including an assessment of Outreach Ministries at Asbury First and a vision for the future. All are welcome to attend!
Our annual Church Conference will be held following the 11 am service on Sunday, January 22nd.
In addition to voting on the 2017 Annual Operating Plan and the nominations report, we will also be hearing a report from the Ministry and Space Task Force about the various projects under review around campus. All are welcome and we hope that you will mark your calendars to attend!
There's something for everyone at Asbury First!
This February, your children are invited to learn, celebrate, and worship with us at Mini Vacation Bible School (VBS)! Find more information on Camp H2O, this year's Mini VBS, and discover more ways your children can get involved with the Asbury First community here.
Join us for Easter worship! We will have services on:
March 1 / 7 pm
- We begin the holy season of Lent with a service that reminds us of our humanity and our reliance on the gift of God’s grace. This service will include communion and the imposition of ashes.
April 13 / 6:30 pm (silent meditation), 7 (living tableaus), 7:30 pm (service)
- Sanctuary open at 6:30 pm for silent meditation. Living tableaus of scenes from the life of Christ will be presented in the chancel during this time.
- At 7 pm, living tableaus of scenes from the life of Christ will be presented in the chancel.
- At 7:30 pm, we will offer communion and a candlelight re-enactment of Christ's last night, ending with the placement of the cross on the East Avenue lawn by our Christ-figure.
- Informal Holy Communion: 6 am with the Men's Prayer Group.
- Envisioning the Passion: Noon. Holy Week-themed art and music by Voices Chamber Choir. A beloved Asbury First tradition.(note: there will be no evening performance of Envisioning the Passion)
- Family Prayer Night, 6-7:30 pm., A come-when-you-wish child-friendly event, with communion, a labyrinth walk, and prayer stations.
- Community Sunrise Service: 6:30 am, held at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, 1100 Goodman Street, 14620.
- Traditional Services: 8:30 and 11 am
- Chancel Communion service: 10 am (Note: brief service with no sermon.)
The Taizé Community is a monastic community founded in 1940 and located in the small village of Taizé, France. Taizé is home to over a hundred monastic brothers, who come from Catholic and Protestant traditions. The brothers live and work together, spending much of their time in worship and prayer. Taizé describes itself as “a parable of community that wants its life to be a sign of reconciliation between divided Christians and between separated peoples.”
Taizé is known for its particular style of meditative songs, which Asbury First sings at Taizé-style services during Advent and Lent. The songs are short, simple, and sung repetitively. “They express a basic reality of faith that can quickly be grasped by the intellect, and that gradually penetrates the heart and the whole being.”
Since its founding, Taizé has become a destination for pilgrims from around the world. Speaking different languages and following different Christian (or non-Christian) traditions, the pilgrims are invited to spend a week living alongside the brothers. Pilgrims work to help maintain the community, spend time in individual and group reflection, and experience the full worship life of Taizé.
In May of 2017, a group of young adults from Asbury First will be traveling as pilgrims to Taizé.
Come join new and old friends at the Syracuse Basketball/Asbury First Trip! It’s a noon ACC matchup in the Carrier Dome on Saturday, January 28 featuring SU and Florida State. We’ll safely travel via motor coach, departing from Asbury at 9:30 am. Approximate return time is 4 pm. We have reserved 55 seats for this exciting trip. Thanks to donations and a discounted group price, the total cost is $35 for adults and $15 for youth (12 and under). To reserve your tickets and transportation, send a check for the correct amount to the church office, noting the number of desired tickets (attention to Melody Guadagnino). Join this wonderful winter sports tradition, wear your orange and be ready to cheer with fellow SU fans. It’s a great trip for all ages and there’s even SU themed prizes given out on the bus! Questions about the trip or need more details, feel free to call Craig Dennison at 507-9655.
This holiday, we come together in worship, in celebration, and in community. We hope that as we gather, you and your loved ones can join with us to remember the meaning of Advent and Christmas and all the blessings of the season. All are welcome at Asbury First United Methodist!
Christmas Eve - December 24
12 noon - Service of Carols and Holy Communion
Organ, harp, and voice.
4 pm - Service for Families and Children
Choral and handbell music and a pageant.
7 pm - Service of Word, Candlelight, Lessons & Carols
Choral, handbell, and instrumental music.
9 pm - Service of Word, Candlelight, and Holy Communion
Instrumental and vocal music with Communion.
11 pm - Service of Word, Candlelight, Lessons, & Carols
Choral, handbell, and instrumental music.
Christmas Day, December 25
10 am - A service of Lessons and Carols
New Year’s Eve, December 31
5-6 pm - Communion and Meditation Service
Come and go as you wish (The labyrinth is also available at this time)
Asbury First United Methodist Church and our interfaith partners invite you to join your neighbors on December 18 at 4 pm at School 17-Enrico Fermi for the second annual City Sing for Peace and Unity. We will walk out into the JOSANA Neighborhood together singing songs of peace. No charge, parking and refreshments will be available, bring your own candle!
And a special thank you to all of our sponsors who helped make this possible!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
December 6, 2016
Rochester Faith and Secular Communities Join to Sing for Peace
Rochester, NY – December 6, 2016 – A local coalition of both religious and non-profit organizations will come together to sing for peace and stand against the division within our communities, our nation, and the world this year. On December 18, Rochesterians of diverse faith and secular backgrounds will unite for the second annual “City Sing For Peace and Unity” at School 17-Enrico Fermi, 158 Orchard St, Rochester, NY, at 4 pm and walk in groups through the JOSANA neighborhood (weather permitting), singing songs of peace. The event is free and the public is welcome.
“At a moment when we are reminded of all that divides us, City Sing is an opportunity to bring our community together in the name of peace,” the Rev. Dr. Stephen Cady, Senior Minister at Asbury First United Methodist Church. “You don’t have to have any musical talent to sing for peace as the gathering of the community itself is a form of song,” Cady said.
Participants are invited to dress warmly and bring a candle or flashlight with them; songbooks will be provided. Singers will gather first at School 17-Enrico Fermi, and then will join individual groups that will move out into the surrounding neighborhood to sing.
For more information, or for interviews with the Rev. Dr. Stephen Cady, Senior Minister, Asbury First United Methodist Church, please contact:
Asbury First United Methodist Church
About Asbury First United Methodist Church
Through worship, education, outreach, and membership care, we develop disciples of Jesus Christ who live and proclaim the Gospel and thereby work to transform our culture. As an inclusive Christian community, we believe that our faith is shaped by the witness of Scripture, the insight of reason, the wisdom of tradition, and our personal experience of God in Christ. We represent diverse theological perspectives and faith experiences. This diversity enhances our common quest to be one in Christ.