An inclusive, Christ-centered community making a difference.


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AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support Asbury First every time you shop, at no cost to you. And it's easy! Go to and choose "Asbury First United Methodist Church" as your charity to support. Then, when you shop on Amazon, instead of using, use Any eligible purchase you make through AmazonSmile, Amazon donates 0.5% to Asbury First! 

Interfaith Small

Are you curious about what other faith traditions believe? Would you like to know why Muslims pray at sundown? Do you want to learn about the differences between Orthodox, Conservative, and Reformed Judaism? Join us on the first Tuesdays of each month for the coming months as we host our sisters and brothers, our neighbors in different faiths. A faith leader and a member or two from these communities will be here with us to share with us their culture, tenets of their faith and traditions. Our hope is to make differing religious faiths less a mystery and more about dialogue and continued conversation. There will be an opportunity for questions and answers and a time of fellowship afterward.

November 1

Dr. Rumi Mohammed and Imam Ismet who will share the Muslim faith with us.

December 6

We will host our friends from the Jewish community.

Future programs will include 

The Hindu faith, Buddhism, Bahai, Sikh, and more.


These events will take place in the Gathering Center, from 7 to 8:30 pm. All are welcome! If you have any questions, please contact Kathy Thiel at 271-1050 x. 106 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Harry Potter books cropSmall


Four Wednesdays, Starting October 19

6:30-8 pm

Gathering Center

Back due to popular demand! Whether you grew up alongside the characters, are just getting to know them, or read them to your children, you are invited to join us for a discussion of the themes of the Holy that run throughout these wonderfully creative books. In preparation for the new movie and in the wake of the eighth book, we thought we would bring back one of our most popular and requested classes. All ages are welcome and encouraged for our discussions. It would be helpful if you have read the books, but if you don’t mind spoilers, come along for the ride! If you are interested in being a part of the course, send an owl (or an email) to Melody Guadagnino at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We will be meeting four Wednesday evenings this Fall, beginning October 19 in the gathering center from 6:30-8 pm. Feel free to come dressed up and with muggle or wizard treats. We hope to see you there!



This year we’re welcoming back a churchwide retreat, one of many dreams shared in the past year! All are welcome on this intergenerational retreat: we’ll have educational and fellowship opportunities for people of all ages and interests! From the opening bonfire to worship on Sunday morning and everything in between, there will be lots of opportunities to try something new, get to know other members of our church family, and grow in your faith. You’re welcome to come for the whole weekend or just for the day on Saturday, and scholarships are available. For more information, talk to Katie O’Hern. We hope to see you there!



You can register online here, or you can download and print a registration form and return the finished form to the Welcome Desk in the Welcoming Hall on Sunday mornings or to the chure during regular business hours.




What are the dates?

The retreat runs from Friday evening (October 21) through Sunday at noon (October 23).

Do I have to stay for the whole weekend?

You’re encouraged to stay for the weekend if you can, but we know schedules don’t always make that possible! You are more than welcome to come late or leave early if you need to, and there is a special rate for those only able to come for the day on Saturday. 

How much does the retreat cost?

Prices vary based on age and how long you want to stay; a detailed pricing chart is available on the registration form (available on the website or in the October issue of The Visitor). Scholarships are available—contact Katie O’Hern (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) if you are in need of financial assistance. 

Do I need to bring anything?

Yes. Please bring sheets, towels, toiletries, and any other items you'll expect to need. You’re also encouraged to bring your Bible, and you might also want to bring a journal or other way to record your thoughts and reflections on the retreat. If you can, bring a snack to share! If you have a board game you love, bring that, too! We’re also looking for musicians to help us lead singing around the bonfire and worship services, so let us know if you’re willing to bring your instrument and share your talent with us! 

What will the Bible study be like?

Our Bible study this year will be led by guest speaker Sylvia Bull. Sylvia is a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary and a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She is passionate about Christian education in congregations and has many gifts to offer. She is a warm, engaging, and knowledgeable teacher who will help us GROW in our faith through Bible study together. It doesn’t matter whether you’re new to reading the Bible or you’ve been studying scripture for years—this Bible study will have something to offer us all!


Can you believe we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the DINNER AMONG FRIENDS, the annual fundraiser for Asbury First’s Dining and Caring Center? We are hoping the 10th annual fundraiser will be the biggest and best yet—and there are many ways you can participate.


This is your personal invitation to join us on September 24, 2016 for an evening of fun, food and fellowship.  

We will start the evening at 5 pm with appetizers in the Gathering Center. From there, you will join your hosts at their home for a delicious meal and an evening of fellowship. The suggested donation for this fund-raiser is $50 per person but feel free to donate more or less (even if you can’t come). To R.S.V.P. to your invitation, contact Bonnie Kay at 473-8848 or 

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


In addition to the 10th Annual Dinner Among Friends we will be having our 2nd Annual Dinner Among Kids. This is a free event for children ages 4 and up whose parents are attending the Dinner Among Friends beginning at 5:00pm.  There will be appetizers, games, dinner, movies, stories and an outreach craft for the Asbury Dining and Caring Center (ADCC). Pick-up time for the children is 8:30 pm. 

For more information or to reserve a spot please contact Paula Dugan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 271-1050 x111.


Can you help us “Cook for a Cause”? PLEASE consider serving as one of our gracious hosts. Here’s what it entails:

As a host, you will hold a dinner at your home starting at about 6:15pm following the Pre-Dinner Reception at the Asbury First Gathering Center.

You can host as few or as many people as you wish.

Your meal doesn’t have to be gourmet. It can be as simple or as elegant as you wish. Have anything from a picnic with burgers and salads to Beef Wellington with roasted vegetables! You can also give your menu a fun theme (fall harvest fest, Hawaiian luau, Mexican tacos)—it’s up to you.

Not sure you want to tackle a dinner on your own? Why not host with a friend? It’s half the work and twice the fun.

Your guests will be a combination of those you invite and those who R.S.V.P. to our invitation to the congregation. Those who have hosted before often speak of the new friendships that have developed, as well as existing friendships that deepen when sharing a meal together for a good cause.

To sign up to host, contact Bonnie Kay 

(email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 478-5611).


As a member of Asbury First, you may already be aware of the ADCC and the work it does feeding the hungry—and that 100% of the donations from people attending the Dinner Among Friends, the largest fundraiser for the ADCC­, goes to supporting its mission. But did you know that the Dinner Among Friends also needs the support of corporate sponsors to make its goals?  In this, our 10th year, we would greatly appreciate you or your company joining the growing number of corporate sponsors who assist ADCC as we nourish, support, and transform the lives of our guests in the Rochester community with either a monetary donation or a donation-in-kind. We will, of course, frequently and publicly thank each sponsor.  For sponsorship option information, please contact Bob Castle at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 298-0130.


Fifty years ago, in the fall of 1966, our then Senior pastor Dr. Davies helped four couples organize a new Sunday school class for adults. The fellowship class (named Double Ring) had been organized a few years earlier and was becoming very large. The class adopted the title of “Better Halves” and was the first to meet on the second floor of 1010. Through the years, the class at one time or another has met in every single room on the second floor. 

With the aid of Margaret Wilcox mentioning the class to new members and visitors, the class grew rapidly in size. In the 70s, it had membership of nearly 50 families! It was certainly a family-oriented class, as many of its activities centered around the children, such as the trimming of the Christmas tree in the educational wing, a kids’ Christmas party complete with Santa, the Halloween party, and the Easter egg hunt on the lawn behind 1010.

For the adults, Sunday morning classes were led by class members or individuals from the Cokesbury Adult Curriculum, and no year was complete without a Bible study accompanied by informational journals. Socials were held on nearly a monthly basis, including progressive dinners, pot luck suppers, and the keynote of the class, the annual (May) Chef’s Night. 

The men of the class bought the food, prepared it ahead of time or on site, served, and cleaned up. It was often accompanied by special themes and/or programs (e.g. a member’s solo bike trip across America). 

In the 80s, the name of the class was changed to Growing Spirits to reflect its inclusiveness. Later, they merged with the Living Edge class, which was organized after the Growing Spirits. Currently, it meets on the first floor of 1010 in the Meditation Room.

A catered dinner by Tasteful Connections is planned for Saturday night at 6 pm on October 1st at 1010 to celebrate 50 years together as a class. Current members, as well as former members, are invited to attend this affair and share memories. (To make things easier for all attendees, name tags will be provided!) Contact Linda Freed at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Jan Anderson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more details. If you wish to attend, the dinner is $25 per person, and your RSVP should be sent to Linda or Jan by September 21.

Jamie Least

Communications Coordinator

Asbury First United Methodist Church
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
(585) 210-8484 x109

Asbury First UMC’s Third Annual Tent Week is Transforming Rochester, Building Community

Rochester, NY, August 1, 2016Tent Week, hosted by Asbury First United Methodist Church (AFUMC), is “in-tents,” as the Rev. Dr. Stephen M. Cady II, senior minister of AFUMC, jokes. The “intense” week-long, family-friendly, and activity-filled event is held alongside Rochester’s Park Ave Fest from August 7-11, and both attendees and planners behind the event agree: Tent Week has more to offer Park Ave Fest attendees and locals than just a number of activities, like outdoor games, Beatles singing, and food trucks. It provides a radical sense of inclusive community.

“Church is about community and, at Asbury First, Tent Week is one of the ways we express that community,” said Rev. Cady. “During this week, we invite our neighbors to join us in everything from the public silliness of an intergenerational water balloon toss, or yoga. On one night, you might find the area musicians singing Beatles tunes, and on the next, area synagogues, mosques, and temples sharing their sacred music and dance,” said Rev. Cady.

The schedule kicks off with an outdoor Sunday worship service, followed by Movers and Makers on Monday—with yoga, bocce, Zumba, artisan jewelry, metalworks, and more. Tuesday features a battle of the Beatles bands, and Wednesday is Faith Fusion, featuring interfaith performances, a Muslim evening prayer, and much more. The week concludes with Spend a While on the Nile to celebrate the last night of this year's Egyptian-themed Vacation Bible School.

Tent Week offers Rochesterians a way to enjoy the waning Summer days in a unique, welcoming environment—and that especially includes non-church-goers, people of all other faiths, and the non-religious alike. “Asbury First is a big-tent kind of a church and we invite you to join us under that tent,” said Rev. Cady.

About Asbury First United Methodist Church

Asbury First is a warm, open faith community of 2,300 people in the city of Rochester, NY and runs many outreach ministries including the Dining and Caring Center, which serves 35,000 meals each year, and the Storehouse, which provides clothing and household goods to more than 6,000 persons annually. Find out more at and learn more about Tent Week at  



VBS 2016

"Spend a While on the Nile"

August 8-11, 9am-12:30pm

$15.00 per child, no more than $40 per family.

Children ages 4 through 5th grade have the opportunity to “Spend a While on the Nile” during Vacation Bible School at Asbury First this summer. They’ll take a jaunt back in time to ancient Egypt to discover what happened to Joseph as he went from Pharaoh’s prison to palace.  They will become a part of history as they see, hear, touch, and even taste what it was like to live in Pharaoh’s empire. Register your child online today!

Questions?  Contact Paula Dugan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

All are welcome!

In early May, a gathering of United Methodists from all over the world will gather in Portland, Oregon for the 2016 General Conference. Held every four years, this group is the top policy-making body of our denomination, and the only group that can speak for the church as a whole.