Sundays, March 5-April 9 from 6:30-7:30 pm in the Gathering Center
This is a yoga class for people of all experience levels and abilities. Classes will be taught by Lynn Boucher, Nazareth College’s “yoga chaplain,” and will integrate spiritual themes, meditation, and self-reflection. Asbury First’s theme for Lent is the search for common ground, and yoga invites us to reflect on the literal ground that supports us as we practice together. Bring your own mat or use one of ours. Pay what you can; suggested donation is $5 per class. We hope to see you there!
Many of you heard Rev. Stephen Cady speak about the refugee crisis in Eastern Europe and he expressed a concern that churches have been absent in the response. Stephen has been speaking with a missionary couple (see some of their story in the video below) and hosted a meeting to discuss how Asbury First might respond.
On Sunday, February 19, more than 50 individuals convened in Fellowship Hall to brainstorm and explore ways the Asbury First community can make a meaningful, positive, and lasting difference for those impacted by the global refugee crisis. As a church community, Asbury First takes seriously its responsibility to better love and support those in our global family—including the refugee and the orphan—which was seen clearly on that Sunday afternoon.
During the meeting, attendees with a passion for getting invovled in this effort came up with a number of ways we could make a difference. These ideas were recorded and the list will act as a jumping-off point for conversations that the Asbury First community will have in the days and months to come. A few of the proposed ideas included:
- Create a database of refugee needs and local companies with a surplus, which may be matched up
- Solidify our position on this issue with Scripture and reach out to other churches with which we can collaborate
- Develop connections with churches in Europe and at the heart of this crisis
- Invite local refugees to speak and share their testimonies in the hopes of spreading knowledge and understanding
- Funnel support to Canada to strengthen their work in welcoming refugees
- Develop ways to empower refugees to help themselves
While we had been very excited about a new possible use for 1010 East Ave and have been working behind the scenes for the last few months to try and make it a reality, we learned today that it is no longer a possibility.
We apologize for any confusion that this might have caused as we scheduled and rescheduled this upcoming meeting. Rest assured that the trustees and the rest of church leadership will continue to explore the best use for 1010 East Ave. and will update you as soon as we have a new recommendation.
Since many already had the meeting on their calendars, we would like to suggest that we meet to discuss another pressing topic for our congregation-the global refugee crisis.
Many of you heard Stephen speak last Sunday about the refugee crisis in Eastern Europe and he expressed a concern that churches have been absent in the response. Stephen has been speaking with a missionary couple and would like to have a brainstorming session following the service on Sunday, February 19, to discuss how Asbury First might respond. This meeting will be the beginning of a much broader conversation. All are welcome.
This Lenten devotional offers a series of brief daily Scripture readings and reflections that we hope will enrich your personal faith life during this holy season. The readings for each day are selected from those assigned by the Revised Common Lectionary, and are accompanied by a quote or reflection from a wide array of our forefathers and foremothers in the faith. On Sundays, the reading will be accompanied by a morning and an evening prayer, which you might use each day throughout the week. We invite you to consider the common ground we share, not only with one another at Asbury First, but with Gods people throughout time and space.
The potential partner with whom we are in discussions about the use of Building 1010 needs more time to consider the exciting opportunity in front of them. We anticipate they will have a better sense of their intentions by the end of next week. In light of this development, we are rescheduling our meeting to Sunday, February 19 in Fellowship Hall following the 11 am service. We appreciate your patience and look forward to sharing further details on the 19th. The presentation will be broadcast and archived through the livestream on asburyfirst.org.
The Church Resource Library came into being in 1977 through the efforts of a church-appointed task force and evolved from a single bookcase in one small room to today’s two adjoining spacious rooms located off the Gathering Space. The library is now filled with thousands of books, videos, and DVDs.
In 1987, a second library was formed from a private donation. This Spiritual Life Library is located in building 1010 in the Meditation Room for the purpose of exploring spirituality of various faiths.
The library books for all ages are used for Sunday school classes, adult education, church members and groups, and all who enjoy reading. The book collection of fiction and non-fiction, in 37-plus categories, ranges from general reference, life stages, religion and science, Bible, theology, and spirituality to fiction, church history, and Christian education.
"Financial Peace University is not just a course on financial management, it is a life-changing course on how to control your money, instead of money controlling you; all while serving God. I have taken the course twice and learned something new every time. I strongly recommend this class for all church members."
-Cory Tylenda, AFUMC Stewardship Committee Chair
Financial Peace University will help MAKE IT HAPPEN! Millions of people have gone through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University (FPU) and learned God’s ways of handling money. They’ve worked a plan, rewritten their stories, and changed their future! On average, FPU graduates pay off $5,300 in debt and save $2,700 in only the first 90 days!
FPU consists of a nine-week video curriculum starting March 8 (from 6-7:30 pm in Building 1040, Room 200) taught by financial expert Dave Ramsey, and it incorporates small group discussions that help encourage accountability and discipleship. Groups meet once a week for 90 minutes, and the course is just as fun as it is practical! Interested in finding out more or are you ready to register? Click here!
We are pleased to announce David Strong has taken on an expanded role at Asbury First as our new Church Administrator. In addition to his administrative responsibilities within music, David will now be charged with ensuring the strategic administrative and financial objectives of the church are attained through oversight over all non-pastoral or programmatic staff and volunteers. David is now the direct report for human resources, budgeting and finance, facilities, communications, information technology, and operations. This addition in staffing was made possible for 2017 by a few very recent gifts from members of ourcongregation, who saw the need of this position and chose unprompted to give to make it possible. To those individuals, we want to share a heartfelt thank you for you generosity!
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.