E-Newsletter of Asbury First
A church is more than the building, and the members
of Asbury First are proving this time and again. We aim to keep connected with a weekly e-newsletter that will highlight the unique stories
of our amazing community.
Updating the Sign
May 13, 2020
Property Caretaker James Flack and Communications Coordinator Sarah Brubaker combined forces to update the front lawn sign with our new service time.
James built and painted the boards using items from the church shop. Sarah then took the board and hand-painted the letters. The sign was installed yesterday. Here is a visual journey of how it was finished up.
Here are a few screen grabs from the many virtual meetings we have had as a church during these isolating times.
Question: Tell us a little about your musical background?
Answer: I have a degree in Voice Performance from the Eastman School of Music. I also earned the Performers’ Certificate, of which I’m quite proud!
Q: When did you join the Asbury First musical staff?
A: 2013; Prior to that I served as soloist/section leader at Lutheran Church of the Incarnate Word.
I had planned to “retire” but Bill Weinert persistently recruited me to Asbury First. I’m very glad that
Q: Tell us about an experience at Asbury First that
has really stuck with you:
A: I’ve been overwhelmed by the abundance of love and support from the Asbury First community during some very difficult times in my life.
Q: Do you have a favorite musical moment,
either here at Asbury First or elsewhere?
A: I have loved making music with my colleagues here at Asbury First. One of my favorite other gigs was singing arias from the Merchant-Ivory films at the Britt music festival in Medford, Oregon. I also loved singing with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra over several years.
Q: What do you do when you're not singing
at Asbury First?
A: During “normal“ times I offer voice lessons from my studio in Pittsford.
Q: Tell us what's been helping you stay sane while sheltering at home:
A: Lately I’ve been sheltering at home with crossword puzzles and coloring books, as well as hiking with my husband, David.
Get to Know Asbury First's Musical Staff
Asbury First is privileged to enjoy the talents of a dedicated musical staff, and perhaps now more than ever we've had a chance to experience some of them up close. Over the next few weeks we'll profile each of our soloist/section leaders, as well as our Organist Duane Prill. This week we feature Soprano Bess Phillips.
Mom (Jennie L. Kern) was featured in the Daily Messenger newspaper on the front page today! I thought you’d enjoy reading the article. One of her highlights is watching your (Asbury First) online church services.
— Joann Long
for Special Mom
I watched The Incredibles to get myself psyched for Sunday night's youth group! All moms and mom-type folks and youth were invited to join us for a Netflix Watch Party together this last Sunday on Mother's Day. In honor of all of those great women and mother-figures in our lives, we watched a movie with an incredible mom, Incredibles 2.
— Summer Sattora,
Asst. Director of Youth Ministry
Youth Group Netflix Watch Party
To read the article, click this link here.
Celebrating Mother's Day
Lately, the church Greeters have been meeting up with Rev. Kathy Thiel on Zoom for an Open House.
"This week, our guest was Fiona the pot belly pig, accompanied by Anne Phinney. They live on Moose River Farm in Old Forge, NY. Anne is a retired school teacher in the Town of Webb school district and has a teaching farm where she welcomes animals and people to get to know each other," Kathy said. "I know her through mutual friends, one of whom taught at the school when Anne was there. My friend, Sue, tells the story of when she and Anne switched classrooms one year. Anne had classroom pets, and one of them, a big lizard apparently continued to think he still lived in the old classroom and would find his way up the hallway to Sue's new class."
It was such a treat to learn about Fiona and the different animals living on Anne's Farm.
Greeters Open House Special Guest
Doug and Chris Lee have led the RAIHN (Rochester Area Interfaith Hospitality Network) program at Asbury First for almost eight years. They cheerfully volunteered for the position of Asbury First RAIHN coordinators and have tag-teamed the leadership with relentless energy and commitment—providing meals, places to sleep, hospitality extraordinaire, compassion, and understanding to the RAIHN families during their times of homelessness and despair.
Three to four times a year, Asbury First hosts up to 15 guests for a week at 1010 East Ave., the brick building on campus. In addition to providing a safe, welcoming place
for the families to spend their week, Chris and Doug have tirelessly recruited, trained, and scheduled volunteers from Asbury First and beyond to greet the guests each day
at 5 pm, provide delicious homemade meals, spend time with the families and especially the children during the evenings, sleep overnight, greet the guests after a good night sleep, then see them off for their day at work, school or the day center.
One of the biggest challenges for the RAIHN leaders is that the guests may come and go at different times each day depending on work commitments, school, and family obligations. Also, many times new families join the program mid-week requiring the volunteer team to make up more beds, possibly re-arrange guest rooms and update numbers for meals. Doug and/or Chris were at 1010 daily to check in on the guests, make sure the volunteers showed up for their shifts, solve any problems that may occur, and in general provide
a gracious welcome and generous hospitality throughout the week.
The Lees have guided the RAIHN program at Asbury First with good humor, gentle encouragement, and unending enthusiasm. They truly give meaning to the words
in the Bible: “for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”
God Bless the Lees as they leave the RAIHN leadership behind, and pursue other ways to spread the love of Christ at Asbury First and beyond.
A Tribute to RAIHN Coordinators
— Chris and Doug Lee
By Sandra Holloway
(Tribute continues on next page)
The Lees have guided the RAIHN program
at Asbury First with good humor, gentle encouragement, and unending enthusiasm.
RAIHN has partnered with Rochester artist Rachel Cordaro to support our services for families in the community through a “Spring Has Sprung!” fundraiser.
RAIHN’s Emergency Shelter Program has been temporarily closed since March 17 due to COVID-19 restrictions, but the need has not gone away. RAIHN hopes to re-open our shelter program by using hotel space; unlike our partnership with faith communities who provide lodging for our shelter program, there is a cost of $50 per night per room.
Your purchase of Rachel’s beautiful note cards will help defer some of RAIHN’s shelter expenses. They make wonderful gifts—beautiful thank you cards, or “just to say hello” and “how are you” note cards. They also make a wonderful addition to your home décor by framing them and hanging or displaying in that special place.
Four different bundles are available and each bundle includes six individually wrapped cards for $25, with $10 being tax deductible. For more information and to order cards, please go to www.raihn.org/spring-has-sprung.
Help RAIHN with “Spring Has Sprung!”
From top left: Poppy bundle, Hydrangea bundle, Magnolia bundle, and Watercolor bundle.
Different Card Bundles
Doug and Chris Lee led the Asbury First RAIHN project
for seven years. Thank you both for such wonderful work!
A Tribute to RAIHN Coordinators, ctd.
As of the final RAIHN rotation for 2019 this past December, Chris and Doug Lee have handed off the coordination leadership “reins of RAIHN” at Asbury First (pun intended). Thus an important era has come to an end in the outreach footprint of our church. And an exciting new threshold has been laid for others to pick up the RAIHN leadership mantle worn by Chris and Doug Lee since 2013. As we consider the years of commitment given to RAIHN by Chris and Doug we are left with two questions. Firstly, what motivates a busy working couple who are also raising two daughters to invest in the preponderant commitment required by RAIHN leadership at Asbury First? Secondly, what has been the impact emanating from seven years of the Lee’s stellar leadership?
The clues to who Doug and Chris are, and their relationship with RAIHN at Asbury First and their motivation to serve as coordinators over these years, lies in the bright past even before they were born. Both Chris and Doug were children of United Methodist ministers. Chris’s father was Doug’s father’s pastor in Dexter, NY near Watertown. Doug’s father eventually ministered in the North Country of New York. Because of this ministerial connection and the friendship bonds of both families, Chris and Doug have known each other all of their lives. The idea of “doing all the good one can…” was part of the Lee’s Methodist spiritual formation. Before RAIHN leadership, Doug volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and Meals on Wheels. Chris previously served on Asbury First’s Staff Parish Relations Committee (SPRC), and the Altar Guild, and both Doug and Chris participated in the Red Bird Missions trip to Appalachia.
After coming to Rochester and before their membership with Asbury First the Lee family were members of Browncroft Non-denominational church. In 2010, wanting to come back to their Methodist roots the family joined Asbury first. In 2013 they heard the clarion call for taking on the coordination leadership of RAIHN. This call was found via a bulletin announcement that indicated the future of RAIHN at Asbury First was uncertain if new leadership were not forthcoming. Doug felt the RAIHN volunteer opportunity was something he would like to do and that it would fit in with his schedule as a Town of Brighton Fire Fighter. Doug presented the idea to Chris “if she were willing” he would like them to volunteer together. Thus began their sojourn with RAIHN.
Over the years their commitment to RAIHN in numbers of hours has amounted to 27-40 hours during each of the four weeks that our RAIHN guests were on the Asbury First campus. Additionally they gave approximately 5 hours monthly for RAIHN coordinators meetings. Chris’ and Doug’s responsibilities included oversight for transforming the 1010 building into housing for RAIHN families, recruiting and orienting volunteers, countless shopping trips, orienting our RAIHN guests, being on call for the week of RAIHN, occasionally covering overnight shifts, and maintaining lines of communication with RAIHN central office staff.
Making RAIHN an integral part of the Lee family’s lives meant that RAIHN became for the Lee family an oft repeated bonding event for their family rather than a competing priority.
As with any ministry commitment, serving as volunteer RAIHN coordinators meant sacrifice and yes, times of stress. A defining moment for Chris was when she was feeling daunted by the prospect of singing for two services with the Sanctuary Choir and the exigencies of the late hours entailed by a first Sunday of RAIHN. Mentioning this to Dr. Bill Weinert, who was Director of Music at the time, Dr. Weinert's response to Chris, was: “think about how stressed families must feel about being displaced.” Chris points to this interaction as a refocusing moment that totally changed her outlook. It was about thinking how the families must be feeling and trying to help them feel comfortable at Asbury First for the week.
In terms of the impact of the “Lee factor,” I offer a personal testimonial regarding Chris and Doug Lee’s leadership as coordinators of RAIHN. Having served with the Lees for the past five years as food coordinator for RAIHN at Asbury First, I found Chris and Doug ebullient, accessible, and flexible. Their modus operandi was always enthusiastic appreciation for all the volunteers who served with them. This, I believe, was the key to Chris’ and Doug’s success in helping to perpetuate RAIHN as a critical outreach venue at Asbury First. Thus the ministry continues to provide wonderful volunteer opportunities for Asbury First membership and non-members as we continue to serve homeless families.
The take away for Chris and Doug as they ended their time as Coordinators for RAIHN is that they feel they have experienced the blessing of connectivity. The value added to their lives is that they have plunged deeply into what makes Asbury First the wonderful, caring community of faith that it is. They have gotten to know families and volunteers at a personal level and feel blessed to have done so.
As far as RAIHN is concerned Chris and Doug will not be gone or forgotten. It is their intention to continue to volunteer with RAIHN and to serve as a “guiding hand” resource as RAIHN moves into a new leadership model with rotating coordinators.
By Rev. Dr. Timothy J. Johnson
The key to Doug's and Chris' longevity as RAIHN coordinators lays in the fact taht their service became a familial project that also engaged their two daughters, Madelyn and Kaitlin.