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.
June 4, 2020
Food Drive Success!
Thank you all for your hard and joyful work Sunday afternoon collecting food and supplies for our Dining & Caring Center. You might like to know we collected at least 360 bags and boxes from at least 136 vehicles (including one bicycle.) Things were moving so quickly, it's quite possible those numbers represent an undercount. We also received monetary donations totaling $350.
Even though we had to ask people to stay in their cars for health and safety reasons, it was great seeing familiar faces pulling up, even ever-so-briefly. And of course, it was wonderful to see all of you. There were 30 volunteers all-told.
Congratulations for all your efforts. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
— Diana Carter, Dining & Caring Center Board
(Continued on next page)
Photos by Glenn Peck and Sarah Brubaker
Here are a few screen grabs from the many virtual meetings we have had as a church during these isolating times.
Drive-Thru Food Drive, ctd.
Thank you to all the volunteers for making this Food Drive such a success!
BY THE NUMBERS
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 Organist Duane Prill.
Question: Tell us a little about your musical background?
Answer: I received my first piano lessons from my Welsh grandmother who, after an accident that didn’t allow her to reach an octave with her right hand anymore, declared that “I would need to learn to play so she could sing her Welsh hymn tunes!” At age 12, I started playing piano at our little country Methodist church. Later, the organist said I could try out the organ. I was hooked. I took lessons in my home town from Gloria Wendel (Ohio Wesleyan University graduate), who was an excellent teacher. She persuaded me to audition at Ohio Wesleyan University, where I had another fantastic teacher, Robert Griffith. While an undergraduate student, the OWU voice professor asked me to be his assistant organist at Williams Street United Methodist Church. While at OWU, I accompanied the college choir and Chamber Singers as well as many voice students. Next, it was off to Eastman School of Music for a Masters degree (and the first part of a Doctorate). Teachers Russell Saunders and David Craighead were simply the best! I was Director of Music at Transfiguration Lutheran Church before being asked to join the Asbury First staff as Organist..and the rest, as they say, is history.
Q: When did you join the Asbury First musical staff?
A: September, 1996.
Q: Tell us about an experience at Asbury First that
has really stuck with you:
A: Getting to play Josef Rheinberger’s Organ Concerto in F Major with full orchestra. It was a real thrill to collaborate with so many fine musicians as the “featured” soloist.
Q: Do you have a favorite musical moment,
either here at Asbury First or elsewhere?
A: It is exhilarating every time the Asbury First choirs and congregation sing hymns together—especially on Christmas Eve and Easter Sunday morning. This collective act of hymn singing often reminds me of how fortunate I am to get to play such a landmark organ in this inspiring space and for such a great congregation!
Q: What do you do when you're not playing at Asbury First?
A: I voice organ pipes for other congregations’ new and rebuilt organ projects. This is also a real calling and I feel that I am uniquely equipped to do this task well because of my years of church music-making. It is always nice to voice and balance an instrument for a congregation, knowing that the sounds I create will be used in divine worship for many generations.
Q: Tell us what's been helping you stay sane while sheltering at home:
A: Our beautiful home located in the Finger Lakes region. We have enjoyed many walks along the lake, gardening, and boating.
Get to Know Asbury First's Musical Staff
Photos by James Flack and David Strong
The new organ screens are being installed in the sanctuary. This is part of the Phase 1 Better Together project work focused on the 1040 building. We are grateful for the generous gift and are happy to have the installation underway.
Organ Screen Installation Underway
COMMUNITY & YOUTH MINISTRY
Harry Potter Escape Room
After starting with a session to share how the youth are feeling about what's going on—whether it's COVID-19 deaths hitting the 100,000 mark, George Floyd, the protest right here in Rochester, or the fact that the school year is coming to an end in an unexpected way. After that we lightened the mood by doing a virtual Harry Potter escape room! The middle school got to the halfway point and high school escaped. Could the high school have escaped without the groundwork the middle school laid down? I'll let you decide. In the meantime, enjoy some peeks at our Harry Potter escape room!
— Summer Sattora, Asst. Director of Youth Ministry
Grocery Bag Ministry Update
Keeping Our Promise Update
As we all adjust to this strange time, not sure if you've heard about how the Grocery Bag Ministry (GBM) have been trying to continue to help serve our community. To date, this has primarily meant continuing to provide eggs, potatoes, and onions to Cindy Malone for distribution with the KeepingOurPromise (KOP) Rochester Refugee Assistance program. We worked with her the last couple months, and plan to continue to do that each month. This off-campus coordination has primarily been orchestrated by one of our GBM volunteers, who has been following safety guidelines (masked and social-distanced). We continue to work with our distribution partners at Samaritan Harvest Ministries to get our usual monthly allotment of two-dozen eggs for each of the 20 refugee families, as well as continuing to fund and orchestrate public market pickup of the 150 pounds of potatoes and 50 pounds of onions that is distributed to the SIV refugee families under Cindy Malone's supervision.
We are also in contact with our partner churches, keeping them up to date on developments, sharing information about other food distribution sources (Foodlink network pantries, etc), and trying to support them as best we can.
While the Asbury First campus is safely closed, we are not doing our usual bagging of groceries, but are doing what we can safely to try and help hungry families in Rochester during this time of heightened food insecurity.
As always, GBM appreciates any donations (financial at this time), but once we open up again, all the usual list of valuable donations our congregation helps to provide will go into our grocery bags from our Outreach Box!
— Jim Carter and George Albright,
Grocery Bag Ministry
First, thank you to everyone for the support that the Asbury First community has offered over the past 5 years! We could not have helped 116 families and over 350 individuals from Afghanistan and Iraq without your help.
We currently have 34 families totaling 126 individuals in our current case load. These are families who have arrived in the last 9 months (some were working and lost their jobs). At this time, those SIV families who arrived after July 3, 2019 will not be receiving the "stimulus" money from the government, because they do not meet the test for a "substantial presence" in the U.S. to get these funds, so we need your help.
Ways in which you can help:
Paying a RG&E bill, placing some money on their RG&E account, or making a designated donation towards utility bills for a family.
Paying a phone bill for one month. The Metro PCS bill is $45 for a 10 GB plan and $55 for unlimited and they can use the phone as a "hot spot."
Assisting with rent. You can make a donation for rent, which can run from $680 to $1,100/month.
Send a gift card. We accept Price Rite, Wegmans, Aldi's, or Visa Gift Cards for families for food.
Car grants: We have three employed SIVs who have jobs, and no cars. They are being given rides to work. If you have a vehicle that could be donated, we will gladly accept donations of cars for our families. We also have four families in need of mini-vans, because the families are large, so if you are "downsizing" we are looking for mini-vans.
Although we had to cancel our Spring Dinner, we still have auction items available! Click here to see what items you can still bid on.
Thank you again, everyone, for all you have done for these wartime ally families.
— Ellen Smith, Program Director of KeepingOurPromise Rochester
Learn more at www.KeepingOurPromise.org. To make a donation, visit www.asburyfirst.org/give and note the "Outreach/Keeping Our Promise" fund.