Commemorating the 25th Anniversary of 5 Disfellowshipped Congregations

January 27, 2021, 5:30 PM – PT/6:30PM – MT/7:30 PM – CT/8:30 PM – ET over Zoom!

Dear AWAB Friends:

On Wednesday evening, January 27, 2021, The Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists has rescheduled a worship service via Zoom in commemoration of the 25th Anniversary of the disfellowshipping of five faithful American Baptist congregations by their regions for their membership in AWAB.   The service of song, prayer, and testimony will lift up the pain of these actions, their ongoing significance, and the hope their memory calls forth.   The service will begin at 5:30 PM Pacific/6:30 PM Mountain/7:30 PM Central/8:30 PM Eastern.  

Topic: Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists – “Ours The Journey”

Service of Worship Time: Jan 27, 2021 05:30 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Zoom details for this gathering are below:  

Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8599095914?pwd=ZTJMcFBqZVA5WFZYZlhKVEcxektjUT09

Meeting ID: 859 909 5914 Passcode: 192833

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Meeting ID: 859 909 5914 Passcode: 192833

Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kduAlG7nQl

We hope you can join us as we gather virtually as an AWAB family to honor our past struggle so that we can look ahead always with strength and hope.

     

A National Moment of Unity and Remembrance

First Baptist – Rochester, NY will join other churches across our nation as we ring our bells in memory of the 394,495 individuals1 who lost their life to COVID. The ringing will begin at 5:30 PM on Tuesday, January 19, 2021.

The bell will toll 39 times, a mere .01% of the lives lost, and will conclude with the hymn “On Eagles Wings” played on our Carillon. You may show your remembrance at home by turning on your porch light or by displaying a light in a front facing window from 5:30 to 6:00 PM.

1 www.cdc.gov/nchs/covid-19.htm (reported by the CDC as of noon on January 17, 2021)

Could you help answer phones?

Did you know that our Administrative Assistant, Katelyn, would soon be going on maternity leave? She is. We are wondering if you could help us out by answering the phone. You can do this from home, on a landline or a cell phone. You can do this one day a week, one day a month, or even just one day. We are especially seeking help on Fridays when other staff members have days off but would accept help on other days as well. All calls will be forwarded to your telephone between 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM on the day you volunteer. You do need to know “all the answers.” We would just like to have a kind, warm, and smiling person greeting the caller. Once the call is answered, listen to the request, answer the question if you are able or take a messages and either email or text each message to the appropriate individual depending on the urgency of the call. It is an easy way to help out from the comfort of your own home. Contact Janet if you are able to help at .

FBCR Annual Meeting

The Annual Meeting of the First Baptist Church of Rochester and Society will be held on Sunday, January 31, 2021 a few minutes after worship concludes (roughly 11am).

The agenda will include the voting on the slate of nominees for the Board of Trustees: Sharon Hamann and Mark Harnischfeger, the voting on the slate of Officers to the Council, the voting on the slate of Chairpersons, and the approving of the various Delegates. The Pastor will give his report and the Board of Trustees were share the 2020 ending finances and present for approval the 2021 budget.

To attend the meeting you can login here or through the usual Worship login links.

Winter Offensive of the National Homeless Union

As part of the ongoing NUH 2020 Winter Offensive, the NUH and the Nonviolent Medicaid Army (of which NUH is a member), will co-host a Virtual Gathering in celebration of Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s Birthday.  This event will be held on Friday January 15th, 2021  from 7 – 9pm EST and will highlight the original PPC as well as the organizing efforts today to build the NUH and the entire movement to end poverty led by the poor and dispossessed, work that builds on the historical work of MLK during the last three years of his life (1965-1968) that ultimately led to his assassination. The event will feature speakers from the NUH, NVMA, and the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival reading and reflecting on some of MLK’s more famous quotes during the building of the Poor People’s Campaign: a new and unsettling force!
We will also highlight the 5 year Anniversary of both the Salinas CA HU and Rochester NY HU, our earliest unions founded during the organizing efforts to re-establish the NUH!Please REGISTER HEREThis event will be streamed on the NUH Facebook Page and YouTube Channel. We look forward to being with you at this powerful event in honor of MLK and the PPC. Please share this information far and wide.

NUH YouTube Channel:  NUH YouTube Channel – Live Stream

FB: NUH FACEBOOK PAGE FOR LIVE STREAMING

Stewardship Thanks

The Trustees would like to thank all of you who submitted to the church your pledge for 2021. We have received 75% of our usual giving units to date. The FBCR community has worked together to make this challenging year of 2020 fulfilling – in worship – and with various opportunities for being together in community – even if that is on Zoom. Our journey is not yet over and we’re in this together for just a little while longer as the vaccines become available and dispensed.

In an effort to make our budgeting process as accurate as possible, we would appreciate everyone who has not submitted their pledge, to do so now for future planning. If you have never before pledged, please consider doing so in 2021. Any amount is appreciated. You can choose to give periodically or all at one time. Whatever is most comfortable for you. Many people start small and then as your circumstance change, you are able to later give more, it will be welcomed.

To make it easy, you may pledge online at We’re In This Together, send an email to , or mail a pledge card to the church office. Finally if you wish you may choose to set up a recurring giving online, through our contribute page. This is a simple and easy way to contribute on a regular basis (a log-in is required for recurring gifts).

We thank each and every one of you for helping support current and ongoing mission and ministry of FBCR!

Celebrating Advent and Christmas 2020

Christmas Eve Drive In Service:

Despite the pandemic, we will be together for a candle light Christmas service this year. On Christmas Eve we will gather, from the safety of our own vehicles, in the church parking lot to celebrate Christ’s arrival.

For the sake of planning this most unusual service it will be helpful to know how many vehicles may be present. Sign up is not necessary to attend, but if you know you’re coming please let us know with the fast, simple form here.

Service sound will be provided through the FM radio in your own vehicle. If you aren’t familiar already, you may want to learn to tune your radio before that evening. The station and all other instructions on how to view and hear the service will be given when you arrive that evening.

The service begins at 5:30pm and is available via Zoom for those who cannot attend in person. Login is here or via the usual worship login link.

Longest Night: Has concluded

On the longest night of the year, Monday, December 21, we will via Zoom for a moment of prayer and reflection setting aside time to acknowledge the grief and pain that faces us during this otherwise joyful season. The service will begin at 6:00pm and you can log in here or by using the usual worship link.

Pittsford Food Cupboard Thanks

Covid-19 has required the clients at Pittsford Food Cupboard (PFC) to wait outside instead of entering the facility while food is gathered for them. In order to make things easier the PFC Board erected a roof over the outdoors deck where clients wait. To assist PFC, First Baptist – Rochester donated some of the leftover marine-grade vinyl which was purchased in a bulk roll at a significant savings over the per yard rate. This vinyl was used to build the section leader and piano COVID barriers as protection for our musicians in the sanctuary through a generous donation from the Susan Boulay Memorial Music Fund.

PFC used the leftover vinyl to enclose the roofed waiting space. PFC Board Member, Richard Wien was told that PFC is very grateful as the material held up well in the high winds of the last weekend and provides a much needed wind and rain/snow barrier. PFC thanks FBCR for our help as it will make the winter situation easier for clients who they do not anticipate having inside until at least next spring or summer.

Back to the Diaspora Times

Where things stand

A Trustee Update:

The Board of Trustees feel that it would be good to let the congregation know where we stand financially through the Pandemic. Even though we are having significantly reduced giving, especially from our facility users, we have also had some reduced expenses. We have been running better than anticipated through much of the year but in October that gap reduced significantly. In October, giving was down and our expenses exceed income by almost $17,000. Although we approved a 2020 budget with a deficit of $22,000, we currently expect to have a larger deficit by year end.

There are several factors contributing to this expected deficit including user income is currently $17,000 under budget and we expect remain well below budgeted as only two self-help groups with very light numbers have returned to campus. Also, our pledge income is running on budget currently but is expected to fall short by year end which can be traced predominantly to no cash (plate passing) donations which range between $10,000 abd $20,000 each year with a significant amount of that received from October through December. Good news is expenses are running $16,500 under budget as well which has kept us from a much larger deficit. In October alone, pledge/loose offering ran $6,000 under our budgeted amount.

We are grateful to the many members of the congregation who have been able to keep up with their pledges during these unusual times and we thank you for your continued support now and into the coming year. Pledges for 2021 are now being accepted by mail, by phone, or online at www.rochesterfbc.org/together.

An Invitation from the Stuffies to Everyone @ FBCR

To recap:

The stuffies have invited everyone at First Baptist to join together in celebrating advent, which begins on Sunday, November 29, by putting together an Advent wreath or set of candles to light at the same time during Zoom worship. Here are some photos of samples and links to creative ways to put a wreath/candles together:

A wreath made by Anna Bowden for FBCR’s 2016 Christmas Art Gallery

A video demonstrating how to make a beautiful wreath without the use of tools.

A demonstration video for a slightly more involved wreath.

An image of a very simple wreath made from a block of wood with four holes bored in.

Rochester Interfaith Thanksgiving Service

For nearly 150 years, Rochesterians of different religious traditions have joined together for an Interfaith Thanksgiving Day Service. This year, we’ll continue this tradition of coming together and promoting the wellbeing of our broader community by holding our service online on Zoom and Facebook Live.


Rev. Myra Brown of Spiritus Christi will preach.Worship begins at 11:00 am with time for fellowship before and after the service.This year’s online format aims to be our biggest and most inclusive yet. Feel free to invite friends and family of all faiths or no religious affiliation at all to this important community event.

Our own Music Director, David Labman, and Pastor, Brent Bowden will be participating in the service.

Login here or on the home page.

IMPORTANT: Worship Format Change

In order to support the health and safety of the congregation and our wider community we are announcing some changes to our worship format effective Sunday, November 8.

While services will continue to be broadcast from the church sanctuary we are now encouraging all worshipers to attend worship via Zoom from home.

This change will allow us to manage the heightened risk of virus transmission we’re experiencing throughout our community. It will also allow us to keep the volume of in-person participants low enough to allow a small number of persons who are unable to attend digitally to continue joining in person.

If you do not have the option of attending online and would like to attend in person, please let the church office know by 5pm the Thursday prior to the Sunday of your attendance so that we can be prepared for your attendance.