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).

Check back on this post and the wider church web site for a copy of the annual report in the days ahead.

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


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.

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.

All Saints Sunday, Nov. 1

On Sunday, November 1 we will give thanks to God for those who have gone before us and had an impact on our life of faith – our saints. Due to safety protocols we will not be able to memorialize these special persons in the same way we have in the past few years. Rather, we will be piecing together a digital remembrance and we would love for you to participate by sending in a photo of someone you would like to remember. These photos will be digitally incorporated into worship that Sunday morning.

Photos may be sent to and will be needed by the end of the day Thursday, October 29.

A Prophetic Call to Reformation – Rev. James Forbes in Worship 10/18

In leveraging the opportunity of virtual gatherings, we are thrilled to join with Christian communities across the country in welcoming the Rev. Dr. James Forbes to our church on October 18. In partnership with the Alliance of Baptists, Dr. Forbes has prepared a timely message at such a crucial moment in our nation’s history.

Preaching from John 3:1-8, Dr. Forbes will proclaim the call for ongoing reform and renewal within the church. He writes, “We are reminded that an authentic ‘born again’ experience must include a continuous process of being renewed in the spiritual connection to the family of God.  To have a vibrant relationship with God demands that we treat our fellow human beings with justice and compassion. Racial bigotry and brutality are incompatible with the genuine claim of being ‘born again.’”

Ongoing calls for reform and renewal within the church are a central part of our history. Today’s cry for renewal and reform in the church is a call to repentance and continuing engagement with the long, demanding, necessary and life-giving process of turning away from racism and turning toward the beloved community. 

We hope you’ll plan on joining us in welcoming Dr. Forbes on October 18!

The Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes Jr. is National Minister of the Drum Major Institute, Senior Minister Emeritus of the Riverside Church, the Harry Emerson Fosdick Distinguished Professor at Union Theological Seminary, and President of the Healing of the Nations Ministries (all of these institutions of New York City). Additionally, Dr. Forbes is a highly acclaimed author, scholar and nationally sought-after speaker, affectionately referred to in national and international religious circles as the preacher’s preacher because of his extensive preaching career and his charismatic style. Newsweek magazine once recognized Forbes as one of the 12 “most effective preachers” in the English-speaking world. As a passionate educator, administrator, community and human rights activist and interfaith leader, Dr. Forbes was twice designated as one of America’s greatest Black preachers by Ebony magazine. Dr. Forbes is a featured TEDex speaker and also a frequent guest & contributor to top national media outlets including Huffington Post, MSNBC and others. 

Worship Tech Team Help

The team ensuring a joint online worship experience each Sunday could use a bit of help. Having a few more dedicated persons would create a volunteer rotation so that not everyone is needed every Sunday. While a general understanding of computers would be helpful, no particular experience is needed. All necessary training will be provided. To volunteer, contact pastor Brent.

I found more stuffies having fun

See all their shenanigans here: www.rochesterfbc.org/shenanigans

October 1, 2020

Well, I didn’t expect that! The stuffies aren’t just having a good time – they’re having a good time AND chipping in to make the world a better place.


September 24, 2020

Some of you have sent in “stuffies” to represent you on the chancel steps during children’s time and the rest of worship. Well, they’ve escaped. I’m looking for them and I’ll keep everyone posted as to where I find them. For the latest on their whereabouts and what they’re up to check in at www.rochesterfbc.org/shenanigans

Great Free Events to be part of ABCRGR Biennial Meeting

Ordinarily the Rochester Genesee Region of the ABC USA, of which our congregation is part, holds a biennial business meeting and gathering. Workshops, social gatherings, meaningful worship, and other events typically abound on the weekend of the biennial. This year will be no different – except the format will be spread out over two non-contiguous weeks and will be all online.

Week One (September 21-27) will feature events that will help process, consider, and build resilience during a time of pandemic.

Week Two (October 5-10) will have racial justice as its theme and is full of opportunities to dialogue, learn and grow.

Check out the full slate of events and see which ones you would like to attend.

Oh by the way – it’s all free!!!!

(Donations accepted of course)

Section Leaders 2020-21

We have two returning section leaders this year, both seniors at Eastman: Ella Torres, soprano and Danielle Romano, alto. Our new bass section leader, a freshman at Eastman from Philadelphia, is Jack O’Leary. Josh Carlisle, a first year masters student at Eastman is our new tenor section leader. He is from Tacoma, Washington.

You have been seeing and hearing our section leaders recently as soloists. However, beginning October 4, they will appear each Sunday as a quartet and will provide the majority of our choral music this season. Although COVID has prevented our adult choir from performing live this season, you will see and hear them periodically as a prerecorded, virtual choir.

Please welcome back Ella and Danielle! And please extend a warm welcome to Josh and Jack!