Full Service of Ordination for Tim Gaura

After years of education and preparation our own Tim Gaura has reached a celebratory moment in living out his call to vocational ministry. Over a year ago we asked the Ordination Committee of The Rochester Genesee Region of American Baptist Churches USA to guide Tim through the process of affirming his call. Having met all requirements, that committee gave us permission to assemble the larger, Permanent Council on Ordination consisting of a lay delegate from every congregation in the region and all ordained clergy affiliated with the region. That group has heartily commended Tim back to FBCR for ordination!!

Congratulations, Tim!

In the late summer, we as a church affirmed Tim’s calling in a Service of Ordination. Due to the rise of COVID transmission rates at the time, we formally ordained him during a Sunday service on August 22. Now we are able to hold a stand alone Service of Ordination on Sunday, November 7 at 3:00 PM in the sanctuary. We hope you are able to attend and participate in Tim’s full ordination.

All Saints Sunday

On Sunday, October 31 we will give thanks to God for those who have gone before us and had an impact on our life of faith – our saints. Part of our expressions of gratitude that morning will be memorialize our saints with images or mementos. If you plan to worship with us on campus that morning, bring along a photo of your saints or a small object that brings their memory to mind. If you will be worshiping online that morning send us a photo for digital display and prepare to have a candle ready to light in your digital worship space. Send photos to .

As the temperatures lower

For the safety of the community, First Baptist-Rochester will continue to keep the circulation of air in the sanctuary on Sunday mornings by opening windows and/or use of fans. We recommend that attendees bring a sweater or coat to their seat to ward off any chill one may feel in the room and to remain comfortable through the service


“Fugues and Fudge” Organ Recital at Greece Baptist Church – Cheryl Frank

On Friday October 15, at 7:00pm, Cheryl Frank will perform an organ concert at Greece Baptist Church (1230 Long Pond Road), as part of a series of events to benefit the church’s organ repair fund.

Rev. Cheryl Frank, a native of Racine, Wisconsin, started playing organ for churches at age 13. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Oberlin Conservatory, with a major in viola and a minor in organ, and a Master of Music degree (viola) from the Eastman School of Music. She was a finalist in the Chicago Club of Women Organists’ Annual Organ Performance Competition (1993).

Cheryl has played organ for churches in Wisconsin, Ohio, Louisiana, and New York, including Gates Presbyterian Church (1994-99) and First Baptist Church of Rochester (2005-2015). Cheryl has played viola in several orchestras, including the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra (1999-2005) and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.

The program will include Fugues by Dietrich Buxtehude, J.S. Bach, and Felix Mendelssohn, as well as works by Marcel Dupre and John Ferguson. Cheryl will be joined for this recital by her daughter, Joanna Frank, 15, a cello student of Christopher Haritatos, and a member of the Hochstein Youth Symphony Orchestra. Joanna will perform Gabriel Faure’s Elegie, arranged for cello and organ.

Greece Baptist Church’s pipe organ was built in 1894 by Jardine & Son of New York for St. Patrick’s Church in Buffalo. Originally comprising 18 ranks of pipes, it became available in 1982 and was brought here, installed and expanded to 27 ranks by Kerner & Merchant Pipe Organ Builders. The organ was damaged in a church fire in 1990, then restored by Parsons Organ Co. of Canandaigua.

This historic instrument is now in need of some repair—so while there will be no admission charge for the concert, donations will be gratefully accepted toward the Organ Repair Fund. Free finger desserts (including fudge!) will be served after the performance. All guests will be asked to wear masks, regardless of vaccination status. For more information, contact the church office at (585) 225-6160, or 

Watch Benjamin’s Ordination

If you were unable to watch Benjamin Smith’s very moving ordination live on Sunday, September 19, 2021 at 3:00 PM EST or if you would like to see it again, you may follow the link below to the Northminster Baptist Church-Special Events, (Benjamin’s home church) to view the service. You may need to scroll through their Playlist for Benjamin’s service once other services are added.

Do Not Respond to Requests for Gift Cards

If you have received emails from an account that appears to be from Pastor Brent requesting gift cards, DO NOT respond. This is a scam and all value on those cards will be stolen.

If you have already purchased gift cards:

  • Call the issuer of the gift card NOW. Do Not wait. See if the funds can be frozen or refunded. Let them know the purchase was fraudulent.
  • If the funds are already lost or unable to be frozen, try calling your credit card company or bank to see if the charges can be reversed.

How to avoid scams of this type in the future:

  • As a volunteer organization, FBCR will occasionally ask for assistance, including financial assistance. If you received this kind of communication verify its authenticity before taking action. Speak to the sender via a form of communication other than the request (2 factor authentication). Give us a call in the office to verify.
  • When you receive emails, don’t rely on the name on the email. That information is publicly available. Look at the email address to see if it is known to you. If it isn’t, do not respond. If it is, still verify the authenticity of the message through another form of communication before responding.

Fall 2021 @ FBCR

Faith Formation


Sundays ~10:25-11:00am

Children will attend worship with the full congregation until just after the Children’s Time then will meet their Sunday School teachers to head out for a fun and engaging time of learning and growing specifically for early faith development.

Kindred Hearts

Sundays 11:15-11:50 am

Whether you’re a parent or not, partnered, single, a student, a professional, some combination thereof, or even just trying to figure out just who you are; the world is a hectic and challenging place these days. On Sundays our Kindred Hearts group will pause to reflect on topics relevant to living faithful, fulfilled lives amid the chaos of today’s world. We begin the Fall Semester discussing the surprising relevance Ignatian spirituality has for our lives today. In other words, we’ll be making contemplative prayer fun!

Wednesday Faith Formation

Wednesdays 6:00-7:00 pm, Now Online Only & In Hubbell Hall

A central tenet of Baptist belief holds that every individual is responsible for their own approach to faith. Even so, we believe that responsibility cannot be fulfilled in a vacuum. On Wednesdays we gather for the purpose of growing in community. Through topical conversations, Bible studies, collective spiritual practices, experiential learning, and other modes we strive to provide for one another the materials from which faith is built.

We begin this Fall with series on:


Wednesdays, September 15, 22, 29

Life of Faith

Wednesdays, October 6, 13

Lake Avenue Baptist Church Celebrates 150 Years

Date TBD

Sunday Forum

In order to minimize the amount of time we are together in an enclosed space, Sunday Forum remains largely on hiatus. One exception is planned and a few others may follow. On Sunday, October 17, Missionaries, Lori and Matt Mann, will be on campus to report on their work in Laos and Thailand. 11:15 to 11:45 AM.

Who are "Kindred Hearts?"

At FBCR the Kindred Hearts are largely known as the parents of our church’s little ones. While this is mostly the case, the Kindred Hearts is also open to all our church’s young adults, both single and partnered, who are interested in fellowshipping with people in their age group!


Coffee Hour

When the family is all together, FBCR loves to have time to catch up and enjoy the company of the full community. One of our favorite times to do just that has been “Coffee Hour” (which is only 15 minutes) immediately following worship on Sundays. The pandemic has made serving food and beverage more challenging, so we’ll forego the coffee for a while longer, but we’ll still be together for conversation and company. There’s no coffee and it isn’t an hour, but join us all the same at Coffee Hour!

Kindred Hearts

Dinner @ Basha – Sep 24*  (*separate activities for children)

Parents Night Out/Kids Night In – Oct 8*

Trunk Or Treat – Oct 31

Intergenerational Harvest Dinner – Nov 7

Seneca Park Zoo – Nov 21

Caroling & Cocoa – Dec 5

On Hiatus

We continue to look forward to the following elements of the life of FBCR returning the realities presented by the pandemic allow for them to become safe and practical.
Choral & Congregational Singing
Singing together in an enclosed environment remains one of the greatest risks of mass transmission of the virus. We will look forward to joining together in hymns again as soon as the pandemic is under control. Keep a look out though, for potential ensemble music opportunities soon.
Sunday Forum
In order to minimize the amount of time we are together in an enclosed space, Sunday Forum remains largely on hiatus. One exception is planned and a few others may follow. On Sunday, October 17, Missionaries, Lori and Matt Mann, will be on campus to report on their work in Laos and Thailand. 11:15 to 11:45 AM.
Remains on hiatus as post-pandemic plans and leadership are considered.
Book Club
Conversations have begun in consideration of resuming book club soon. Watch the Diaspora Times for more.
Remington Hubbel Circle
Conversations about next steps when the pandemic resides have begun. Stay tuned.
Coffee at Coffee Hour
It still won’t be an hour, but when the risk of virus transmission resides we’ll have coffee again.

Worship & Music

The Future of Online Worship @ FBCR

While worship during a global pandemic has been taxing in many ways, we’ve also grown through the experience. While we do anxiously await the day that the remaining safety protocols made necessary by the virus can be set aside, we also have good reason to continue making worship available via Zoom. During the pandemic we, as a community have reunited with FBCR folks who cannot attend physically due to a move or health concerns, we’ve invited extended family and friends from afar to join us, we’ve had worship participants and even preachers from other parts of the country. For these reasons and so many more, the FBCR Worship Committee is not making plans to end our Zoom worship. Quite to the contrary, they are considering ways to enhance the experience for worshipers both on campus and online as well as to integrate the necessary technology more permanently into our primary worship space.

As of the time of this posting we are worshiping in a hybrid format. Worshipers are welcome on campus and requested to wear a face mask and remain socially distant from other worshipers. Worship is also available via Zoom by logging in through the church home page or simply clicking here.

Children's Music

Sundays 11:15 to 11:45 am

Immediately following Coffee Hour each Sunday the children of FBCR will gather to learn and enjoy kid-friendly sacred music. Whether playing instruments or singing together, the kids will have a great time, learn to appreciate a time-honored form of worship, and even have opportunities to perform and lead in worship.

Section Leaders Return

The pandemic has put a pause on FBCR’s choral program, but we were blessed last year to have our choral section leaders who transitioned quickly to becoming our primary vocalists in worship. Now, at the beginning of the 2021/22 program year, still warding off the effects of a pandemic, we are again blessed to have four tremendous talents joining us as vocalists once more. Ella Torres and Jack O’Leary are back with us and Lauren Case and Andrew Miller join the ensemble for the first time this Fall! Welcome!

NOW ALL ONLINE – Wednesday Evening Faith Formation Returns with Series on Sabbath

Begins September 15… Updated September16


That’s how virtually every person on the planet feels in these dragging days of the global pandemic. Whether it is the virus itself, the precautions it has made necessary, or just the usual weight of life made heavier by those things we’re all tired. We’re out of energy, grasping for creativity, desperate for newness and vitality.

Hebrew and Christian scripture and tradition have given us the concept of sabbath – the making of all things new. On Wednesdays, September 15, 22, and 29 we will explore these traditions and consider how they might influence the way we go about caring for ourselves, one another, and our communities in a time of depletion.

Join us each Wednesday from 6-7:00 pm in Hubbell Hall (while possible, masked, distanced) or on Zoom.

Log in using the usual method or by clicking here.

Zoom Updates Coming

On November 1 Zoom will begin requiring that the software your computer or device uses to access worship be updated more regularly than in the past. You will be notified when it is time to upgrade, but that may happen when you’re trying to log in to worship or a church gathering causing you to miss part. In order to avoid that, we recommend staying ahead of the updates and making them as soon as they become available. The video below gives instructions on how to do that. If these instructions prove unhelpful we may be able to help depending on the device and operating system you use. Give us a call in the office to inquire if you are unable to upgrade on your own.


Interfaith Power & Light ED to Give Advocacy Training @ FBCR

On Thursday, October 28, from 7-8:30pm, Rabbi Glenn Jacob will help us to explore how our faith perspectives are valuable assets when speaking to our legislators on climate and other issues. We will do some role-playing, and there will be plenty of time for questions.

Rabbi Glenn Jacob is the executive director of the New York chapter of Interfaith Power & Light. Before coming to NYIPL he served synagogues from the Deep South to Long Island for over 25 years. In the Deep South, Rabbi Jacob was a civil rights advocate on issues of church and state, reproductive rights, hate group monitoring with the Southern Poverty Law Center, and funding for public education. In Philadelphia, Rabbi Jacob was the founding chair of the Interfaith Gathering of Lower Bucks (County). He is also an accomplished storyteller, lobbyist, and preacher .

Rabbi Jacob is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis with a degree in philosophy. He received a Master’s Degree in Hebrew and ordination from Hebrew Union College (HUC) in Cincinnati. He also received his Doctor of Divinity from HUC.

This event is jointly sponsored by RAICA (Rochester Interfaith Climate Action) and the Creation Collaborative of the ABC-RGR (American Baptist Churches of the Rochester Genesee Region).

Please register for this event here.

To attend virtually, login here or by clicking “Join Worship-Live Check In” under the “Worship Online” menu item at rochesterfbc.org.

To attend in person: First Baptist Church of Rochester 175 Allens Creek Rd, Rochester, NY 14618

NOTE: in the event of further Covid precautions becoming necessary registered participants will be notified by email


Ordination of Benjamin Smith

On September 19 at 3 PM…

Benjamin will be ordained by his home church, Northminster Baptist Church, in Jackson, Mississippi on Sunday, September 19 at 3pm (EDT). Thanks to the gift of technology we will be able to livestream his ordination together. Join us on Zoom by logging in here or simply by using the usual login method on the home or worship online pages.

Jubilee Sunday – 9/12

FBCR has a custom of trumpeting (sometimes literally) in the new program year with great festivities and joyous worship. That Sunday is upon us once more, but we remain in the grip of a relentless pandemic. The current spike in transmission continues to cast a shadow of tentativeness over the Fall Semester and the necessary precautions we continue to utilize dampen the otherwise full-throated joy we might express. Even so, a new program year is beginning within the church and a new academic year is beginning for our families and our community. So there is celebration to be had even still.

Join us in worship on Sunday, September 12 (10 AM) to prayerfully mark the coming of this new year of activity. That morning we will offer a blessing for all educators and learners; make mention of some of the plans for Faith Formation for children, youth, families, and adults this Fall; and otherwise ask for God’s blessing on the days ahead.

We will save our fullest expressions of joy and celebration for the day we can be rid of the pandemic and the struggles it has placed upon us, but we will nonetheless give thanks to God for opportunities immediately before us.

Join us in person or on Zoom!