Stuffies Go Missing

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

What you Need to Know About Worshipping On Campus

In order to continue with the on-campus portion of our hybrid worship format we’ll all need to work together to make the FBCR sanctuary a safe and comfortable place to worship.

Fill Out a Health Survey

In accordance with New York State guidelines we must keep a record of your presence on campus and your affirmation of health. There will be paper forms available, but you can save yourself and other worshipers a bit of time by filling it out online before you arrive. You may do this anytime within 24 hours prior to worship, so anytime after Saturday at 10:00 AM. You will be directed which door to enter, depending on whether you have completed your assessment in advance.

Dress for the Weather

In order to keep airflow in the sanctuary we will have the windows open unless it is bitterly cold. So the sanctuary may be a bit cool some weeks. Please feel free to wear an extra sweater or to keep your coat on during worship if you need to. The coat rooms are closed so we ask that you keep your coats with you in the empty seats within your pew.

Arrive Early

Entering the Sanctuary takes a bit more time than it has in the past. You’ll need to follow the flow of traffic markers, have your temperature checked, and find a seat at a distance from other worshipers. Don’t worry, there will be plenty of people here to help navigate this new way of entering worship.

Entering and Exiting the Sanctuary

In order to maintain social distance while entering and exiting the sanctuary you will find arrows and signs to designate the direction of the flow of traffic. Some of these directions may seem counterproductive, but they have been considered by a capable team of volunteers.

Submit Your Prayer Requests Ahead of Time

We will not be able to pass a microphone or have worshipers yell out their prayer requests. Please use one of the methods below to submit your prayer requests:

  • Email prayers@rochesterfbc.org by Saturday at 5pm.
  • Use the web form found here to submit a request.
  • Text Pastor Brent any time even up to the moment of prayer requests during worship. My cell phone number is published in the church directory.
  • If you’re worshiping from home you’re welcome to use any of these methods as well, but you’ll also have an opportunity to give your requests as per usual.

Save the Singing for Another Day

Congregational singing is a hazard until the pandemic is at an end. We are aware that this is a terrible loss, but we will still have beautiful music to adorn our worship. Our musicians will have protective barriers from which they will be able to sing. Once in while you might even hear a favorite hymn, just please refrain from joining in. We know that’s counterintuitive for a worshiping community, but it is the only safe way to be together for the moment. We’ll all be back to making a joyful sound together soon.

Be Nice to Our Technology

Some internet savvy folks may realize they could log on to Zoom from the sanctuary and get the best of both worlds. Clever! However, doing so will use bandwidth that is critical to our ability to conduct services online and could cause distracting feedback on Zoom and in the sanctuary. So if you’re on campus, please refrain from logging on to Zoom from your device.

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!

Before any on-campus visits

In order to follow the mandatory or suggested guidelines to open a facility in NYS, the church must follow certain protocol established in our FBCR Safety Plan. One criterion is that each staff, congregant, or visitor to the church must complete a health assessment prior to or upon your visit.

To speed up your check in process, please complete the health assessment online prior to coming to campus. This can be done at any time within 23 hours of arriving. This health assessment can be found in the website picture banner, the black bar at the top of the webpage, and under the COVID-19 Response Navigation tab. A temperature check is still request once you arrive.

If you forget to complete the assessment prior to your visit, you may complete one using your smart phone in the parking lot or use a paper health assessment form available just outside the church office, Monday through Saturday, and in the Garden Room (with overflow to the Library) on Sunday mornings.

Thank you for following this safety protocol.

Hybrid Worship

During the Pandemic, have you become quite familiar with Zoom? Are you capable of navigating your way around a computer – most of the time? Do you want to be part of on-campus worship experience? If you answer yes to any of these questions, we sure could use your help!

We have a small team of individuals who have been trained (some with little to no experience) on making sure our hybrid worship experience works as seamlessly as possible. There are 3 to 4 stations which assist in the hybrid worship process; each one with varying degrees of responsibility and experience needed. One station is in the midst of the congregation but the other three are located in the balcony (with one able to be done from home) which provides as much separation from others as one may desire.

Our goal would be to have enough individuals willing to assist in this task that each would be volunteering no more than 1 to 2 Sundays each month. We really need you. To learn more or to chat about what is involved, please contact Pastor Brent or Janet at the church office.

Welcome Home

We are working toward having a hybrid worship experience with some on-campus attendees while others continue to join us via Zoom.

Do you enjoy greeting the church family? Do you feel called to help out in some way? We need that help. We have established a new Welcome Home Team to assist with pre-worship greeting and ensuring the congregation follows our on-campus safety plan.

Their duties include:

  • initial greeting
    • taking non-contact temperatures
    • recording these readings
  • entry greeting
    • answering questions and directing flow patterns
    • monitoring the assessment/prayer request table
  • making seating recommendations
    • in sanctuary flow patterns
    • social distance seating recommendations
  • on-campus readers

We currently have 14 Assistants but would love to have a few more to help cover for illness, injury, and more. Our hope is our Assistants will not have to be on duty more than 2 Sundays a month. If being part of our Welcome Home Team sounds like a task you may be interested in, please contact us at office@rochesterfbc.org. Someone will reach out to you to provide further information or answer your questions.

Communion Sunday, September 6

You are invited to join in communion via Zoom. Grab a loaf of bread and some juice or wine. If you don’t have those substitute whatever you do have.

Separation through space (or time for that matter) cannot tear apart what God has brought together, the church. Having celebrated Christ’s most foundational command, that we love one another, around ceremonial tables for centuries we have learned that physical togetherness is only a part of our communion.

We are well prepared for this moment so come to the table, to your table – your kitchen table or dining table or coffee table or end table or no physical table at all – come bringing whatever you have: bread or cracker or cake or muffin or a twinkie if it’s the only thing in reach. Bring your wine or water or the juice of any fruit, bring whatever you have and more importantly come as you are. Wherever you are now is the table of God’s love, whatever you have is your offering to God and God’s to you, whoever you are – you are invited to feast, we are all invited to feast together.

Pandemic Food Drive Results

Thank you everyone who participated in a fun, rare outing at FBCR at our Drive-in Pandemic Food Drive with Carillon Concert and BYO Lunch Tailgate Social (with distancing and masking). It was so good to be together, even if six feet or more apart. Are you interested in hearing more?

Well, it could not have gone better.

We are so pleased at the generosity of the congregation. There was $245 dollars donated to purchase food which we have split between St. Mark’s and St. John’s Episcopal, serving the Beechwood area, and the Center for Youth, serving displaced teens and young adults.

In addition, to the dollars received, people showed up to drop off food in our drive-in event. These donations were also generous with 363 items donated to St. Mark’s and St. John’s and 6 bags of items (valued at about $200) were donated to the Center for Youth. Thank you to the Missions Committee and Sarah Oaks for coordinating this effort. It was a great success! But that is not all…

In addition to the great response to help our neighbors, Sam Baker, our interim church organist, serenaded us to a wonderful Carillon (steeple chimes) Concert. Playing a variety of music, Sam entertained us while we enjoyed the pleasant afternoon chatting with friends with the beautiful sounds in the air. We were so happy to see all 50 of you who participated in one or many parts of the event. Thank you to the Worship/Music Committee for expanding the Food Drive event with the concert and tailgate event through suggestions from members of the congregation.

It was a great day!

Allie Utley Preaching

A dear friend of mine, Allie Utley, will preach in my stead while I am away on vacation Sunday, July 19.

Allie Utley is a PhD candidate in Homiletics and Liturgics at Vanderbilt University and a candidate for ordination in the Presbyterian Church. This past year she has been teaching at a small Presbyterian seminary and finishing her dissertation. Allie lives in Northern California and spends as much time as possible exploring the outdoors and eating great food.