As we begin to gather once again on a regular basis at the church, we ask that the leaders of the various groups within the church, contact the church office to reserve rooms and/or to place your event on the church calendar. This will ensure that you are able to use the room you prefer along with informing others of your event.
At long last, the time has come to be back together in the sanctuary beginning July 18!
Our 71st week of worship following the arrival of the global pandemic in Rochester will be a special week of worship indeed. The Associate Pastor Search Committee has already announced that their recommendation for that position, Benjamin W. Smith (more on that here), will be here to preach in view of a call that week. Now the Covid Task Force and Worship Committees have informed us that we are ready to move back into our beautiful and beloved sanctuary the same week! Here are just a few things worshipers need to know:
While transmission rates are quite low, there is still cause for some caution. If rates of transmission rise in our area again some precautions may need to be reinstated.
Services will continue to be available via Zoom by logging in as usual here.
While in the sanctuary, we will continue to maintain social distance, and the room will be ventilated to the maximum degree feasible.
Face coverings will be optional for fully vaccinated worshipers. Those who haven’t yet been vaccinated AND those who will be in close proximity to our young worshipers (children under 12) are asked to please continue to wear a face covering.
For the time, no health screening form or temperature check at arrival will be necessary for any worshipers.
On Sundays during February and in recognition of Black History Month, FBCR has used poems from Maya Angelou as our call to worship. Recognizing Dr. Angelou works, was along with a focus during Children’s Time on influencial African Americans (known and not so known), helped us focus on the many contributions of Black Americans.
Below, we have provided links to the poems read during worship, written by Maya Angelou, who was known as an American poet, memoirist, civil rights activist, dancer, singer, actress, producer, professor, mentor, and more.
Due to copyright regulations, we do not have permission from the author (or family/estate) to print her poem here but we can provide you with a link to where you may find it printed on the internet. On the site called Allpoetry.com where they state that the poems were supplied to them by the owner/author.
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)
Houses of Faith from across religious perspectives will be together in prayer for our country on Inauguration morning. Join us to share in prayers led by faith leaders from around Rochester on Wednesday, January 20 at 9am via Zoom.
Join the gathering here.
For our Republic…
In light of the events of 1/6/21, Bob Morris asks for prayers for our republic. If ever, in our 200+ years, we needed sustenance and support, it is now.
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!
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.
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.
Please be in prayer for Skylar who tested positive for COVID-19. Fortunately sbe does not have symptoms. Also add to those prayers some for the entire Dickason family because Skylar had just visited home this weekend for an early Thanksgiving which now places the entire family in quarantine for 14 days.
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.
In our post-worship Zoom discussion, Tim Gaura, serving as a chaplain intern at the University of Rochester suggested the following article to us. This article is written for therapists, but states it provides a lot of good information. You may read it here: