Subject: West Side Update – May 5

Redeemer WestSide
WestSide Update
May 5, 2014

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Luis Iza
Co-founder, The Open Door NJNY

“The road that The Open Door travels takes us across or into a population representing 17 nations who have limited or no English,” says Luis Iza, who co-founded The Open Door NJNY with his wife, Maggie. “Every new teacher that comes forward will allow us to reach out to 15 more immigrants.”

The Open Door NJNY offers immigrants English classes, support groups designed to strengthen the family, and inspirational talks. They strive to enable immigrants to better communicate with their families and within their community, and they offer programs for both children and adults. The Open Door NJNY was a finalist for the Center for Faith & Work’s E&I Business Plan Competition this year.

Luis and The Open Door NJNY are now partnering with our WS congregation to pilot an ESL program at the W83 Ministry Center this fall.

Luis is from Cuba and has lived in NYC since 1961. “Our home was a typical immigrant’s home initially, with three generations living together in one apartment — grandparents, uncles and aunts, parents and us in one apartment,” says Luis. “My first Anglo friends were ladies that invested themselves in a scared little boy when I was 9. I later realized why they treated our family with dignity, respect and kindness — they knew that newcomers are also made in God’s image.”

Through The Open Door NJNY, Luis strives to show immigrants the same care and valuing that these ladies first showed him.

Luis and Maggie have one son, Gerald. They’ve been involved at Redeemer since it first started in 1989. Luis was part of the first board of directors for Hope for New York (HFNY), and he founded Operation Exodus, an HFNY affiliate. Now partnering with Redeemer West Side and HFNY to start ESL classes at the W83 Ministry Center, Luis is glad for the opportunity to involve WS volunteers in serving the community of non-English speakers. “There are so many different opportunities to volunteer, not limited to teaching during the week,” he says. “It is exciting that Redeemer is opening its doors to the vulnerable.”

As a church of Jesus Christ, Redeemer exists to help build a great city for all people through a gospel movement that brings personal conversion, community formation, social justice and cultural renewal to New York City and, through it, to the world.
Hello ,

This past year you may have noticed that we are beginning to offer classes again here at Redeemer. Equipping Christians to live out their faith in the city is a crucial part of our mission and our West Side Classes are an important part of our strategy to help achieve that goal.

At the heart of West Side Classes is the belief that deeper teaching and equipping in the Christian faith leads us into radically outward-facing lives in our homes, neighborhoods and workplaces. To that end, our classes are offered in four Sessions: Fall, Winter, Lent and Spring. The typical class ranges just three to five weeks, at W83 at 1:15 p.m. on Sundays (right after the 11:30 a.m. service), making it a more manageable time commitment for busy New Yorkers.

In each of these four sessions, we try to offer three kinds of classes:

  1. For those exploring the Christian faith (like Investigating Christianity or Introducing Christianity, etc.),
  2. For those seeking to understand the Bible better (like Foundations for Understanding the Bible, Foundations of the New Testament, etc.), and
  3. For Christian living and practices (like Foundations for Spiritual Disciplines, How People Change, Christian Apologetics, etc.)

We hope that all of you will take advantage of our West Side Classes this Sunday, or after the summer when our Fall Session starts up, as another resource along with your Community Group to deepen your faith.

Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance. (Proverbs 1:5)

In Christ,

Rev. David Bisgrove


CFW 2014 Spring artists-in-residence announced
The Center for Faith & Work is proud to offer two resident artists the opportunity, resources, financing and support to create works of art that contribute to the excellency of New York’s rich and creative culture.

  • Ben Stamper (filmmaker) — Ben’s CFW-commissioned work, Presence: 5 Haikus for 5 Boros, was featured at the City Rhythms: Film event last month. Watch it here.
  • Julia Easterlin (composer) — Julia’s composed piece will be up shortly on In the meantime, you can listen to her other work here.


Here are some highlighted opportunities to serve from Hope for New York. As always, you can check their Volunteer page to see opportunities by neighborhood and service type.

Deliver meals to homebound UWS elderly
Sundays, from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Up to 20 volunteers are needed to deliver on foot meals through Citymeals-on-Wheels to UWS elderly who can no longer buy groceries or cook for themselves. Great Community Group opportunity! RSVP for May 11 or May 18.

Serve a special Mother’s Day banquet
Saturday, May 10, various times
Volunteers are needed to help prepare and serve a special meal at NYC Rescue Mission for mothers and children who are living in homeless shelters. Volunteers will assist the chefs in the kitchen, including food prep, bringing food upstairs to the banquet area, and more. Four shifts are available, click on the times to learn more and sign up: 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., 1 to 2:30 p.m., 2:30 to 4 p.m. or 4 to 5:30 p.m.

Revitalize a community center in Harlem
Saturday, May 24, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Volunteers are needed to help brighten up a community center with Habitat for Humanity in Harlem with a fresh coat of paint and light repairs. Learn more and RSVP.


Last Chance: HFNY Spring Benefit this Wednesday!
Wednesday, May 7, at 7:30 p.m., 356 W 58th St
Join us for a festive evening to support Hope for New York at the Hudson Hotel. Tickets won’t be available at the door, so get yours today!

Open Forum: ‘Sex and the Romantic Solution’
Thursday, May 8, 7 p.m., W83, Sanctuary
What do Bruno Mars, Al Green and Tim Keller have to say about sex and romance? Find out this Thursday. Join us for a concert by the West Side band with guest soloists and a lecture by Tim Keller, followed by an open-mic Q&A. *One note, we expect this event to be full, so be sure to come early, and if you’re bringing friends, be sure to come in together so you can all be seated together.


Redeemer’s Got Talent!
Saturday, May 10, from 5 to 7 p.m., W83, 5th Fl.
Join us for our second annual Talent Show, featuring the talents of Redeemer’s West Side children! This will be a great night to invite your friends and get to know others in our community. Dinner will be provided, and registration is required ($20 per family, $10 per individual). We hope to see you there!


Madagascar missions trip fundraiser + silent auction
Thursday, May 15, from 6:30 to 10 p.m., 930 Park Ave, Apt. 12N
Have you ever wanted to go to the Empire State Building? Learn some ballet? Get some new designer linens? Then come ready to place your bid at a silent auction that will support a medical team from Redeemer going to Madagascar in August. There will be hors d’oeuvres and music to complete the evening.

West Side Congregation
Church Offices | 1359 Broadway 4th Floor | New York, NY 10018
W83 Ministry Center | 150 W 83rd St. | New York, NY 10024