Subject: West Side Update – May 12

Redeemer WestSide
WestSide Update
May 12, 2014

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Cynthia Semsel
Community Group leader and Sunday Service Teams volunteer

“I became a Community Group leader shortly after attending a women’s group for about a year in 1997. I really didn’t feel qualified to be a leader, but I received so much encouragement from my group that I decided to give it a go and am still helping to lead a group to this day!” says Cynthia Semsel. “My husband and I host and lead a group at our house in Tarrytown. It has been such an encouragement to make new friends, and since we don’t have relatives that live nearby, we know we have family in Christ that is always close.”

Cynthia grew up in New Hampshire and spent many years in Boston before moving to NYC in 1997. She lived in Brooklyn and moved to Tarrytown in 2005, where she lives with her husband, Mark, and two cats.

Cynthia is a textile designer. She loves any kind of art, is a former professional photographer, and is currently taking classes in drawing and watercolor. She’s an avid exerciser and often goes for walks in the Rockefeller Nature Preserve: “We rescued one of our cats, who we named ‘Rocky,’ on one such outing a couple of years ago,” says Cynthia. She and Mark often head to Peacefood Café on Sundays for brunch.

Cynthia has attended Redeemer since 1997. She and Mark have served in many roles: serving Communion, leading and hosting their Community Group, and now coordinating and volunteering for the Information Table at the 9:30 a.m. Sunday service. “While serving at the Info Table, we have met so many people from around the world who come and visit Redeemer. We still keep in touch with some of them, including one gentleman from Australia,” says Cynthia. “It is a blessing and also rewarding to be not just an information center, but a place where those who don’t know anyone can wander over and have someone to talk to.”

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

Last Monday night, over 110 volunteer leaders gathered for our last West Side Ministry Summit of the 2013-14 ministry year. It was a fitting end to our Public Faith series as we reflected on what it means to engage our culture, using Jesus’ description of Christians as “salt and light” (Matthew 5) as a template, as well as one from Tim Keller. We heard from David Kim, executive director of Redeemer’s Center for Faith & Work, and Luis Iza, founder of Operation Exodus and The Open Door NJ NY. We will be partnering with Hope for New York by recruiting WS volunteers to help pilot an ESL program through The Open Door that will start in September at W83. [Ed: If you’re interested in volunteering, be sure to get in touch with Whitney.]

However, the main reason I am highlighting the Ministry Summit is to publicly thank the hundreds of volunteers who so faithfully serve our community every week on Sundays; lead and host CGs, our moms’, women’s and men’s groups during the week; serve our children; and through countless other ways. When we launched the multi-congregation model a few years ago, one of the reasons was to engage more people in the life of the church. The Ministry Summit is just a small example of how so many of you have answered the call and made our congregation a warm and engaging place for all those who are exploring and following Jesus in our midst. I am so grateful to be part of what God is doing in and through our community.

Thank you!

In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (Ephesians 2:21-22)

In Christ,

Rev. David Bisgrove


Watch Tim Keller's talk ‘Sex and the Romantic Solution’
Did you miss the Open Forum on Thursday? Now you can catch up on Tim’s talk from the night, which he opened up with four “facts on the ground” about sex and romance as seen in culture, and then went through how Jesus and the Bible addresses each one and offers an alternative. (Note: the concert before the show and audience Q&A afterward were not recorded.)



Did you go to Intro to Redeemer?
Whether you attended last weekend or any other session, if you’ve decided you’d like to go ahead with membership, the next steps are the membership videos (our own Abe Cho teaches a couple of them) and application. If you have any questions about the membership process, please contact

HFNY Spring Benefit: Thanks for coming!
More than 330 of you attended the Hope for New York Young Supporters Spring Benefit last Wednesday. It was a pretty inspiring night (pics here, video here), and our guests gave over $75,000 to strengthen programs that serve the poor and marginalized of our city. If you couldn’t attend but you’d still like to give to build a city in which all New Yorkers flourish, click here and add “Spring Benefit” in the notes.


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 elderly on the UWS
Sundays, from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Up to 20 volunteers 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 18.

Build relationships with immigrant community
Orientation: Saturday, May 17, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Are you interested in community development among immigrant populations? Volunteer to teach a weekly ESL or basic computer class for the Arab-American immigrant community in Bayridge with the Brooklyn Arab American Friendship Center. RSVP for volunteer orientation and training this Saturday here. Contact Whitney at for more info.


Members’ Gala is this Saturday!
Saturday, May 17, at 7 p.m., W83
Church members, have you RSVP’ed? This Saturday is our big annual members’ gala. The evening will begin with a welcome gathering and music in the W83 sanctuary, followed by a brief 15-minute congregational meeting at 7:45 p.m. to elect new church officers (and for which we’ll need quorum). Then, Tim Keller, David Bisgrove and the other lead pastors will share highlights from the ministry year. After that, we’ll move to the 5th floor and terraces for dinner and dancing with music from our resident DJ, Drew Hammell.

Members, if you plan to attend the entire evening, be sure to get your tickets by midnight Friday if you haven’t already. (No tickets are necessary if you’re coming for just the congregational meeting earlier on.) For help, questions, or to request scholarship or childcare vouchers, please contact We are excited to look back and celebrate the year together with you!

2014 Entrepreneurship & Innovation Forum: Disruption
Friday and Saturday, May 30-31, 601 W 26th St
Innovation is not only for starting new ventures, but for engaging the brokenness in all fields. How might the disruptive power of the gospel provide us with a vision of God’s glory that propels us forward, bringing about innovation in our work? The Ei Forum is open to people of all professions, and is limited to entrepreneurs. Presenters, schedule, and other details at

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