Subject: West Side Update – July 14

Redeemer WestSide
WestSide Update
July 14, 2014

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Matt Niemitz
Senior Manager, Adobe

“Everyone assumes that I am an Eagles or Steelers fan,” says Matt Niemitz, who grew up in Carlisle, PA. “But when I was five years old, my aunt (who was living on the UWS at the time) bought me a New York Giants jersey for Christmas. I’ve been a diehard fan ever since.”

Matt went to college in Virginia and then lived in Washington, D.C., Boston and San Francisco — where he met his wife, Mary Flynn, when he joined a Community Group she was leading. Matt and Mary Flynn, who’s on staff with Hope for New York, moved to the Upper West Side three and a half years ago. They enjoy taking advantage of their proximity to Central Park and going for jogs around the Reservoir. “While we wouldn’t call ourselves runners, Mary Flynn and I ran the NYC Half Marathon in March, and it was a neat experience to run down 7th Avenue through Times Square,” he says.

Matt just completed the Center for Faith & Work’s Gotham Fellowship: “It helped me grow in my understanding of the gospel and equipped me with language to articulate why I do what I do,” he says. “In my work at Adobe, I manage products and programs that help schools and universities unleash creativity in their classrooms,” says Matt. “Over the last year, as I’ve been going through the Gotham Fellowship, I’ve explored this concept that creativity and imagination are an inherently humanizing pursuit that makes us feel relevant, purposeful, and an active participant in our world. It’s amazing to work in a role that focuses on creativity and imagination, and to be able to play a role in fostering that in others is a gift from God.”

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.
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“We ask for forgiveness.” These are words one would normally expect to hear spoken in the context of a worship service. But they are words spoken by Brazil’s national team soccer coach after their stunning loss to Germany in the semifinal of the World Cup. In the aftermath of their loss, words such as “shame” and “humiliation” were used repeatedly by fans and players alike. It is a reminder of how universal our need is for forgiveness.

In an increasingly post-Christian world that often dismisses any kind of transcendent morality, a cry for forgiveness is often seen as an ancient artifact of old-time religious guilt from which modern people have been liberated. But the reality is, to be human is to know shame and humiliation in various forms — it is to know and see in one another the fact that we are not the people we should be. And the reality is, it is a lack of forgiveness in friendships and families that tear relationships apart.

This is why “confession of sin” is at the heart of a Christian’s understanding of what it means to be human. Repentance is a gift from God that finds its ultimate focus in the shame and humiliation of Jesus on the cross, in which we need to hear over and over again his words, “Father, forgive them.”

Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the LORD does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit. (Psalm 32:1-2)

In Christ,

Rev. David Bisgrove


The 7 p.m. service is moving up to 6:45
Starting August 17, the 7 p.m. service will move up 15 minutes to 6:45 p.m. With our other three WS services at or near (and often beyond!) capacity, we encourage you to prayerfully consider attending the new 6:45 service, so we can make room for newcomers in the fall, when our attendance typically goes up 15–20%. Thank you!

You’re invited to West Side Men and West Side Women
Every week, groups of men and women from the West Side get together at W83 for fellowship, worship, Scripture or just a cup of coffee. There are two groups of West Side Women: one meets on Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. and the other on Fridays at 9:30 a.m. West Side Men meet on Tuesday mornings at 7 a.m. Join them!

VBS is rolling!
Our W83 building is currently teeming with almost 300 small people running around, while about 150 volunteers are simultaneously chasing them and teaching them about how Jesus’ love is one of a kind. We are so grateful to get to put this week on. Be sure to keep the kids, families, Children’s Ministry staff and volunteers in your prayers this week.


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.

Refine résumés for formerly incarcerated
Apx. six hours between July 17 and 22 (online)
Volunteers with executive, entrepreneur and/or business experience receive up to five résumés and leadership statements to edit and refine for the new Team 4 Entrepreneurs-in-Training, a carefully selected group of ambitious men and women, who have past criminal histories. Online opportunity starts July 17 with submission deadline on July 22. Learn more or contact to sign up.

Help lead community-building events at the Rita Berger House
Two Saturdays per month, from 1 to 3 p.m., 482 Amsterdam
Prepare meals, lead events, and build relationships with people with mental disabilities at the Rita Berger House on 83rd and Amsterdam, just down the street from W83, on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month. Email David at to learn more.

Serve lunch and build relationships with UWS seniors
Sundays, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., 111 W 71st
Volunteers assist in lunch service for local senior community and residents of Hamilton Senior Center through Project FIND. RSVP for July 20. Great opportunity for small groups!

Do you love to cook?
Saturday, July 26, from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. (RSVP)
Sunday, July 27, from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. (RSVP)
Female volunteers are needed to prepare, cook, and serve a delicious dinner for the female residents of the Bowery Mission Women’s Center. The volunteer team leader will plan the menu and have the groceries ready for the evening.


And lastly, here’s a small thank-you note from a Bridge Park West resident thanking West Side volunteers. Thanks to all who have been serving and caring for our neighbors!


RENEWAL: An Evening of Prayer & Praise
Saturday, August 2, from 5 to 6:30 p.m., W83 Sanctuary
Come and be renewed as we remember who God is and seek his heart for us and our church together. The evening will be interspersed with worship, small group prayer and individual reflection. RSVP here.

Vocational Intensives available this fall
Consider this opportunity from the Center for Faith & Work to take an in-depth look at your particular area of work through the lens of the gospel. Cohorts meet weekly over a commitment period of three months. Registration for the fall now open for arts, education, finance, healthcare and cross-vocational, with more to come. More info.

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