Subject: West Side Update – July 14
July 14, 2014
“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.
“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)
Rev. David Bisgrove
The 7 p.m. service is moving up to 6:45
You’re invited to West Side Men and West Side Women
VBS is rolling!
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
Help lead community-building events at the Rita Berger House
Serve lunch and build relationships with UWS seniors
Do you love to cook?
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
Vocational Intensives available this fall
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