Subject: West Side Update – July 21
July 21, 2014
“When people ask me where I am from, I say the South. Really far South,” says Robyn Oates, who was born and raised in South Africa. Robyn originally came to New York for what she thought would be a short three months — but that was four years ago.
Shortly after arriving in New York she began working at the United Nations Development Programme and now works for UN Women as a program finance specialist. “Growing up in Africa, the face of inequality, poverty and discrimination was so clearly seen. I always dreamt of working for the United Nations with the intention of influencing policy change,” says Robyn. “Although challenging at times, it’s incredibly rewarding to work with countries and people around the world on fundamental global issues.”
Robyn started attending Redeemer shortly after moving to New York. She leads a women’s Community Group, volunteers with Children’s Ministry, and sits on the board of a Hope for New York affiliate, A House on Beekman.
“Through the past few years I have seen my perspective on life and work and living in New York shift significantly. I arrived in New York as a consumer — looking for how the city could serve me and my interests, and how I could use it to succeed professionally,” says Robyn. “Redeemer and the Center for Faith & Work have been instrumental in influencing how I relate to my work, the city, and those who call New York home through the lens of my faith. I am really coming to understand what the Lord means in Jeremiah 29:7 when he calls us to genuinely ‘Seek the peace and the prosperity of the city. . . . Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.’”“Whether on an early morning run in Central Park, eating cupcakes at Magnolia’s or watching the ballet at Lincoln Center, after four years I still have days when I feel like I’m living in the movies,” she says. “But even better than that is getting to be part of an even bigger story — God’s story and his plan for redemption, renewal and restoration right here, right now.”
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.
Recently I have been reading through the Old Testament book of Joshua and was struck by the scene that takes place after the Israelites had passed through the Jordan into Canaan. Joshua called for a representative from each of the 12 tribes to take a stone from the river and place it on the other side so that “when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of Jordan was cut off before the ark.”
This past week hundreds of children filled W83 for Vacation Bible School in a modern version of “remembering the stones.” The whole community came together — young and old, married and single, men and women — with one purpose: to help our children understand the love of God found in Jesus. I am so grateful for the staff and volunteers who carried on the tradition of Joshua 4 by constantly teaching our children about the cross and God’s love for us in Jesus. Of course the adults who volunteered would be the first to tell you that the enthusiasm, honesty, joy, energy, faith and laughter of those children helped them remember why Jesus said, “Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. (Deuteronomy 6:5-8)
Rev. David Bisgrove
Q: What makes a good Beta Group leader?
25 years of changed lives
The 7 p.m. service is moving up to 6:45
Join Hope for New York for the Charity Bike Ride 2014
Judge entrepreneurial product competition (Defy Ventures)
Help rehabilitate a community center (Habitat for Humanity)
Serve lunch to UWS senior community (Project FIND Hamilton)
The above are highlighted opportunities to serve from Hope for New York this week. As always, you can check their Volunteer page to see regular opportunities by neighborhood and service type.
RENEWAL: An Evening of Prayer & Praise
Consider this opportunity 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.
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W83 Ministry Center | 150 W 83rd St. | New York, NY 10024