Subject: West Side Update - November 24

Redeemer WestSide
WestSide Update
November 24, 2014

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Ben and Alex Thompson
Children’s Ministry volunteers

“The most challenging thing for us about Redeemer has been building a community,” says Alex Thompson, who moved to NYC with her husband, Ben, a little over a year ago. “It’s tough to break through the shell here because it has a big church feel and is filled with transient believers. Getting involved in serving and a Community Group has been really important for cracking that shell.” She and Ben started attending Redeemer about seven months ago.

“We wanted to get involved any way we could at Redeemer,” Ben says. “The Children’s Ministry seemed to be the easiest transition for us, and we have absolutely loved it. We work with the preschoolers every other week and have really enjoyed getting to know the kids and the other volunteers!”

Alex and Ben are from Atlanta. Ben grew up in Miami, and his family were missionaries in Cuba for generations. Alex’s dad is a native New Yorker and her mom is from Georgia—it made for an interesting home growing up.

Alex is a school counselor for a charter school in Red Hook, and Ben works in the business development end of a healthcare company. They live in Washington Heights with their little rescue dog.

“As often as we can, we like to go to the Hi Life for brunch after church,” says Alex. “It’s on the same corner as the church, and the eggs benedict is awesome for a good price.” They both love scuba diving and photography, and they eat Cuban food for their Christmas dinner every year. “Anyone know a rec league for softball or ultimate frisbee?” says Ben. “We’ve been wanting to get involved in one!”

“We have learned more about God’s grace here in the city than ever before anywhere else,” says Alex. “We’ve learned so much about his creation of and love for all people and have learned that for those in him, his grace truly covers everything.”

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 ,

One of the more festive parts of living on the Upper West Side of Manhattan is its proximity to the Thanksgiving Day Parade. Buses filled with marching bands line our street and the balloons and floats are just a few blocks away. Several years ago my oldest daughter (who was probably 4 at the time) and I strolled down to 86th Street and CPW and to our great delight discovered Santa Claus perched on his float waiting his turn to join the procession. There weren’t many people around and at one point Santa looked down at Mary Claire, smiled, waved and blew her kisses. Without taking her eyes off of Santa she pulled me down and whispered in my ear – “Does Santa know every child’s name?” The mere thought that this transcendent, mythical figure would know her personally flooded her with awe, joy and wonder.

Christians have much to be thankful for every day of the year, not the least of which is that the transcendent God of the universe who is ‘enthroned on high’ (Psalm 113:5) and whose ‘ways are not our ways’ (Isaiah 55:8) humbled himself in order to know us personally. In other words, contemplation of God fills Christians with awe, joy, wonder and gratitude not just because we know his name, but because he knows ours.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends – John 15:13-14a

In Christ,

Rev. David Bisgrove


Officer Nomination Month – last week to nominate!
Got a great candidate in mind for elder, deacon or deaconess? If you are a member, you play a critical role in finding candidates. Please prayerfully send in your nomination by Nov 30. For more info, go to

6 More Days to Give to His Toy Store
We’ve got 6 days and 775 more toys to raise for HFNY’s His Toy Store outreach! In December, we'll host 7 stores across the city, where parents can shop free of charge, but first, we need to stock the stores with new toys. Give to stock the stores with toys at by Nov. 30 and bring hope to families in need this Christmas.

Thank you for your partnership with the Diaconate
“From the start of our relationship, my deaconesses were such emblems of grace. Immediately, they helped me pay for rent, groceries, and insurance, as well as reevaluate my budget. They prayed over me, offered counsel, and pointed me again and again to the Gospel.” Diaconate care recipient

As Thanksgiving is upon us, the Diaconate thanks Redeemer West Side for your generous gifts to our Mercy Fund last Sunday. Please know that we consider you as our ministry partners as your faithful prayers and generous gifts enable our deacons and the deaconesses to provide holistic care. If you missed last Sunday’s Special Offering, it’s not too late to give, visit

Looking for an opportunity to serve this Christmas season?
Fri, Dec 5 from 6 to 10 p.m., or Sat, Dec 6 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Children's Ministry is hosting a "Birthday Party for Jesus" at W83 and is in need of 150 volunteers to help with set up, games, crafts, and more. This is a great opportunity to serve with your community group or a group of friends. Sign up here.

Here are some highlighted opportunities to serve the city with Hope for New York. As always, you can check HFNY’s volunteer page to search a full list by neighborhood and service type.

Project FIND // Serve UWS Seniors at Thanksgiving Day Dinner
Thursday, November 27 from 9:00am to 2:00 pm, Upper West Side
Up to 4 volunteers are still needed to serve at Hamilton Senior Center for the annual Thanksgiving Day dinner for low-income and homeless seniors. Volunteers will set up, serve food, and deliver meals to 2 nearby senior buildings. RSVP online.

StreetSquash // Tutor Youth
Tuesday, December 2 from 6:15 to 7:15 p.m., Harlem
Volunteers will attend orientation for tutoring middle and high school youth from three local Harlem schools in all subject areas from 6th grade Math to 12th grade AP Chemistry. Volunteers are asked to commit to tutoring on a weekly basis. RSVP online.

Defy Ventures // Provide Feedback for Entrepreneurs-in-Training
Saturday, December 6 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Downtown
Volunteers will serve at a special Holiday marketplace where men and women with criminal histories are participating in a second chance program to launch entrepreneurial businesses. RSVP online.

Jump Start Your Job Search
Wed, Dec 17 from 10 a.m. to 1p.m., 1359 Broadway, 4th Fl.
This three hour workshop covers elements of a successful job search. Learn how to develop a smart job-search strategy, write a winning resume, ace the interview and much more. Register here.

Children's Christmas choir on Sunday, December 21
Second through fifth graders are invited to sing in a special Christmas choir. Your child must attend at least 2 of the 3 rehearsals and be able to sing at both morning services on Dec 21. The deadline to sign up is December 10. Sign up and find out more at

Advent meditations
Advent begins November 30, the Sunday after Thanksgiving! Based on positive feedback from prior years, we've made weekly Advent devotionals (developed in 2012) available again this year. Meditations include scripture for individual reflection as well as questions and applications for small groups and families to process together. Devotions are formatted into weekly downloads starting each of the four Sundays in Advent. Downloads are available here

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thes 5:16-18

Faith & Work Prayer Night
Thurs, Dec 4, Doors open at 7 p.m, W83 Ministry Center
Join Center for Faith & Work and Consultant Lourine Clark for a night of worship and prayer to seek God for spiritual strength in the workplace. The topic will be Growing in Gospel-Centered, Spirit-led Prayer. Register here.
West Side Congregation
Church Offices | 1359 Broadway 4th Floor | New York, NY 10018
W83 Ministry Center | 150 W 83rd St. | New York, NY 10024