Subject: West Side Update - December 8

Redeemer WestSide
WestSide Update
December 8, 2014

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Brad and Nicole Blackmon

Brad and Nicole Blackmon have lived on the UWS, and been part of Redeemer, for three and a half years. They are both from the South. Nicole grew up in Eastern North Carolina, is a country girl at heart, and worked on a tobacco farm for her first job. Brad grew up in the hills of Eastern Tennessee and was a Teen Angel in his high school’s production of Grease. Brad now works in advertising for the Hearst Corporation, and Nicole is a stay at home mom to their 6-year-old son, Baker. And they have a 10-year-old Yorkie named Beeker.

At Redeemer, Nicole is a kindergarten volunteer at Kid’s Community Groups. She’s also involved in the UWS Moms’ Group. Brad volunteers for the Children’s Ministry Programs on Sunday mornings. “We love being involved in the Children’s Ministries at Redeemer,” says Brad. “We see the impact that others at Redeemer have had on our son, Baker, and we wanted to be a part of that for other children. It is an awesome thing to be able to share with children that their father in heaven loves them no matter what — and it is a good lesson for us as well.”

“We are big fans of Jacob’s Pickles as it reminds us of cuisine from back home,” says Nicole. “We also tend to head downtown for date nights and love Locanda Verde, Tamarind, and anything Mexican!”

“Our activities tend to revolve around sports, music, and after school activities for our son, Baker,” says Brad. “We also love exploring NYC. We are always looking for quaint little places to bring our family and friends back to. NYC is like no other place and we love getting lost in the labyrinth of buildings.”

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 ,

The season of Advent is associated with words like longing and waiting. The images and events of the last week surrounding the death of Eric Garner and its aftermath underscore why these themes are associated with Jesus’ birth, poignantly captured in the lyrics of Charles Wesley’s hymn that starts:

Come, thou long expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.

The world into which Jesus was born was filled with injustice, anger, fear, longing and grief. The recent protests around the country and in our streets remind us that our world suffers from the same afflictions as those of 1st century Palestine. Therefore for those who follow Jesus the images evoke not only a longing for his return when he will make all things new (Revelation 21:5), but a renewed call to heed the message so prominent in his first advent – repentance (Mark 1:15).

In other words this is an opportunity to examine our hearts and look at how we have actively and passively contributed to a world that is still hungry for mercy and justice, and to acknowledge the ways we haven’t obeyed the fundamental law Jesus gave his followers “to love God and our neighbors as we love ourselves” (Matthew 22:37-39). And having repented, to reflect on the wonder and dignity of God taking on our humanity at Christmas, and committing ourselves to the biblical idea of ‘doing justice’ (Micah 6:8), which as one writer put it, is “to give all human beings their due as creations of God”.

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
 and the government will be on his shoulders. 
And he will be called
 Wonderful Counselor; Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace 
there will be no end.
 He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it 
with justice and righteousness 
from that time on and forever.
 The zeal of the Lord Almighty 
will accomplish this. – Isaiah 9:6-7

In Christ,

Rev. David Bisgrove

Reminder: special morning schedule next Sunday
Don't forget our special morning schedule next Sunday December 14 with three Lessons & Carols services at 8:30, 10 and 11:30 a.m. We expect the 10 & 11:30 services to be full or overflowing so please plan accordingly. If you can, please come to the 8:30 to help make room for all the guests we hope to welcome at the later services! Our full Redeemer December worship schedule is here.

What questions do you have about prayer?
Redeemer's three congregational prayer teams are putting together a prayer event the evening of Thursday, January 29 at W83 (details to follow!) Part of the evening will include a talk on prayer by Tim Keller, and we want to know what YOU want to know about prayer! Your questions will help inform the talk, the Q&A session, as well as our worship and prayer time together. Ask your questions here.

Thank you, Birthday Party volunteers!
Our huge thanks to nearly 200 volunteers who helped almost 1,000 Redeemer kids, parents, friends and neighbors celebrate the joy of Christmas and wish Jesus a very happy birthday - complete with lots of birthday cake!

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.

Habitat for Humanity // Build Homes for Families in Need
Sat, Dec 20 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Laurelton section of Queens
Volunteers will build and repair homes for low-income families. No construction experience is necessary as the Habitat staff will train all volunteers. RSVP here.

The Bridge // Lead events for those with mental disabilities
Sat, Dec 13 from 12:00 to 2 p.m., Upper West Side
Lead crafts activities and build relationships with a group of fun-loving and joyful adults who are living with mental disabilities. RSVP here.

Project FIND // Serve Senior Community at Christmas Dinner
Fri, Dec 19 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Upper West Side
Up to 8 volunteers will assist in preparing all supplies and areas of Hamilton Senior Center for a Christmas dinner, and helping serve and deliver food and drinks during the meal service time. RSVP here.

CFW Artist-in-Residence Gallery Reception
Thursday, December 11, from 6 to 8:00 p.m., W83 Ministry Center
Sasha Arutyunova’s new commissioned photography series, ANTE MERIDIEM, features street photographs taken in New York City at dawn. Please join us for an opening reception this Thursday. More info here.

Hope for New York: His Toy Store is this month!
Hope for New York hosted our first round of His Toy Stores across the city last weekend and will host more stores this coming weekend, including our first store at W83! At these stores, families in need will be able to shop for new toys at no cost and connect with our affiliate organizations for year-round support. Please pray for the families who will come to the stores on December 13. You can follow the action using #HisToyStore on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.


But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream! Amos 5:24

Concerning the events surrounding the death of Eric Garner 
These events show again how deeply race shapes the way we see life, understand justice, and relate to one another. In the Old Testament book of Amos, and elsewhere in the Bible, we see that God holds all nations accountable for how they treat the least powerful groups and persons in their societies. As U.S. citizens, we in Redeemer leadership join with many others who, while honoring the members of law enforcement who put their lives on the line each day, nonetheless call for changes to our justice system so that it works more fairly and equitably for everyone. As Christians, we can do two additional things. First, we must pray—that God would bring our nation both peace and justice. Second, those of us who are not members of racial minorities, and who are therefore not as directly touched by these issues, must refuse to let ourselves be unconcerned or too busy to care. We must remember that we were saved by the one who was excluded and crucified outside the gate. We should spend time listening to voices that we may have previously ignored and embracing the call to work for reconciliation and right relationships in our city. In this advent season, we are called to look to the Lord’s coming by an examination of our hearts and in hope for a day when all things will be made new. 
From with additional resources available 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