Subject: West Side Update - March 9

Redeemer WestSide
WestSide Update
March 9, 2015

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Kristie DeKoker
Children’s Ministry volunteer

“When I came to Redeemer years ago, I had given up on God, believing that I just wasn’t cut out for the Christian life,” says Kristie DeKoker. “Redeemer’s emphasis on grace was life-changing for me, and over time I began to see and experience a different perspective on Christianity.”

Kristie is a development director at a global health organization: “I’m passionate about international development, global health and poverty relief,” she says. She grew up in Alabama and has lived in NYC and attended Redeemer for 16 years. She’s a huge college football fan for the Alabama Crimson Tide. She enjoys theatre, skiing, traveling and exploring new restaurants. Her favorite UWS restaurant is Bar Boulud.

Kristie has been involved in Redeemer’s Community Groups for 13 years, and she co-hosts her current group. She’s also volunteered with our Children’s Ministry for over 11 years.

“Every week when I drag myself out of bed to volunteer with Children’s Ministry, I question whether I should take a break so I can sleep in for a while,” says Kristie. “But once I’m there I’m reminded that teaching Sunday School is one of the highlights of my week. It’s been a gift to be involved with the families of Redeemer and to watch these precious kids grow. I’ve learned so much from them. They say the funniest and the most profound things, and I’m constantly challenged by their faith.

“It’s a joy to watch them grow up into young adults — some of them have grown up so much now that they’re connecting with me on LinkedIn!”

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 ,

Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings have always captivated my imagination. Recently I came across an article about him that helped me better understand some of the complexities that contributed to his genius and undermined his happiness. Van Gogh was the son of a Christian minister and studied theology hoping to follow in his father’s footsteps. Therefore the Christian story in general and Jesus’ life in particular shaped his life and art. It also, according to the article, helped him “in his struggle with the disjuncture between a world he envisioned and the one he experienced by an intuitive faith in God.” One verse in particular seems to have animated his life, which Van Gogh summarized as “in sorrow, but ever joyful” (2 Corinthians 6:10). In fact, in his first sermon Van Gogh described a painting of a Christian pilgrim walking uphill towards a city who stops along the way to ask a question of an angel about whether the road to the city was an uphill journey the entire way, to which the angel replied:

“'From morn to night, my friend.' And the pilgrim goes on, in sorrow, yet ever joyful.”

In many ways that describes not only the Christian pilgrimage in general, but the Lenten journey as we remember Jesus, the ‘man of sorrows’ (Isaiah 53:3) who ‘for the joy set before him’ (Hebrews 12:2) endured the cross that awaits us on Good Friday. So like Van Gogh, may we continue in our journey with an eye towards the heavenly city that awaits all who know and trust Jesus.

Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses…. sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.2 Corinthians 6:4, 10

In Christ,

Rev. David Bisgrove


Sunday Service Teams

Did you ever think you could serve 10,000 people in 24 hours? By serving only once a month on one of our five Sunday ministries you can do just that. Come by Coffee Hour after service this Sunday, March 15, to meet some of our volunteers and sign up. For more info, email


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.

Join HFNY’s Community of Givers This March
Hope for New York is growing our Hope Exchange! Launched in 2013, the Hope Exchange is a community of New Yorkers who build generosity into their daily lives and make a big difference for the poor and marginalized through small, monthly gifts. More than 200 members have joined and we’re continuing to grow. Learn more (and look for familiar faces) here

Operation Exodus // Mentor Kids from Latino Community in Washington Heights
Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. 
Volunteers will spend quality time with the kids in age groups from K-8th grade each week, talking to them about God, taking them on field trips, and investing in their futures.Request information to learn more here.


Here are a highlighted events happening across Redeemer. For a full listing, see the Connect.

Hope for New York Info Session
Thursday, March 12 from 7 to 9 p.m., 1166 Ave. of the Americas, 16th fl.
You'll get a deeper look into the work they're doing to support the efficiency and effectiveness of the 40+ affiliate non-profits they partner with. You'll also learn how you can start volunteering and join a movement of Christians serving the poor and marginalized in our city. Dinner will be served. RSVP here.

Faith & Work Prayer Night
Thursday, March 26 at 7 p.m. at W83 Ministry Center
Join CFW and Consultant Lourine Clark for a night of worship and prayer to seek God for spiritual strength in the workplace. The topic will be Influencing Your Work Environment Through Prayer. Register here.



Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.- Psalm 43:5

Today's Prayer from Seeking God's Face:
High and powerful God, every day I fall short of living up to your law. Why do I so easily fall into temptation and live in reckless disobedience? I'm weak, God, and I need Jesus. Amen.

Pray for:
- The eyes to see God's work in the world around us
- God's care and comfort in natural disasters
- Those at the forefront of caring for creation

Consider using this Lenten Devotional to help you experience anew the death that leads to life, available here. Visit additional prayer resources and tools.

West Side Congregation
Church Offices | 1166 Avenue of the Americas, 16th Fl | New York, NY 10036
W83 Ministry Center | 150 W 83rd St. | New York, NY 10024