Subject: West Side Update - April 20
April 20, 2015
Jen and Mike Columbia
“We were so amazed by how well and thoughtfully the staff cared for our children on Sundays when they were just little, and since then we are so excited for the opportunity to work with the Children’s Ministry in loving these kids and teaching them more about Christ now that they’re a bit older,” says Jen Columbia, who volunteers for our Children’s Ministry along with her husband, Mike.
Jen and Mike have been in the city since 1998 and 1995, respectively. Mike is from Long Island, which is why he can’t pronounce the “er” in drawer. Jen is from extremely rural western Pennsylvania, where she would occasionally be chased by the neighbor’s rooster. They met in 2002 while working together at a public school in the Bronx.
Mike and Jen married in 2005 and now live in Harlem. They have three children: Grace is 7 years old, Ellie is 4, and Calvin is 13 months. Mike is a data specialist for the NYC Department of Education, and Jen is a teacher on leave to raise their children.
“Not just because it’s the location of our first date, or because we got engaged there, or because we love to run and bike there, but Central Park has always been a favorite spot for us,” says Mike. “It’s a favorite spot for our kids now too, with its great playgrounds and big open areas for running around.”
Mike started attending Redeemer in 2002, and Jen did in 2004. They’ve been part of two long-term Community Groups (over five years for each). Jen says, “We are constantly amazed at the goodness of the Lord in showing us his love and mercy through these individuals.”
They both volunteer with our Children’s Ministry on Sundays and with Kids’ Community Group. And each year, they look forward to volunteering during the week of Vacation Bible School—teaching crafts together to the elementary kids. Mike says, “We feel privileged to lead and pray for the future generation of New Yorkers who will love and serve our city.”
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.
This is the time of year in the church calendar, having celebrated the resurrection of Jesus that we collectively ask ourselves – “Now what?” The last two weekly reflections have sought to answer that question by encouraging engagement with organizations like HFNY and last week by reminding you of acting with your financial resources to support the church. Today I would like to answer the question of what action to take by encouraging us to pray. Our WS Staff Team has spent this past ministry year reading and reflecting on various chapters and articles on prayer, the most recent of which was a chapter called “Prayer and Action” in Donald Bloesch’s book The Struggle of Prayer. His main thesis is summarized by his phrase “prayer that does not bear fruit in self-giving service is not Christian prayer but only soliloquy.” In other words, prayer is not only a work in and of itself, and is not only something that God works through, but is something that should lead to engagement with the substance of our prayers. So as we remember the significance of Easter, let’s recommit ourselves to the discipline and privilege of partnering with the risen Jesus in the work of bringing to bear the power of the resurrection through prayer.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. – Ephesians 6:18
The Redeemer website has lots of resources to help you as you seek to deepen your prayer life. Click here to access them.
Rev. David Bisgrove
Interested in volunteering in the Children's Ministry like Jen and Mike? This Sunday, April 26, is Children's Ministry Sunday! Stop by the CM table during Coffee Hour after every service to learn more about or to sign up for volunteering.
Didn't get a chance to complete the survey yesterday?
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.
All Angels' // Set up and Serve Dinner at “Our Place Cafe”
Defy Ventures // Coach Entrepreneurs-in-Training
Here are a highlighted events happening across Redeemer. For a full listing, see the Connect.
Next Intro to Redeemer
Faith & Art Course Registration Open
Hope for New York: Young Supporters Spring Benefit
I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this? - John 11:25-26
Prayer from Seeking God's Face:
Visit redeemer.com/prayer for additional prayer resources and tools.
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