Subject: West Side Update - April 20

Redeemer WestSide
WestSide Update
April 20, 2015

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Jen and Mike Columbia
Children’s Ministry volunteers

“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.

Hello ,

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.

In Christ,

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? 
Every two years we take a church-wide survey of those who attend worship to gather important information which helps us better serve you and the city. The survey expires tonight at midnight, so please take a few minutes now to complete it. You can take the survey 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.

All Angels' // Set up and Serve Dinner at “Our Place Cafe”
Tuesdays from 6 to 9 p.m.
Serve at a community gathering for men and women experiencing homelessness, addiction, and mental health challenges. Volunteers will plate dinner and serve as wait staff as the dinner is served "restaurant-style". RSVP here.

Defy Ventures // Coach Entrepreneurs-in-Training
Coach and mentor men and women with criminal histories in entrepreneurship and leadership program. Commitment is 2 hours a week for 2 months, beginning May 5. Volunteers must be business professionals. Request information here.


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

Next Intro to Redeemer
Wednesday, April 22 from 7 to 8:30 p.m., at W83 Ministry Center
For those wanting to become members of Redeemer or interested in finding out more about the vision, values and ministries of Redeemer, join us for our next Intro to Redeemer session. This is the first step in the membership process, though you don't need to be pursuing membership to attend. Register here.

Faith & Art Course Registration Open
Registration is now open for CFW's Faith & Art Course hosted by the West Side Congregation to be held in May and June. Seven classes include art sharing, theological teaching, group discussions. If you are an artist who would be encouraged and served by learning more about integrating your faith and your art, please apply here.

Hope for New York: Young Supporters Spring Benefit
Wednesday, May 6 at Providence NYC
Join HFNY’s Young Supporters for their annual Spring Benefit, a night filled with great food, drinks, and a special program to support Hope for New York’s work across our city. Tickets are going fast! Find more here.


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:
Incarnate God, this body you've given me--good and beautiful as it is--bleeds, breaks down, and eventually will betray me. Thank you, God, for the deep hope that one day, by the power of Christ, I will walk on strong limbs, listen to the sound of glory, see true blue skies, think clearly, dance unfettered and free, and kneel before you lost in wonder and worship. Thank you that my future is not some ethereal existence but a truly human resurrected life. Amen.

Visit for 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