Subject: West Side Update - May 11
May 11, 2015
“I co-lead a Moms’ Group, which is probably hilarious for anyone who has known me for a long time. I spent my single and early-married years clinging to the idea that I didn’t need community. I was very community-allergic,” says Elizabeth Passarella, who has lived in NYC for 16 years and has two children—Julia (5) and James (2)—with her husband, Michael. “I wanted to be a Christian on my terms and live my life without any accountability from the church,” she says. “My good friend Carrie Sanders invited me to Moms’ Group, and I went with a bad attitude. Of course, God has transformed my life through that community. You can’t grow in faith, and you most certainly cannot parent, without community.”
Elizabeth grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, and moved to New York in 1999. She works as a part-time writer and editor for Real Simple magazine. Her husband, Michael, grew up in Manhattan, and they were married in 2005. Elizabeth had attended Redeemer since moving to NYC, and she and Michael joined in 2010.
“I feel more at home in New York than anywhere else. I never want to leave, and I get on a soapbox sometimes about raising a family here and living in a small space and how amazing it all is,” says Elizabeth. “But my husband is my secret weapon. This is his hometown. What can seem weird to those of us who grew up in the suburbs is 100% normal to him. He can find a parking spot when no one else can, that kind of thing.”
“For the past year or two, I have really relied on 2 Corinthians 12:9, ‘My grace is sufficient for you. For my power is made perfect in your weakness,’” Elizabeth says. “I don’t like to be weak. I like to be strong! I like to be in control. But God’s power is most present in my life when I give up, when I have to repent (so, so often) to my children, when I am broken in my marriage. My weakness isn’t defeat. It’s an opportunity for me to rest in God’s power.”
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.
Several years ago Mark Slouka wrote an article in Harpers entitled the “Church of Work,” equating our modern approach to work with the more traditional view of religion. He wrote:
Although today’s version of the covenant of works has substituted a host of secular pleasures for the idea of heaven, it too seeks to corner the market on what we most desire, to suggest that the work of our hands will save us…and we believe and we repeat the daily catechism, we sing in the choir. And we tithe, and keep on tithing, until we are spent.
The pace and fervor with which New Yorkers often approach their careers is testimony to Slouka’s insight. This is why Redeemer’s Center for Faith and Work (CFW) is so important. Through its various ministries and events, it seeks to help us integrate the significance of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection into our vocation. So if you haven’t yet engaged with CFW let me encourage you to do so this week by exploring their website and finding how you can better learn to attach your vocation to God’s.
May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us–yes, establish the work of our hands. – Psalm 90:17
Rev. David Bisgrove
Interested in leading a community group like Elizabeth? On Saturday, May 16, attend New Leader Basics to receive training on how to lead a community group. Learn more about and register for NLB here.
Thank you to all that attended the Congregational Meeting and Members' Gala! On Saturday, May 9, members voted in our new deacons, deaconesses and elder, and affirmed Rev. Abe Cho's call to become the Lead Pastor of the ES Congregation. To learn more about and to begin your church membership, click 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.
Young Life // Pamper Teen Moms at Spa-themed YoungLives Event
Defy Ventures // Coach Men & Women at Entrepreneur Training Event
Here are a highlighted events happening across Redeemer. For a full listing, see the Connect.
HFNY Workshop: Understanding the issue of sex trafficking
CFW end-of-year celebration
Quiet Time Basics: Meditative Prayer
Visit redeemer.com/prayer for additional prayer resources and tools.
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