Subject: West Side Update - December 24
December 24, 2012
Tom and Sonja Bellino
“You personally have to build community. And the way to build community is to be open with people, to be vulnerable, and also to be involved,” says Tom Bellino. “So it’s not so much are people being friendly with you, but are you inviting them into your life.” He and Sonja live on Staten Island, so they’ve had to work harder at being involved in the ministry and community of Redeemer. “I think you have to make an effort when you’re at a distance. But the community itself is more than open to embrace you,” says Tom.
And make an effort, they do. For both Sonja and Tom, serving at Redeemer has been key. Sonja was formerly a deaconess. Tom serves at the Book Table. And they are co-coordinators for the Communion Team at our 9:15AM service. In fact, Sonja and Tom actually met while serving on the Communion Team. They were married two years ago.
Sonja, who grew up in New Jersey, moved to NYC over 20 years ago and came to Redeemer in 1994. She initially thought Redeemer was too big, but began coming with a friend. “The way I got over the bigness of Redeemer was that I went on a Habitat trip with them,” says Sonja. “It was really significant for feeling more plugged in.” Sonja’s a nurse practitioner and a doula. She worked at a family health center in Yonkers for 19 years and now works in women’s health at Beacon Christian Community Center on Staten Island.
Tom, a native New Yorker and former detective with the NYPD (for 32 years), came to Redeemer 12 years ago. “I found God’s grace in a new way at Redeemer,” says Tom. He’s now on his second career, doing social work with a community agency for seniors.
At home, Sonja and Tom have some ongoing competitions. “We like to play paddleball every Saturday morning,” says Sonja. “It took me three years to beat him!” And in the evenings, with their computers side by side, they keep up a FreeCell game.
To build a great city for all people through a gospel movement that brings personal conversion, community formation, social justice and cultural renewal to New York City and, through it, to the world.
It is Christmas Eve. The waiting is almost over. Tomorrow Jesus will be born and the world will never be the same. But for now, we wait. Which is good. For waiting gives voice to our longing and reminds us that we are incomplete; that we are unfinished; that we are unsatisfied; that we are—needy. So read these words about the one for whom we wait: "you are to give him the name Jesus for he will save his people from their sins…and they will call him Immanuel" (which means, “God with us” - Matthew 1:21,23). Stop. Read it again. God himself is coming. To wait in the darkness of our need without hope is despair. To wait in that same place on Christmas Eve knowing who is coming is a source of such joy and wonder that angels sing. For some of you reading this, tomorrow will be a day of fun and celebration with family and friends. For others, it will be a time of discomfort and pain. My encouragement to everyone is to prepare for tomorrow by remembering whom you are waiting for. And to realize that even as you wait, he is with you.
Rev. David Bisgrove
Christmas Eve Services hosted by Redeemer Downtown
TODAY: Monday, December 24 at 5:00PM and 10:30PM
Staying in the city over the holidays? Come along to a Redeemer Christmas Eve service at The Carriage House, 135 W. 18th St., btw. 6th & 7th Aves. No childcare provided.
Don’t Walk By Campaign
February 16 for the West Side Outreach
Join Hope for New York for the Don’t Walk By campaign, an annual outreach to the homeless in NYC. Every Saturday in February, volunteers will cover Manhattan on a search for the homeless, offering people living on the streets care kits, warm food, clothing, blankets, and the opportunity to stay in a shelter for the night. Click here for more info and to register.
Support for Processing Newtown Tragedy
Healing and recovery from the tragedy at Newtown will be a long and difficult process for that community as well as the worldwide community who shares in their grief. A set of resources for individuals and families can be found here.
Give Hope this Christmas
This year, thanks to your generosity, Hope for New York gave over $1.2 million in grants and nearly 42,000 volunteer hours to organizations that serve the poor and marginalized. This Christmas, help us reach even more individuals and communities in need by making a gift to Hope for New York, click here.
Help Pack Donated Items at World Vision
Saturday, January 5 from 10:00AM to 2:00PM
Volunteers needed to help sort, package and prepare donated items for distribution to World Vision's community partners in the S. Bronx. RSVP here.
Hurricane Sandy Response
Help those in need...
Please Pray, Act, Give. Hope for New York is compiling details of volunteer opportunities across the city, click here to register for volunteer updates. Please consider giving to the Redeemer Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund.
The Center for Faith & Work Celebrates 10 Years!
Sunday, January 13 from 2:00PM at W83
Join us to celebrate God's faithfulness as we honor founder Katherine Leary Alsdorf and welcome new Executive Director Rev. David H. Kim. Formal program at 2:00PM, with reception to follow. Click here to RSVP.
West Side Classes
Ring in the New Year by signing up for a West Side Class beginning in January or February. Topics will include The Purpose and Practice of Spiritual Disciplines, Credibility of Christianity, Foundations of Understanding the Bible, Helping People Change and more. To sign up, click here or contact Karen.
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West Side Congregation | Redeemer Presbyterian Church | 1359 Broadway 4th Floor | New York, NY 10018