Subject: West Side Update - July 29

Redeemer WestSide
WestSide Update
July 29, 2013

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Tom Jennings
WS Music Director

Tom Jennings is originally from Roanoke, VA, but has been in NYC since 1989. He and his wife, Michelle, were married in 1988 and have two children, Daniel and Leah. Tom often plays basketball with his kids at the courts along 76th street in Riverside Park. And he loves eating at La Boite en Bois and at Big Nick's.

Tom came on staff with Redeemer in 1995. He has a doctorate in music in classical piano from Manhattan School of Music and has taught at Concordia College and Brooklyn Conservatory. As the Music Director, Tom plans the four weekly West Side worship services. “When discussing church music, I often refer to Psalm 33:3, which instructs us make our musical offerings new, skillful and joyful, and to 1 Corinthians 14:15, which tells us to engage both the intellect and the spirit in our music,” says Tom. He also works in community building and mercy ministry alongside professional musicians and conservatory students. He and Michelle have led or hosted a musicians’ Community Group in their home for almost 20 years.

Fun Tom Fact:
“I complete The New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle (in pen, thank you) every Sunday night to unwind after a long day of church services.” 

As a church of Jesus Christ, to help 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.

During the week of July 15, W83 was filled with over 240 children and scores of volunteers and staff for the annual Vacation Bible School. This was a great chance for all three congregations to live out the vision of Redeemer as these mostly native New York children made friends, learned and applied the gospel story, memorized scripture and just plain had fun! For those who missed the action you can catch one of the (embarrassing) videos here. As I had the opportunity to see the children scurrying, playing, dancing, laughing, singing, and crying (just a few!) that week I was reminded of why Jesus taught that becoming like children was critical to entering God’s kingdom. First, children have a simple (not simplistic) faith. They have a humble trust that God is present in their lives and that he is good. Second, children are joyfully self-forgetful in God’s presence. They aren’t inhibited by what others think of their faith and love making a joyful noise. So the next time you see children sing, pray and read the Bible, remember, it’s not primarily ‘cute’, but is actually a window into what it means to know, love and serve God.

And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me." – Matthew 18:3-5

In Christ,

Rev. David Bisgrove

Vacation Bible School: click the image for a short video

As David mentioned, last week, Redeemer’s W83 Ministry Center was bustling with activity from the over 250 children. Thank you to the dozens and dozens of volunteers that helped make it happen!

Hope for New York: Help with Workshops for Operation Exodus
Monday through Friday until August 9 from 5:30PM to 8:30PM
During summer break, teach session on professional industry/field, or help with planned activities, including mixed-media arts and entrepreneurial skills to high schoolers in Washington Heights and Inwood. Contact

Hope for New York: Help Select the Next Entrepreneurs-in-Training 
Tuesday, July 30 from 6:30PM to 10:00PM 
or Saturday, August 3 from 1:00PM to 5:30PM
Defy gives formerly incarcerated men and women the opportunity to become entrepreneurs-in-training. Volunteers are needed to serve as judges in individual and group competitions for session 2 try-out hopefuls. Must be in business, finance or an entrepreneur. Additional info here

K-5 Sunday Classes are canceled for the entire month of August
Children are invited to worship with parents during the service. Classes will resume Sunday, September 8. 

​Job Search Round Table at 1359 Broadway, 4th Fl.
Thursday, August 1 from 1:30PM to 2:30PM 

Prayer, networking and accountability for job seekers. For more information, email Lauren Moy

West Side Congregation
Church Offices | 1359 Broadway 4th Floor | New York, NY 10018
W83 Ministry Center | 150 W 83rd St. | New York, NY 10024