Subject: West Side Update – December 9

Redeemer WestSide
WestSide Update
December 9, 2013

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Miriam G.

Miriam G. is a Jewish believer in Jesus (sometimes called a “Messianic Jew”). She grew up in Park Slope and went to New York City public schools the whole way through. Her family started going to Redeemer when the church was only about a year old, and Miriam went fairly regularly until she left for college. She went to law school immediately thereafter and then returned to the city.

“The challenge when I got back from law school was that I had left as a member of the youth programs when the church was (relatively) smaller, and when I got back the church had grown enormously and I was an adult without a defined role,” says Miriam. “I had a lot of trouble finding a way of integrating back into the church.” For Miriam, the Center for Faith & Work’s Gotham Fellowship changed that last year — providing both a personally formative program and a smaller community experience.

“I’d encourage other new or newly-returned attenders to look for ways to get involved as quickly as possible, because it’s easy to get lost in the crowd and let inertia or shyness keep you on the sidelines,” says Miriam. “The Redeemer experience is so much richer, though, once you’ve started to get to know people and to hang out and serve with other Redeemer people outside of the Sunday service.”

Miriam’s primary Redeemer involvement is currently through a Hope for New York affiliate, Open Hands Legal Services, which serves indigent and low-income people who usually have both legal and spiritual needs.

In the neighborhood, one of Miriam’s favorites is Levain Bakery, “which, I can neither confirm nor deny, was a significant factor in my decision to move to the UWS,” she says. “And I love to have people over to my place for food, drinks, movies, games, and hanging out. Anybody interested in an UWS game night?”

As a church of Jesus Christ, Redeemer exists 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.
Hello ,

One of the first things I notice anytime I leave NYC is how impatient I have become. The lines in the store and the people in front of me move way too slowly! Which is why Advent is a good reminder of the importance of the art of waiting, or, as Stanley Hauerwas put it:

Advent is recovery of how to live in a world of impatience as a patient people.

Reading the Christmas story, we are reminded of how long God’s people waited for the Savior to be born. Isaiah’s great poetic predictions of comfort and light were followed by 700 years of silence. And then when Jesus finally did come, he came as a baby, which meant 30 more years of waiting. And when he finally did go public, there were three more years of wandering the backwoods of Israel before confronting Pilate in Jerusalem. Why? God has his reasons (2 Peter 3:9). And I know that in my life it is often the seasons where God seems absent that my roots of faith grow deeper. That’s because waiting reveals both our weakness (fear, doubt, pride) and therefore our need for his steadfast love. Dietrich Bonhoeffer put it this way in one of his Advent sermons:

The celebration of Advent is possible only to those who are troubled in soul, who know themselves to be poor and imperfect, and who look forward to something greater to come.

In a city that never sleeps, Advent is a good reminder that a little slowing down can be the best part of Christmas.

Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
 they shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:30–31

In Christ,

Rev. David Bisgrove

Thanks to all for Birthday Party for Jesus!
Redeemer Children’s Ministries had a wonderful Birthday Party for Jesus on Saturday, with around 700 people attending from all three congregations and over 100 volunteers helping with the event! After our Nativity program and singing Christmas carols together in the sanctuary, we had games, crafts, a service project, and birthday cake for all the kids. It was a great event for all involved. Thank you to our many West Siders who volunteered!

Here are some great opportunities this week and season from Hope for New York.

World Vision Day of Caring in Rockaways
Saturday, December 14, 8:00AM to 2:00PM
Serve with World Vision’s Day of Caring, a huge community outreach to kids and families in the Rockaways who are still recovering from Hurricane Sandy. Over 1,000 children are expected. Help set up and clean up, and assist with leading crafts and games, face-painting, and distributing toys/gifts to the families. RSVP here.

Pilot Program: Tutor youth in Harlem (or play squash with them!)
Monday, December 16 (orientation); weeknights and Saturdays (service)
Volunteers are needed on weeknights and Saturdays to tutor youth one-on-one, helping with homework and skill building exercises for 7–12th graders. Orientation will be held on December 16. Squash coaches also needed. Contact for more information and to sign up.

Lead Bible study for youth with special needs
Thursdays from 6:00 to 7:30PM
Hang out with UWS high school students with special needs at weekly Capernaum Campaigners Bible study. Male volunteers especially needed. Contact HFNY Team Leader Katie at for more information and to sign up.

Redeemer flash mob!
Saturday, December 14, 4:30 PM, Verdi Square, 72nd & Broadway
For the third year in a row, a group from Redeemer has organized a flash mob Christmas caroling event at the 1/2/3 subway station at 72nd street. Over 50 people joined last year. This year, we’re doing it again! Someone will bring song sheets and at least one professional singer/musician will be there to start off the singing. After he or she starts “O Come All Ye Faithful,” the rest of the group will slowly join in and walk toward a designated spot in the square to sing for about 20 minutes before departing. Come and bring friends!

Friday Women’s group location change this week
This week only, the Friday morning West Side Women’s group will meet for a Christmas Tea at a special location on December 13 and not at W83. Please email Kari Jo at for details.

CFW artist-in-residence installation opens Friday
Friday and Saturday, December 13–14, at Gallery Four81, 481 Broadway 4th Floor
British artist Rebecca Locke’s exhibit, titled “and we all came in together,” opens this weekend. The exhibit, the first one ever commissioned by the Center for Faith & Work, explores the theme of celebration. This is a great opportunity to bring friends and colleagues as part of the Public Faith initiative. Details here.

Getting married in 2014?
Saturday, January 11, from 9:00AM to 4:00PM
Register now for Preparing for Marriage, a fun, interactive seminar led by Dr. Brent Bounds that focuses on various aspects of marriage. Space is limited, so be sure to register early. To sign up and for other information, go here.

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