Subject: West Side Update – December 16

Redeemer WestSide
WestSide Update
December 16, 2013

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The Lokkesmoe Family
Erik and Monica,
Kolton, Skylar and Sydney

“It is encouraging to see a church serve families, and also cultivate the vocational callings of its people — we often say that it’s moms who are changing our city, from within its schools, playgrounds, apartments and streets,” says Erik Lokkesmoe. He and his wife, Monica, are native Californians who moved five times in five years (from DC to LA to DC to LA to NYC), finally landing in New York three years ago. While it was Monica’s dream to move here, Erik had vowed to never live in NYC. Monica won. “And surprising to both of us, I’ve been won over,” says Erik. “We love the city, and are planting deep roots here.”

Erik and Monica have three kids: Kolton, Skylar and Sydney. “We desired for them to grow up in a great global city where they could experience diversity and density, walk to school and church, know the neighbors and merchants, and see grace in an unexpected place and people,” says Monica. “We’ve been at Redeemer for four months, and it’s been ‘grounding’ for us — its worship and teaching, and especially seeing our kids flourish as they learn Scripture, songs, and stories of God’s heroic rescue of his people.”

Erik owns a movie distribution and marketing company called Different Drummer. Monica is a labor and delivery nurse but is taking a break to raise their kids. The Center for Faith & Work has been vital for them. “Our desire is to see creatives — from painters to poets, filmmakers to fashion designers — serve the world through works of goodness, truth and beauty,” says Erik.

In all of the aspects of their lives in the city, Erik says, “Our heart’s desire is to move from striving to abiding, to practice rest, and to be a ‘present people’ who have the eyes to see and the ears to hear the joys and sorrows of the city.”

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 ,

Last week on one of those bitter cold days, I was walking along CPW to the subway and as I got to the entrance, I heard birds chirping in the tree above me. Several of my fellow New Yorkers who had been walking briskly in the growing dark and chill of the late afternoon slowed down and looked up. After just a few seconds we all resumed our brisk pace and disappeared into the night. But it struck me that what we had all shared on that sidewalk was a moment of light in the darkness, warmth in the cold. In other words, the songs sung by those birds pierced the winter air in such a way that a window was opened through which one could almost “see” the coming spring and summer, where the sounds of birds singing is the norm and not an exception.

Advent is a season that pierces the cold, dark reality of a world that too often is more dark than light, cold than warm. It is a time to slow down and listen to the ancient songs of hope that were fulfilled in the birth of the one called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.

The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. 
Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; 
it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. 
The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; 
they will see the glory of the Lord, 
the splendor of our God. (Isaiah 35:1–2)

In Christ,

Rev. David Bisgrove

Why give to Hope for New York this Christmas?
So that NYC nonprofits have access to resources to do their work even better. So that volunteers are empowered to use their skills to serve. And so that individuals and communities in need around NYC will experience flourishing. In 2013, HFNY gave $1.3 million in grants and 55,600 volunteer hours to support our poor and marginalized neighbors— help us extend this work into 2014! Hope for New York relies on individual donations (individuals like you make up over 70% of our funding sources), so consider making a year-end gift at

Why your partnership with the Diaconate matters
Your generous gifts to the Diaconate meant that in 2013, more than 461 Redeemer individuals and families received help with rents, food, utilities, counseling, job search training, transportation and spiritual support totaling $365K. Another $415K facilitated ongoing Hurricane Sandy relief in the tri-state area. Our 55 deeks helped many congregants to move out of crisis, and we could not have done it without your partnership. If you missed a chance to give to the Diaconate’s special offering the past two Sundays, you can still give online by selecting “Diaconate” from the Designated Gift drop-down menu.

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

Serve your neighbors in need this Christmas
Hope for New York’s Christmas page has all sorts of holiday-related volunteer opportunities for individuals and groups. This is a great way to celebrate Christmas through service! Opportunities include meal service, throwing Christmas parties, activities with children and youth, and more. Click here for the full list.

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

Throw a Christmas party for youth with special needs
Thursday, December 19, from 6:00PM to 8:30PM at 251 W 80th St
In partnership with Young Life’s Capernaum ministry, four to five male volunteers are needed to help with Christmas-themed activities for a group of local high schoolers with special needs at All Angels’ Church on the UWS. Play games, sing Christmas songs, and get to know the young men involved. Email Katie at

West Side Women Christmas celebration
Tuesday, December 17, from 7:30 to 9:00PM, at W83, 4th Floor
Bring a friend or two and come join the women in our congregation for a night of songs and Scripture to celebrate Jesus and the Christmas season.

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