Subject: West Side Update – December 23

Redeemer WestSide
WestSide Update
December 23, 2013

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Rebecca Honts
HFNY Operation Exodus Volunteer

“The trail was supposed to be easy and only take an hour,” says Rebecca Honts, who volunteers with Hope for New York affliate, Operation Exodus, a tutoring and mentorship program for at-risk youth in Washington Heights and Inwood. Every fall, Operation Exodus takes the whole Saturday program to Bear Mountain, and last year, after getting a ride to the top, they decided to hike down it with the girls. “We quickly realized as the easiness of the trail fell away that another hiker had directed us to the wrong trail. We were climbing on rock walls, shimmying down boulders on our rear ends, and navigating a steep and challenging path — the girls all in Ugg boots and pink sparkly ballerina shoes! Instead of complaining, the girls rallied together and helped one another down the mountain. I was astonished at what they were capable of and immensely proud of them on their three and a half hour hike!”

Rebecca has volunteered with Operation Exodus since January 2010, following the same group of girls from second grade to sixth grade. “The most rewarding thing is watching my girls grow — grow academically, grow spiritually, grow in maturity, and grow in their hopes and dreams,” she says.

Rebecca is from Richmond, Va. and moved to NYC in 2005. She works in the art world, currently with auction houses in Europe. She’s attended Redeemer since 2005 and co-led a Beta Group for the first time this fall. And her favorite cup of coffee and brunch in her neighborhood, Harlem, is Tanto Dulce Café: “It’s tiny but the smoked salmon mascarpone sandwich is delicious.”

Rebecca says God has worked in her, making her more loving and generous during her time at Operation Exodus. She says, “Volunteering has changed me from someone who views her time and resources selfishly to someone who can't imagine sleeping in every Saturday.”

Interested in HFNY volunteer projects on the UWS? Click here to find affiliates listed by geographic region.

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 at our West Side Staff team meeting, we gathered after a busy Advent season to collectively catch our breath and reflect on Christ’s incarnation. One of the things we did was read a chapter entitled “The Claims of Jesus” from John Stott’s book Why I Am a Christian.

A striking feature of Christ’s teaching that Stott noted was Christ’s self-centeredness. Jesus identified himself as the bread of life, the way and the truth and the life, and the resurrection and the life, and also said that if his followers were to be worthy of his presence, they had to love him more than anyone else. Stott writes, “The prominence of the personal pronoun (‘I, I, I — me, me, me’) is very disturbing especially one who declared humility to be the preeminent virtue.”

And yet as Stott points out, all this isn’t disturbing if it is true. In fact, the glory and paradox of Christmas is that the firstborn over all creation inserted himself into creation in order to rescue it. The glory and power of God becoming weak is the gift we can give to our souls and our city — not just at Christmas, but throughout the year.

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Col. 1:15–17)

Merry Christmas!

Rev. David Bisgrove

Make your year-end gift by next Tuesday!
The month of December is when Redeemer historically receives more than a quarter of its annual gifts, which this year means we need approximately $3M by month’s end. If you still plan to make a year-end gift to Redeemer, your gifts must be received or postmarked by next Tuesday, December 31, in order to qualify as a donation on your 2013 tax return.

Thank you to everyone who has already given to Redeemer’s operating fund. We have been encouraged by the generosity of those who have increased their giving this year in order to strengthen the collegiate model and help Redeemer serve more of the city. To give online now, go to

Here are some opportunities from Hope for New York for you to serve over the holiday.

Serve Dinner at The Bowery Mission
Wednesday, January 1, from 6:30PM to 8:30PM at 227 Bowery
Kick off the New Year by serving dinner to our neighbors in need. RSVP here.

Help Pack and Sort Donated Items at World Vision
Saturday, January 4, from 10:00AM to 2:00PM
Help sort, package and prepare donated items for distribution to World Vision’s community partners in the South Bronx. RSVP here.

Spend a Saturday with Habitat for Humanity
Saturday, January 4, from 9:15AM to 4:30PM
Help paint and revitalize a community center in Inwood. Great for groups. RSVP here.

Saturday, January 11, from 9:00AM to 4:30PM
Help make repairs on homes that have been damaged by Hurricane Sandy in Staten Island. No construction experience is necessary. Great for groups. RSVP here.

Come to the Christmas Eve service!
Tuesday, December 24, at 5:00PM at 150 W 83rd
Going to be in town tomorrow evening? Come with your friends and loved ones for a simple service of lessons and carols at W83 to celebrate Jesus and the hope that’s within. Kids will get to remain in the service as there’ll be no Children’s Ministry. Merry Christmas!

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