Subject: West Side Update - July 23

Redeemer WestSide Newsletter
Redeemer WestSide
WestSide Update
July 23, 2012

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Mary Jane Eaton Sobel
Redeemer Deaconess

Mary Jane Eaton Sobel married her husband, Andrew, 30 years ago. They moved from Sante Fe to NYC for Andrew’s work in 2009.

Mary Jane was raised Roman Catholic and was then a Zen Buddhist for several years before she and Andrew came to faith in Christ about two and a half years ago, through separate but parallel paths. They then came to Redeemer after Andrew read Tim’s A Reason for God. “My whole life has just been this love story of God tracking me down and breaking through all of my resistance,” she says.

Mary Jane is retired. She previously worked as a language teacher, got her MBA and worked in banking, and then stayed home to raise her kids. She and Andrew have three grown children and one “bonus daughter,” a woman so close to them that they consider her a daughter.

At first, Mary Jane was so excited about her faith that she wanted to spend all her time studying the Bible or evangelizing. But then she realized she was supposed to serve the church in a different way—by joining the diaconate, which she did this May.

As a deaconess, she hopes to offer understanding and compassion to others, in part because she has personally experienced suffering in her life, including sexual trauma as a young girl and teenager. “God led me to see the powerful interaction between our brokenness and the traumas that can happen to us,” she says. “We can use any excuse to walk away from God. And trauma’s a great excuse.”

Mary Jane is open in discussing her own and others’ sufferings, and she encourages others to do the same.

Hello ,

As many of your know, during the week of July 9th we hosted our first Vacation Bible School at W83 (click here for the highlight video if you missed it last week.) The 160 children from across the East, West and Downtown congregations filled the space with laughter and enthusiasm, and transformed the building into a playground of joy! The amazing group of volunteers (over 100!) and staff even coaxed each of the pastors to come out on stage in costume to dance and help with the memory verse, which was:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
 and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

As I observed and then reflected on the week, it reminded me of what Jesus said during a debate his disciples were having about what greatness looked like in God’s Kingdom.  Jesus pulled a child aside and said, “unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18).  It is a reminder that we not only have a sacred responsibility to shepherd the more then 200 children that worship with the WS community each week, but they have much to teach us about what it means to follow Jesus in lives of shameless joy and complete dependence.

In Christ,

Rev. David Bisgrove

Cool spots to spend a hot summer days!
Our wonderful friends in the Arts Ministry have shared suggestions for great UWS cultural spots to visit during these long summer days.

The Cloisters (Fort Tryon Park) From the museum to the gardens to the family programs to the great views of the Hudson, it is a truly unique destination and a great place to "get away" in the city! Click here for more information. Also in Fort Tryon Park, the New Leaf Cafe has live music on Friday evenings and is part of the New York Restoration Project that supports maintenance and renewal of NYC parks and open spaces. Click here for more information, and be sure to double check summer hours.

The New-York Historical Society (W 77th Street and Central Park West) Major renovations were completed late last year and beautifully showcase arts and artifacts ranging from masterworks of American painting, to the nation’s premiere collection of Tiffany lamps, to historical touchstones like the Union Army draft wheel that played a role in one of the worst urban riots in United States history. There's also a great interactive children's program, and a great new restaurant to visit. Click here for more information.

Hope for New York + Children's Ministry School Kit Packing Project
During Sunday School on July 29, all Pre-K to 5th grade children will be participating in a hands-on local missions project with Hope for New York! The kids will be packing back-to-school kits to be distributed to Hope for New York partner ministries that serve at-risk children and youth. All supplies will be provided at Sunday School. Hope for New York has several family-oriented volunteer opportunities throughout the year. Visit to learn how you can serve as a family!

See our website for further needs listed on our Serve with Us page.

Sunday Service Ministry Volunteers gather for a great celebration in Central Park!
On Monday, July 16 we were delighted to have more than 150 fabulous Sunday Service Ministry volunteers gather for the annual summer Philharmonic concert in Central Park! We send a very special shout out to the early bird volunteers including Drew & Marion Melton, Michelle Berti, and Rudolf French for meeting Phoebe at 6AM to stake out the prime real estate so close to the stage, and also a very special thank you to WSPM song leader Monica Allison for guarding the space for our volunteers in the evening! This is a terrific night each summer when we thank our volunteers for their work by inviting them to enjoy a great concert with great company. We are so grateful for each of these mighty men and women for so graciously sharing their time, gifts and talents to help facilitate our beautiful Sundays worship services!

Big fun at our first West Side Supper!
Thanks to an awesome volunteer squad, on Friday July 20, almost 100 West Siders spent a fun night catching up with old friends and making new ones! It was a great chance to go deeper in our community, extending invitations to friends and neighbors to visit the W83 Ministry Center and meet lots of Redeemer folks over tasty dinner. The volunteer team of Claire and James Griffin, Suzanne Coupe, Ben Nockles, Ilona Zbirun, and Lisa and David Schroeder not only organized all the details for Friday's event, but also crafted a vision for how these dinners can help us have fun, welcome new friends to the West Side and get know each other better. We thank everyone who came out, and hope to see many more folks at many more suppers down the road! If you'd like to help organize and host future suppers, please email us at to be added to the list.

West Side Congregation | Redeemer Presbyterian Church | 1359 Broadway 4th Floor | New York, NY 10018