WS Update: Advent

November 29, 2021

Yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent, a season in the church calendar that centers the Church’s attention on the birth of Jesus. It also is a time that looks ahead to the second advent (coming) of Jesus when he will consummate the kingdom that was inaugurated with his birth. In many ways these four weeks heighten the Christian community’s awareness that it is always living in a form of advent, the time between Jesus’ first and second coming. This is in part why Frederich Buechner characterized that what Christians do each week when they arrive for worship is “waiting.” Fleming Rutledge in her wonderful book on Advent puts it this way:

The disappointment, brokenness, suffering and pain that characterizes life in this present world is held in dynamic tension with the promise of future glory that is yet to come. In that Advent tension, the church lives its life.

Advent takes seriously the pain, suffering and injustices that far too often mark our lives in this world as we remember that God himself plunged into the messiness of our humanity in order to redeem and heal the world. This is why Advent is a great opportunity to engage with those in your life who don’t identify as Christians because as Tom Wright put it:

Only in the Christian story do we find any sense that the problems of the world are solved not by a straightforward upward movement into the light but by the creator God going down into the dark to rescue humankind and the world from its plight.

So take time over the next four weeks to read through the various gospel accounts of Jesus’ birth as well as these Advent Resources on our website and consider inviting a friend who doesn’t know Jesus to read along with you.

Comfort, comfort my people,
    says your God.
 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
    and proclaim to her
that her hard service has been completed,
    that her sin has been paid for,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand
    double for all her sins.
— Isaiah 40:1-2

#GivingTuesday is tomorrow

At Redeemer West Side we are living out a sacred call to love our neighbors and heal our city. 

This #GivingTuesday we are seeking to take more ownership of loving our neighbors as a church through promoting Shalom. We believe this means building relationships with our neighbors on the West Side, rolling up our sleeves and asking, “Where is God at work? Where is God showing us his heart? How can we help?” 

So this #GivingTuesday feels a little different. We’re not raising the money for us. We are raising money for the good of our neighbors. Our goal is to raise $25,000 to seed local initiatives, build partnerships, and start new things for underserved and marginalized communities on the West Side.

Coming up at Redeemer West Side

  • Nominate a member to serve: There is still time to acknowledge the special giftings in your friends and nominate them to serve as a member of the Diaconate or as an elder!
  • Share the advent stories: This Christmas season, let’s share the original Advent stories with friends and neighbors! Invite friends and neighbors to read these stories with you, invite responses, meet a few times and make it festive!
  • Donate to His Toy Store by November 30: Our partner ministry Hope for New York continues its annual Christmas outreach to bring joy to families in need! In an ongoing pandemic year, support His Toy Store by helping them reach their goal of $150K for a holiday fund to give grants directly to their affiliates so they can individualize their own Christmas outreach, to provide families with what they need.
  • Attend the West Side Art Salon, December 1: Join us for the very first West Side Art Salon where we’ll be featuring author Elizabeth Passarella and her book Good Apple: Tales of a Southern Evangelical in New York. Drinks and snack will be served!
  • Sign up for our Membership Class, December 5: Thinking about becoming a member? This class is for you! We’ll talk about the five membership vows, the gospel theology and ministry of RWS and how members step into our call to love our neighbors and heal our city.
  • Register for WS Kids Christmas Celebration, December 11: Join WS Kids for a light breakfast and celebrating the birth of Jesus by reading the Christmas story, singing songs and, of course, a birthday cake!Cost $5 per family.
  • Throw a holiday party for teen moms: Bring holiday fun and joy to teen moms and their kids! YoungLives needs volunteers to help serve food, lead holiday arts and crafts, wrap gifts, and provide child care.
  • Send Christmas greetings to families: Write encouraging notes to families who will receive gifts through Safe Families for Children’s His Toy Store event. Volunteers are needed to write cards (in batches of 10) and return them to Safe Families by Monday, December 6 so they can distribute to 60-70 families.