Residents of New York City have a reputation for being gruff, indifferent and self-involved. Having lived here for over 30 years I take issue with that blanket portrayal of millions of my neighbors. However it is a place that can be isolating and cold, lacking something that has been shown to create connection and healing: kindness. A recent study underscores how simple acts of kindness can boost well-being including lowering stress levels and boosting happiness. Additionally those performing random acts of kindness were shown to feel far better afterwards than they thought they would.
These findings underscore one of the foundational truths of scripture, that it is more blessed to give than to receive. (Acts 20:35). Humans are created in God’s image, whose essence is love (I John 4:16) and are to bear the fruit of that love. (Galatians 5:22). Jesus taught his followers to treat people the same way they wanted to be treated (Matthew 7:12) and to love their enemies, to do good and expect nothing in return, “for (God) Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men”. Kindness rooted in selfless love is redemptive and healing.
So as you start another week in a culture increasingly described as toxic, how might you tangibly reflect God’s love to others and be an antidote to that toxicity by reaching out to someone with a word of encouragement, or slowing down to listen to someone’s pain over a cup of coffee? As the author of the article that inspired this reflection put it: “What skills and talents do you already have? And how can you turn that into an offering for other people?” In doing so you reflect the very essence of God himself.
I have shown you in all things that by working hard in this way we must help the weak, remembering the words that the Lord Jesus himself said, ‘There is more happiness in giving than in receiving.’Acts 20:35 (Good News Translation)
Opening Reception for Movement: Solo Exhibit by Christian (Xndrsn) Harbin
Christian (Xndrsn) Harbin’s artworks invite us to explore music and movement in his lines, colors, and composition. Through engaging with the energy and rhythm of his paintings, we are encouraged to consider the movements in our own lives and the internal journeys we take.
- Marriage Lab, Sept 14: Marriage Lab is a monthly gathering of newly married couples, grouped with seasoned mentor couples. Monthly discussions will include topics such as a gospel framework for marriage, intimacy, communication, finances, conflict resolution and others. You must have been married during the period from January 2020 through September 2022 and attend either Redeemer West Side or Redeemer Lincoln Square to participate.
- Youth Partners Cocktail Social, Sept 15: A new ministry year is upon us and the WS Youth team is excited to share all about its plans for the year! Learn what’s coming up for youth while enjoying a night of socializing over cocktails with other parents, guardians, volunteers, and youth-loving adults.
- Join us on a Bird Watching Walking Tour, Sept 17: Did you know that every Fall and Spring, Central Park becomes a stopover for over 200 species of migrating birds as they make their way along the Atlantic Flyway? Connect with other Redeemerites as we look for warblers and wrens, hawks and herons – even “regulars” like Blue Jays and Northern Cardinals. Redeemer members and birding enthusiasts, Will Papp and Kathleen Matthews, will lead this easy, fun, 90-minute bird walk through some of Central Park’s best birding “hot spots.”
- Register for New at RWS, Sept 18: If you’re new at Redeemer West Side, this is the place to get to know us and learn how to take the next step. We’ll talk about our vision, values, and history, and introduce you to our various ministries so you know how to get better connected. It’s also a great opportunity to meet some some of our staff, lay leaders, and others new to the church. Lunch will be served.
- Sign up for the RWS Membership Class, Sept 25: This class helps potential members learn the gospel theology and ministry of Redeemer West Side so you can join the church. We cover what’s behind the five membership vows, how a PCA church is led, and how members step into our sacred call to love our neighbors and heal our city.
- Register for Following Jesus in your 20s, Oct 9: Launch a new or enhanced life of following Jesus. Gain practices that navigate a lifetime of discipleship by learning how people grow at Redeemer West Side. This class gives us a foundation to live on as a follower of Jesus and helps us understand the greater Christian story we are part of.
This class is held as a three-week class on Sundays in-person. Interactive, with some productive ‘homework.’
- Build your community: Every community has a mission, and every mission has a community behind it. So if you’re interested in building communities for following Jesus together and making an impact in our neighborhoods, please let us know. Community groups have always been a crucial part of Redeemer’s life together, all the more so when communities have been fragmented the last couple years.
Redeemer West Side is aiming to start up to 5 new community groups this fall. We’re looking for hosts and leaders who are hospitable, can facilitate discussions, and help their group find ways to serve the city and each other. If you feel like that’s you, send an email to [email protected]
- We are hiring: Do you know anyone who’d be a great fit at Redeemer? We are looking to fill several roles on our team before the end of the year. Check them out and spread the word!
- Volunteer at Youth Group on Friday nights: Build involvement with our amazing middle & high schoolers by joining a weekly pizza dinner at W83, leading small group discussions, and being a Christ-like presence in their lives.
- Be a volunteer for Kids Community Group: KCG is an after school program for west side children 1st grade-5th grade. We meet every Wednesday after school to worship as a family, have pizza, and to learn about God’s word. For any questions about registration please contact us at [email protected].
- Register for Redeemer Counseling’s fall Renewal Groups: Renewal Groups combine gospel-centered, biblical truth with some of the best tools from counseling psychology. Each Renewal Group is made up of six to eight people and a professional counselor focusing on a particular area of healing and growth. In each group, you will learn skills as well as receive the encouragement of peers who are on the same journey as you. This fall, RCS has three groups: Your Asian American Journey (for women) Sexual Integrity for Men, and Calming Your Anxious Mind.
- Become a tutor or mentor this year: As the school year starts, consider connecting with a child to support dreams and goals throughout the year! Look for ways to mentor and/or tutor for the 2022-2023 academic year.
- Join a Do For One info session: This fall, meet in person to learn more about a special community that supports adults with disabilities. Gain a deeper understanding of the history behind Do For One’s mission, and hear stories about real Do For One relationships!