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Weekly Newsletter February 24, 2019

West Side is a welcoming church, rooted deeply in Christ, inviting all to connect, grow and serve.

A STORY WORTH TELLING As I shared in last month’s letter and at the recent Annual Meeting and Congregational Brunch, 2019 is an important transitional year in the life of West Side. We are entering a new stage of ministry, one in which God is calling us to move more boldly and humbly in the direction of our vision. While it is impossible in a short letter to include the multitude of exciting things going on, here are a few ways in which we are answering God’s call:


Our Session, the board of representative leaders, has commissioned a “Gang of Eight” to develop a financial plan for 2020, which will take into consideration present realities, future goals, and the entirety of our mission and ministry. This group will make recommendations to our leaders to reimagine our church for this time and generation, create a growth plan that will engage a new generation of families and, ultimately, help our church flourish in the next decade. Please pray for us.


With direction from our Session, we will celebrate the Sacrament of Communion in a slightly different way from March to May. The communion table will be brought on the floor, among the people, and the worship leaders and congregation will be served together. It is our hope and intention that this change will further reinforce our inherent and essential unity as a community of faith.


We will be overhauling our audio-video system in the Sanctuary so that our growing livestream ministry will be better served and more fully engaged in what is taking place at our traditional service. Please remember that even when you can’t be here in person, you can still be connected!


Stay tuned for more information about our exciting Lenten Program, which begins on Ash Wednesday, March 6 (three services in the chapel: 6:30 am, 12:15 pm and 7:30 pm) and will include a sermon series entitled Looking Through the Parables, expanded small-group opportunities and a mission initiative focused on a very important but not-often-talked-about issue—mental health.

Thank you for investing in our mission and ministry. We are truly more impactful when we work together, pool our resources and bless the world as one community united in Christ. As always, please let me know if you have any questions or concerns, if you feel a call to engage in a deeper way with one of our ministries or if you are inspired to help us launch something new. Serving with You, Pastor Marc

Is This Your First Time Visiting West Side? Welcome! We’re so glad you’re here. We look forward to helping you connect with others, grow more deeply in your faith and enrich your own life by serving others. Wherever you are on life’s journey, there’s a place for you at West Side. Please stop by the visitor table located just inside the front doors, fill out a Let’s Connect card and pick up a visitor bag. And please stay after the service to enjoy coffee/tea and refreshments and meet the pastors and members. Have a question? Our staff is here to help: Rev. Marc Oehler, pastor, [email protected] Rev. Penny Hogan, associate pastor, [email protected] Rev. Liz Junod, pastoral associate, [email protected] Deborah Holden-Holloway, minister of music, [email protected] Pat McGlade, R.N., faith community nurse, [email protected] Esmé Elkins, children’s ministry coordinator, [email protected] Anne Lee, executive administrative assistant, [email protected] Juilliard Chamber Orchestra Performs Today! The Juilliard Chamber Orchestra returns to West Side TODAY at 3:00 pm as part of the 43rd season of the West Side Concert Series. The exciting program will include works by Beethoven, Mendelssohn (featuring a violin solo by Ludvig Gudim), Ravel and Prokofiev. Admission is free; donations are welcome. Invite your friends!

Family Promise In partnership with Family Promise of Bergen County, we’re hosting homeless working families in the Barn March 3 to 10. Every day, we provide grab-and-go breakfast items and dinner for the group. We also need two volunteers each day to sleep overnight in the Barn. (Guests on the first floor, West Siders upstairs. Cots are provided.) Can you help? Here’s what we need: • Thursday, March 7—one person to provide dinner and one person to spend the night • Friday, March 8—one person to spend the night Please reach out to Laura Given ([email protected]) if you would like to volunteer. 2

Welcoming Prayer Workshop Join Susan McBrayer on March 3 for a one-hour workshop on Welcoming Prayer, a more “active” form of contemplative prayer designed to help us deal with God-given feelings and our reactions to those feelings. We’re meeting in the Serenity Room at 11:30 am.

Habitat for Humanity West Side and First Pres are coming together to participate in a transformative mission—helping to build decent, affordable homes for hardworking families. Two build dates have been reserved for our partnership—Saturday, March 9 and Saturday, May 4. We’ll meet in the West Side parking lot at 7:30 am and return by 4:15 pm. No construction experience or special skills are necessary, only a desire to help build a new home for a Paterson family. Please contact Eric Koskinen ([email protected]) with any questions or to sign up.

First Friday Women’s Group The women of West Side are getting together at Laura Impomeni’s home in Allendale on March 1 at 7:00 pm. On the agenda: food, fun and fellowship! Please bring an appetizer or dessert to share...and RSVP to Pastor Liz ([email protected]) by February 25. Next up: Esmé Elkins’ house on April 5.

Ash Wednesday Services Join us for worship on March 6 at 6:30 am, 12:15 pm or 7:30 pm and receive the imposition of ashes as a call to remember our humanity and mortality. Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent and our preparation for the celebration of Easter. The ashes hold great power for us as we both hear the words and feel the ashes being placed on our foreheads: “You are dust and to dust you shall return.”

Talk and Q&A with Justin Lee Justin Lee, founder of the world’s largest LGBTQ+ Christian advocacy organization, will be speaking at West Side on March 17 at 4:00 pm. He’ll talk about his book, Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate, take questions from the audience and moderate a panel discussion. The event will wrap up with refreshments and a “meet and greet” in the Narthex, where Justin’s books will be available for purchase and signing. We hope you’ll join us for this engaging conversation.

Summer Choir School Making plans for the summer? Be sure to block out August 19 to 23 for our 47th annual Summer Choir School. Stay tuned for details!

Please visit for more information about our programs.


T O D AY AT W E S T S I D E 8:00 am—Little Lambs Child Care - Room 202 8:15 am—Chapel Worship - Chapel 9:00 am—Contemporary Worship DePhillips Hall 9:00 am—Sunday School - Rooms 206, 306, 311, 312 and Serenity Room 9:00 am—John the Baptist Book Study Conference Room 9:45 am—Centering Prayer - West Side Room 10:15 am—Traditional Worship - Sanctuary 10:15 am—Sunday School - Rooms 206, 306, 311, 312 and Serenity Room 11:15 am—Sermon Talk Back - Chapel

11:15 am—Prayer Circle - Chapel 11:30 am—Legacy Giving Meeting Pastor Marc’s Office 11:30 am—Family Worship Planning Meeting Serenity Room 11:30 am—[email protected] Meeting Conference Room 3:00 pm—Juilliard Chamber Orchestra Concert - Sanctuary 6:00 pm—FOCUS - Barn 6:00 pm—Men’s Council Meeting Various Rooms 7:00 pm—High School BARN - Barn

C O M I N G U P AT W E S T S I D E March 1 - First Friday Women’s Group meeting at Laura Impomeni’s home at 7:00 pm March 2 - New Jersey Choral Society Concert in the Sanctuary at 3:00 pm and 7:30 pm March 3 - Welcoming Prayer Workshop in the Serenity Room at 11:30 am March 3-10 - Family Promise guests are hosted in the Barn March 6 - Ash Wednesday Services at 6:30 am, 12:15 pm and 7:30 pm in the Chapel March 8 - Ridgewood Symphony Orchestra Concert in the Sanctuary at 8:00 pm March 10 - Ars Musica Concert in the Sanctuary at 4:00 pm March 17 - Justin Lee Talk and Panel Discussion in the Sanctuary at 4:00 pm March 20 - Bereavement Support Group in the West Side Room at 6:00 pm March 21 - Third Thursday Men’s Group meeting at Craig Matthews’ home at 7:30 pm March 23 - Anthony Kearns Concert in the Sanctuary at 7:30 pm March 31 - Mozart’s Requiem in the Sanctuary at 3:00 pm 4