“Be a part of something that is bigger than yourself and experience the transformation before you even return home.”
West Side has been serving others at home and around the world since 1912 through its mission efforts. Scroll down for a full range of opportunities this year.
The Ministry and Gifts of Deacons
Unlike other caring ministries in the church, the Deacons’ ministry is one to which individuals are elected by the congregation. Deacons are considered church officers, along with the Elders and Trustees, but they have a very special purpose. The office of deacon is described in Scripture as one of compassion, witness, and service after the example of Jesus Christ.
It is the duty of deacons, first of all, to minister to those who are in need, to the sick, to the friendless, and to any who may be in distress both within and beyond the community of faith. At West Side, these ministries include, among other things:
- Hospital visitation
- Coordinating home meal delivery
- Providing transportation to church events
- Hosting receptions for funerals and memorial services
Deacons also oversee our prayer ministry, including our Sunday Morning Prayer Circle, and prepare communion for our worship services.
This is the only organization in Bergen County helping working families overcome the crisis of temporary homelessness and return to self sufficiency. West Side will continue to house these families for one week at three separate times each year. For more information visit www.bergenfamilypromise.org and at West Side please call the church office.
Paterson Habitat for Humanity (for 16 years old and up)
Typically one Saturday each month, West Side volunteers work with the Paterson branch of Habitat. Over the years West Siders have helped complete dozens of homes for low-income residents. Potential opportunities for volunteers include construction, painting, landscaping etc.
Jail Ministry (must be 18 years old for visit; all ages for gifts)
Groups of West Siders go to the Drug Rehabilitation Center at the Bergen County Jail on a Sunday evening for the male inmates (Saturday for the female inmates) before Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas to share a meal and Spiritual program. Inmates provide a Christmas present idea for their children which is then bought and sent by volunteers in the congregation. For more information contact Beverly Cassidy.
Ongoing collection of food for Center for Food Action (CFA) in Mahwah, and First Presbyterian Church in Passaic. Following are the items our food pantry partners say they need the most: Peanut butter and jelly; macaroni and cheese; canned meat, tuna and beans; white and brown rice; hearty and low-sodium soups; canned fruit and vegetables; 100% juice; low-sugar cereals; diapers sizes 2, 3 and 4; infant formula & baby food; Ensure/nutritional drinks and dental hygiene supplies. All donations can be deposited in the wooden containers in the entryway.Volunteers are needed to distribute food bags on Sundays and transport them to these locations.
Meal Delivery: Bringing a meal to someone in need is a wonderful way to connect with other parish members at West Side without a long-term commitment. Members would only be called on once every six months to cook and deliver a meal to someone in the church. Please contact Deacon Laura Impomeni see her after the 10:15 am service if you are interested in adding your name to the volunteer list.
Youth Self Development
Twenty years ago, West Side started a tutoring program in Paterson to help High School young people prepare for college or vocational school. YSD has helped 97 young people move on to higher education, and 46 have graduated so far. We are starting a new group of Sophomores and need two more English and two more Math tutors. If the YSD program perks your interest, let Mary-Elizabeth Collins (201-447-5736), Kathy Koop (201-934-1470) or Janet Jaarsma (201-652-8656) tell you more about it. You don’t have to be a teacher…just someone who wants to make a difference in the lives of bright, ambitious inner city youth. For more information please call the church office.
A safe haven for women and children in Paterson has provided meals, after school care, education and training for women and children in need. West Siders have helped with childcare, tutored and provided clothing for women and children. Our youth service days have provided West Side Youth with an opportunity to serve a meal there. For more information about serving at Oasis, please call the church office.
West Siders have been serving lunch twice a month this past summer through Eva’s Kitchen, part of Eva’s Village in Paterson, NJ. Eva’s Kitchen serves lunch to approximately 150 to 200 homeless or working poor people in Paterson and surrounding areas. For more information, please call the church office.
Missions Near & Far
Moved by the Spirit
Once a year, West Siders travel to Les Cayes, Haiti, to spend a week nurturing and caring for Haiti’s abandoned and vulnerable children at Fr. Marc Boisvert’s Pwoje Espwa Sud. West Side has provided financial support through the years and aims to supply other types of support through mission teams working on-site. The West Side team has provided medical and dental care, performed vision exams and distributed glasses, performed construction and electrical work, and entertained the children with arts and crafts, baking projects, dance classes, and sports and games. The participants returned feeling transformed by the love and connection they experienced with the children and their caregivers.
During Summer Break, West Side high school students set-out on an adventure of giving. In the past, they have built houses in Mexico and supported tornado relief efforts in Nashville. In February, 2013, they gave up their vacation to help “Rebuilding Hope” In New Orleans (RHNO) and Habitat for Humanity. Most recently, they have traveled to Virginia to work with the Appalachia Service Project. For more information contact Rev. Penny Hogan via email or at 201-652-1966.
Pastor’s Emergency Fund
Funds are raised on an ongoing basis due to an extraordinary number of crisis requests for various kinds of help: eviction intervention, jail release, emergency travel. Often these families, on the verge of becoming homeless, have run into financial difficulties when a family member loses a job or develops a medical problem. The Pastor’s Emergency Fund is currently depleted. If you wish to contribute, simply write “Pastor’s Emergency Fund” on the memo line of your check. You can contact Rev. Marc Oehler for more information.
The Memorial Garden
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for Thou are with me...
Interment in The Memorial Garden
The worship of God, communion, baptisms, marriages, and memorial services are celebrations of Christian life at West Side. The Memorial Garden, carefully planned and executed, extends West Side’s ministry by providing a sacred, beautiful, and enduring space for the burial of cremated remains in the arms of the church. The Memorial Garden is a place for reflection, meditation, remembrance and prayer for bereaved family and friends, as well as a contemplative setting for all to enjoy. Restoration of the Garden to its former beauty before the fire took time and effort, but the committee was diligent in its efforts to delineate and landscape the area, so that, once again, the Garden is a place of peace and comfort. A pastor can discuss both memorial services and the Memorial Garden as well as provide a packet of Memorial Garden information. Current members of the Memorial Garden Committee are Sara Johnson, chair; Ed Kopf, Barbara Spiegel, and Meriam Voigt.
Bequests and gifts in celebration of special events or in honor of loved ones, as well as gifts in loving memory of someone, may be made to help restore and enhance our garden sanctuary, and should be made payable to The Memorial Garden Perpetual Care Account, and mailed to West Side’s Finance Manager. For information on major gifting opportunities, please contact Sara Johnson.
Health Ministries Committee
The Health Ministries Committee (HMC), along with our Parish Nurse, Pat McGlade, seeks to support the health and wellness of our congregation by caring for the whole person-body, mind, and spirit. Click here for the Health Ministries brochure. Together the HMC acts as the living witness of the healing activity of God in our local congregation, promoting whole-person health through:
- integration of body, mind, and spirit
- increased self-knowledge
- personal responsibility, and
- interdependence among God’s people.
Pat McGlade, ext. 104 The Parish Nurse focuses on the whole person, to emphasize wellness, disease prevention, and health promotion through the span of life. The Parish Nurse’s care is based on the holistic model, which sees health as related to everything a person does, thinks, and feels, rather than merely the absence of disease. The Parish Nurse is available to individuals and families for needs assessment, support, guidance, and evaluation of the ways the church can respond to care requirements.
Care Team Ministry
The Care Teams respond to the real-life needs of individuals and families. Volunteers work together to offer practical, emotional, and spiritual support to those who are experiencing physical and/or mental illness or disability, acute or long-term needs, or other life-challenging events. Teams are made up of trained volunteers working from an established, coordinated plan set up as a team effort. A care team provides services that assist the recipient in activities of daily living at home or in an institutional setting.
West Side’s grief group, Healing Hearts, meets on the first and third Sundays of the month from 3:30 to 4:45 pm in the Serenity Room. Participants are invited to stay for our Foundation Contemporary Worship Service at 5:15 pm. Whether you are grieving a recent loss or one from many years ago, this support group can help. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Pat McGlade (email@example.com).
Welcoming People with Disabilities
Our church building was designed to be compatible with ADA guidelines. West Side offers barrier free access to the building, an elevator, hearing devices and large print bulletins. For information on accessibility, call the church office at 201-652-1966.
Safe on Your Feet
Is your life balanced? Safe on your Feet is a multi-level fitness program for active seniors or beginning and rehabilitating exercisers. It meets Tuesdays and Thursdays at 12:15 p.m. in the lower level in DePhillips Hall; the cost is $5 per session. Contact Pat McGlade for information or to register, firstname.lastname@example.org, or ext. 104. Friends welcome, too!
The MELT Method
Come to West Side on Thursdays from 10:30 to 11:30 am and learn simple self-care techniques that you can practice at home to remain active, healthy, youthful and pain-free—at any age. The secret? It’s The MELT Method, taught by certified instructor Theresa Mihalopoulos. Class will be held on October 26; November 2, 9 and 30; and December 7, 14, 21 and 28. The cost is $18 per class for West Side members, $20 for nonmembers—cash only. To learn more, please contact Theresa (email@example.com).
If you are hospitalized or know a West Sider who is being hospitalized, please let a pastor or the parish nurse know, especially if you want a visit from the pastor. Sometimes the hospital will contact the church but not always, and we don’t want anyone to feel “cut off” from West Side. Just call 201-652-1966 and leave a message on one of the following extensions: Rev. Marc Oehler, ext. 101; Rev. Penny Hogan, ext. 102; Pat McGlade, parish nurse, ext. 104.
In Case of a Medical Emergency
The AED Unit (Automated External Defibrillator) is located on the wall across from the Reception Desk. The first aid kit is located on the inside of the door directly across from the reception desk in the Christian Ed building.