Serving Others

“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.


To view our March 2016 Stewardship in Action newsletter, please click here.

To view our Mission Opportunities flyer (Fall 2016), please click here.

Deacon's Ministries

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

Every member of West Side lives in a geographical Parish Area which is assigned a Deacon.  Deacons stay in touch with the members in their Parish Area, especially in times of major life events such as birth, serious illness, or death in the family, to ensure that the members are cared for and that the pastors are aware of these special situations.

Deacons also oversee our prayer ministry, including our Sunday Morning Prayer Circle, and prepare communion for our worship services.


To learn more about the Deacons, please click here.

Local Missions

Family Promise *

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 and at West Side contact Nancy Sampson.

Please sign up for Family Promise Volunteer times on Sunday morning.  Look for the sign up table in the Narthex after the service.  Our upcoming volunteer week in 2016 is December 11-18, 2016.

We need volunteers for overnights, supper, provision of lunch and breakfast supplies, and help with set up and clean up.  We will only need volunteers for Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and the final Sunday.  .

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.

Food Ministry*

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. For more information, visit the CFA website, or contact.

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 10:00 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 contact Mary-Elizabeth Collins.

Safe Space *

For many years West Side has sent 8th through 12th graders to Paterson once a week during July and August to read to the young children in their city camp, called Safe-Space which is located at the United Presbyterian Church. Please contact Lucy Ianancone – 201-445-6824 – for more information. *indicates that all ages of the family can participate If you would like to make a difference in someone’s life by connecting with other West Siders and the community, please email Rev. Marc Oehler, Associate Pastor for Parish Life, or call him at 201-652-1966, extension 101.


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 contact Liz Junod or Carol Walton.

Eva’s Village

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.

Covenant House, NJ

An emergency shelter for 18 to 21 year old youth located in Newark, NJ. West Siders have recently served a community meal there in August and a fundraising outdoor concert is planned through our Foundation Group for September 12 at the Youth Barn lawn.

Missions Near & Far

Moved by the Spirit

Led by Rev. Marc Oehler, Chris Stout, and Ron Ledwith, a dedicated group of West Siders headed to Les Cayes, Haiti in March. They went to spend a week nurturing and caring for Haiti’s abandoned and vulnerable children, ages 3-18, at Father 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. Medical care was spearheaded by Dr. Tom Ahlborn, dental care was spearheaded by Dr. Greg Van Vliet, arts and crafts, and recreation was spearheaded by Macs Stout and Beth Hays Stevens. Jim Heuer headed the construction and repair work team. The participants returned feeling transformed by the love and connection they experienced with the children and their caregivers.

West Side members who made the trip:

Richard Chase, Tom Ahlborn, Mollie and Ron Ledwith, Anne Deatly, Mary Ann Kourgialis, Craig Welence, Beth Hays Stevens, Marie Alice and Chris Stout, Nicole DeSimone, Jeanne Kircher, Jean Llewellyn, Monica and Greg Van Vliet, Jim Heuer, and Phyllis Anderson.

Here are a few of their thoughts on the experience:

Before going to Haiti, I was certain my heart would be broken. I thought I knew how I would feel when confronted face to face with hundreds of orphaned children.

Two things I was shocked to learn:

1) It’s not such a bad thing when your heart breaks a little. It is necessary to spur on your commitment to help foster change in the lives of Haiti’s children.

2) My heart really broke more when I had to leave Haiti. Every day I miss those kids, the exuberant and the quiet ones, their smiles and enthusiasm, their curiosity, and their hugs and love. I hope and pray I never stop missing them. I hope and pray to return to see zanmi mwèn (“my friends,” in Creole).

– Beth Hays Stevens

This trip, our second, was full of even more poignant human issues played out on the stage of debilitating poverty. Yes, the Haitians are noble and simple and admirable at how they cobble together their lives in such desperate circumstances, but in the end they are ravaged by poverty, and it was sad to witness and yet still try to give them some Presence and Hope.

– Mollie Ledwith

As I reflected while we were in Haiti, I feel that Father Marc certainly chose the right name for the orphanage: “Espwa,” meaning “hope.” I think he has truly succeeded in giving these children hope, it is clearly seen in the eyes of the youngest children, and the fact that some of the older children are “hoping” to attend university shows that hope is alive for them as well. Where there is hope, there is a will to go forward and create a life for oneself. What a gift in the midst of a country which embodies extremely difficult circumstances!

– Phyllis Anderson

In my mind’s eye, I see patient, grateful patients and joyful children. But the shadow in my memory is a tiny tough guy, who proudly crafted and displayed his excellent God’s Eye, only to have a bully swipe it from him as class was dismissed. Enraged, he tore after the bully but could not catch up to him, nor could our translator. Oh, to have a parent! There are degrees of injustice, big and small, at which we can only shrug.

– Jean Llewellyn

We were blessed to have this opportunity to serve. I felt God’s presence everywhere. I am in awe of the other members of our team and what they shared about their experiences. Everyone seemed deeply transformed by the experience. I know I will never be the same again.

– Anne Deatly


Youth Missions

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 Guyan Valley, West Virginia to work with the Appalachia Service Project. For more information contact Rev. Penny Hogan via email or at 201-652-1966, ext.7139.



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...
Psalm 23:4

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.

Special Gifts

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

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.

Parish Nurse

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.

Read about Mental Health Month and resources for more information by clicking here.

Read about Mental Health in Children and Adolescents by clicking here.

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.

Grief Support

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 (

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,, 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 (


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.