At 110, A Bronx Church Tries to Reinvent Itself

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Editor's note: Been meaning to post this story that first appeared in the May 4 edition of the Norwood News. So here it is. Photo slideshow by Adi Talwar. See more of Adi's work at

By Lulaine Compere

If not for an official from a faraway West African nation, the Church of the Holy Nativity in Norwood would have seen its 110th birth year come and go without so much as a peep.

“One of our wardens from Sierra Leone got us to celebrate our 110the anniversary,” says Richard Kelly, a longtime parishioner.

That Holy Nativity, an Episcopalian congregation, was reminded of its lengthy local history by a man from Sierra Leone, says a lot about the state of the church. Some long-standing church members, like Kelly, remain. But like many area churches, Holy Nativity’s numbers have shrunk and its congregation has diversified racially and ethnically.

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