Highbridge Community Church receives ‘Sacred Sites’ grant to repair roof

World Military Mission 2017 at Highbridge Community Church
Photo by Milal Photos via Flickr

The New York Landmarks Conservancy announced that 17 Sacred Sites Grants, totaling $267,000, have been awarded to historic religious properties across New York State, including a $25,000 grant to the Community Church Highbridge in the Bronx to help fund the roof replacement.

Highbridge Community Church acquired the former Reformed Union Church, located on Ogden Avenue in 2005. Originally formed as the Protestant Union Sunday-School of Highbridgeville, the current building Richardsonian Romanesque was completed in 1887-88 to the design of Manhattan-based architect Alfred. E. Barlow and built by DC Weeks & Son. Constructed of randomly seated rock-faced gneiss cut stone with red sandstone trim, the one-story building has a taller square steeple at the southwest corner. The original slate roof is badly deteriorated and actively leaking, and needs a complete replacement.

“Our grantees help maintain these vital institutions as they serve their congregations and communities,” said Peg Breen, president of the New York Landmarks Conservancy. “The social service programs provided by these beneficiaries reached more than 175,000 people in these difficult days.”

During the pandemic, Highbridge Community Church partnered with local elected officials to collect and distribute PPE, donating 600 masks to the community. The church also held weekly virus and antibody testing from a van parked on church property, and church leaders also worked to promote participation in the 2020 census.

The Muslim Women’s Institute for Social Justice organized a “Day of Dignity”, distributing food, hygiene kits and school supplies to around 50 children. A holiday gift giving program reached around 50 children, as well as adults at a nearby shelter. Working with local food pantries, the church distributes food to nearby seniors. Together, these activities reach around 1,000 people a year.

The Sacred Sites Program provides congregations with matching grants for planning and implementing outdoor restoration projects, as well as technical assistance and workshops. Since 1986, the program has pledged 1,578 grants totaling more than $14.9 million to 836 religious institutions statewide.

Norma P. Rex