Historic Bronx church saved from financial troubles, keeps doors open

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THE BRONX -

A historic church in the Bronx battled financial trouble for years and was on the verge of closing forever, until some divine intervention saved the day.

The First Union Baptist Church has served the community for more than a century.

For the last 42 years, its members congregated in the historic building on Grand Concourse adorned with stunning stained-glass windows and glowing chandeliers.

For years the rows of pews were filled for Sunday services, but in recent years attendance declined, as did the condition of the building.

In 2012, the church filed for bankruptcy, and then came news its lender had foreclosed.

"Was a lot of doubt, but we had faith,” says Rev. James Wilson.

That faith was rewarded, as the Legal Aid Society, along with Thorobird Companies, worked to negotiate a settlement to keep the lights on.

Part of the agreement includes the addition of 45 or more units of affordable housing to the property, something church members are excited about.

"We hope that it's affordable as they said and some of the people from the community will be able to live in the building,” says Princess Adolphus, a member of the congregation.

For a church that has served this community for so many years, members of the congregation tell News 12 they are thrilled that the doors are staying open.

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