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Mother Cecily P. Broderick y Guerra (Retired)

Mother Cecily P. Broderick y Guerra (Retired)

St. Phillips Church

“The black church is in a new era. If it is to survive, it must be adaptable, visionary, and reflective.”

Rev. Cecily P. Broderick y Guerra, aka Mother Broderick, is on a mission. In her words you hear the wisdom of the ages dance with a keen insight into the present and future needs of the people in Harlem. A pastor for twenty years now, she just completed her second tenure at St. Phillips Church. She has a Bachelor’s degree from Trinity College, a Masters of Divinity from Yale and Berkeley Divinity Schools, and a Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary.

“Harlem is one place where African Americans have found a home in the midst of their exile. The church was so central to the community because it was the main arena that gathered people together. Churches like St. Phillips provided an incredible range of social services, founded educational institutions and businesses where educated and skilled people could conduct professional operations while color barriers prevented them from working in schools, businesses and practices in the mainstream. Unfortunately, these ties to the church began to loosen once equal access for blacks in mainstream society was won in the 1960s and 70s. In the black church today, there is a call for forward thinking leadership and for redefining the goals of the church to meet the needs of the contemporary community in terms of spiritual maintenance and social services.

Harlem is a community where, unlike in other neighborhoods, you really get a sense that we are connected — the churches, politicians, business owners, the people who live here.  Our history holds us together. Our desire to make this community great holds us together.  

I always wanted to minister. My parents were in the medical profession and active in church. I always figured it would be medicine or ministry for me. So, when I began failing my pre-med classes in college, I switched to religion and excelled. I took that as a sign from God to do his work. I was ordained in 1987.

The best pastors care about people as much as they care about themselves. I’ve committed my life to helping other people. It is the best choice I’ve ever made.”

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