Community mourns closing of Norwood church

Posted at 5:07 PM, Mar 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-11 19:46:00-04

NORWOOD, Ohio — The fate of the Norwood Baptist Church has been tenuous for years. Now, the church has officially closed its doors indefinitely.

Many members of the community learned about the closing from a post on Facebook that announced the building had been sold.

One-time congregants are now mourning the loss of an area staple that brought people together for decades.

"The church building itself meant a lot to me, because I grew up going to Sunday School church, youth group, I was married there," said Karen Gifford, who grew up attending the church.

Her husband, whom she married in that church, was a deacon there. Although the family moved to Mississippi two decades ago, the Norwood Baptist Church was still a place they considered home.

Former pastor Ricardo Sabugo Alamillo decided to build a new church down the block a few years ago, when Norwood Baptist originally announced its intention to sell the building.

"Norwood Baptist Church used to be my church," he said. "We're going to miss that church, also the people. The congregation has disappeared. It's no more a church."

Alamillo was a pastor in the Spanish ministry with the church for three years, and he said the loss of this church is a significant blow to the community.

"The purpose was preaching and help people," he said. "You know, counseling, guiding. Now they lost it. There's nobody. I'm here, but it's not the same."

According to Alamillo, a business from New York purchased the building and intends to put offices inside the building that once housed the church.

"Still people come and ask me, 'Do you know where's the church and the people, where can I find it?' It's a shame," said Alamillo.

Norwood Baptist is the mother church of the Tri-County Baptist Church in West Chester.

WCPO reached out to the organization for comment, but they have not responded.