Castle Hill, Clason Point streets named

On Sunday, June 14, parishioners and neighbors gathered to celebrate the renaming of Theriot and Randall avenues “Franciscan Way.” Pictured is Reverend Matthew Pravetz. Photo by Kevin Heckman

Whenever Chrissandra Mosby strolls past Castle Hill Avenue, she feels as if her father were near. He passed away in 2007. He defined Castle Hill Avenue.

On Saturday, June 20, Chrissandra joined her mother and members of the Fellowship Covenant Church to rename the intersection of Castle Hill Avenue and Homer Avenue “Reverend Dr. Jerry Mosby Way.” From now on, everyone who strolls past Castle Hill Avenue will feel as if he were near.

“I’m so excited,” Chrissandra Mosby, 24, said.

Reverend Dr. Jerry Mosby was born in Norfolk, Virginia in 1947. He collected glass bottles to pay for a ticket to New York City. He attended the Fashion Institute of Technology and worked as a window stylist for Bloomingdales. In 1971, Mosby joined the Air Force as an assistant chaplain. He helped decorate the White House for President Jimmy Carter. Mosby earned degrees from the College of New Rochelle, New York Theological Seminary and Springfield Theological Seminary.

He worked as a preacher for the Immanuel Covenant Church in the Bronx. Then Mosby left to launch his own church. At first, he struggled to build a congregation. But Mosby kept the faith and bought 720 Castle Hill Avenue, where he built the Fellowship Covenant Church, known as “The Ship.”

“I saw him when he was up,” wife Sandra Mosby said. “I saw him when he was down. I remember him up on the ceiling, painting and signing. He was a remarkable man.”

The church prospered. Mosby’s congregation of 15 doubled, and doubled again. Today, some 1,600 people attend the Immanuel Covenant Church.

“He believed in the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” said Mary McKinney. “He was an awesome man, a no nonsense man.”

Mosby was not only a clergyman; he was a neighborhood leader, too. He served as chaplain to the 43rd Precinct and to Jacobi Hospital. Mosby fought for Castle Hill youth, championed charities at home and abroad.

“He believed in education,” McKinney said. “He had every child in the church bring him a report card. If they needed a tutor, he would find one or tutor the child himself.”

Mosby passed away at the age of 59 after a battle with diabetes.

“He worked and worked, even on his death bed,” Sandra Mosby said.

Son Jamal welcomed a baby into the world a month after his father passed. Chrissandra is a student in Maryland. Councilwoman Annabel Palma introduced the bill to rename the intersection of Castle Hill and Homer.

On Sunday, June 14, neighbors joined to rename the intersection of Theriot Avenue and Randall Avenue “Franciscan Way,” in honor the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany and the Franciscan Friars of Holy Name Province, dear to Clason Point since 1923.

Today, the sisters and friars tend to 2,500 families and 400 elementary school students. Holy Cross members hail from many countries, speak many languages. On June 14, more than 250 neighbors enjoyed a street fair and a handful of classic cars. Parishioners and the Clason Point Aviation Volunteer Fire Company buried a time capsule.

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