Nueva Vida Norristown New Life Mennonite Church
25 East Marshall St.
Norristown, PA 19401
Contact: Rev. Ertell Whigham
Nueva Vida Norristown New Life (NVNNL) is an intercultural, multilingual, urban Mennonite church. The congregation was formed in 1990 through the joining together of three existing Mennonite congregations in Norristown—one Latino, one African American, and one Anglo and African American. A shared faith-based vision for healing society through restoration, reconciliation, and transformation brought the congregations together to become a “living house of prayer for all peoples.” Together, they honor all ethnic and cultural uniqueness that exists within their diverse membership, doing what is necessary to become a truly united and just community, free of racial and cultural bias. The respect given to one another within the congregation is extended to all, especially those in need of advocacy and support.
Advocacy on behalf of “the other” has led the congregation to institute many social services for their community. They founded “Hospitality Center” which has become an interfaith organization -- Norristown Ministries, Inc. It feeds the hungry, distributes hygiene kits, provides temporary shelter for the homeless, social work services for those needing help navigating resources in the community, assists persons returning to the community after serving time in prison, etc. More than a thousand different individual are helped each year by the Hospitality Center.
The congregation’s pre-school and after school programs provide participants with teachers, tutors, access to computers, and advocates. The advocates stick with the students as they transition into the public school system. The congregation’s computer lab and those who assist people using it are helpful not only to students, but also those seeking employment, communicating with relatives in other countries, increasing language skills, learning about opportunities to better their situations, and more. A Photo-ID clinic enables those without other credentials to function within their community. In these and other ways, Nueva Vida Norristown New Life skillfully addresses many of the root causes of violence and creates peace in a community facing many challenges.