Reverend Charles R. Colwell
The Reverend Dr. Charles R. Colwell retired 10 years ago after 36 years as the Rector of the Church of St. Barnabas in Irvington-on-Hudson in Westchester. He is from Deer Isle, an island off the coast of Maine. Fr. Colwell graduated from the University of Maine and the General Theological Seminary. He started his ministry at St. Margaret's Church in the South Bronx where the former Secretary of State, Colin Powell's father was Senior Warden. He then spent a year in a clinical program working at Central Islip State Hospital, at Riker's Island Prison, Bellevue Hospital Center and served as Protestant Chaplain upstate at the Orange County Jail and Camp LaGuardia (a homeless shelter run by New York City). In 1967 he became Associate Rector of the Church of The Holy Trinity in New York City. The Colwells moved to Irvington in 1972.
Father Charlie has held many leadership roles in The Diocese of New York over his nearly 55 years as a parish priest: Twice President of the Standing Committee, Chair of Bishop Sisk's Transition Committee, Chair of The Ministry Commission, and member of the Evangelism and the Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Committees.
After 9/11, Fr. Charlie founded The Center for Jewish-Christian-Muslim Understanding, Inc., and has served on the boards of Abbott House (foster care agency), the Irvington Ambulance Corps, The Irvington Advisory Board, and Student Assistance Services (addiction and education agency). He has also produced 4 videos for cable television. In 1998 he was the first recipient of The St. John the Theologan Award for pastoral care by the Bishop of New York. In 2008 he received a Congressional Citation from Congresswoman Nita Lowey for his inter-faith work in Westchester County. The same year he was honored by The American Muslim Women's Association. He published his memoir, COLLISION OF WORLDS: A PRIEST'S LIFE, in 2008.
Since his retirement, Fr. Charlie has served as Interim Rector at 9 parishes in the Diocese of Long Island, including St. Luke's Church from 2008 - 2011. He and his wife Judith, who grew up in Oyster Bay, will celebrate their 54th wedding anniversary in August. Judith is retired from her work as a psychotherapist after 48 years. The Colwells have three grown daughters and eleven grandchildren.