Greater Church finds new home

The congregation of Greater Church will move into their new home on June 20.

Greater Church finds new home
May 27
10:59 2021

Bishop Sheldon McCarter and the congregation of Greater Church have been through a lot over the last couple of years. They have fought through it all and now McCarter and Greater Church have finally found their new home at 3300 Reynolda Road and plan to have their first service on Father’s Day, June 20.

Greater Church was one of the most prominent churches in the Triad, but after their property on Lansing Drive was foreclosed upon, the church needed a new place to worship. Over the past two years, there have been many rumors and accusations thrown around, but McCarter is happy to put all of that in the past and look forward to a new beginning.

“I felt like I have lost a ton of weight off my shoulders,” said McCarter. “The situation at Lansing Drive was definitely very painful, because a lot of people don’t know the true story of how we were railroaded by a bank who really wanted our property because of its value.

“We had money in their face and they refused it, because the property value over at Lansing Drive was over $5.7 million and they (Apex Bank) said we owed $3.4 (million) and we had $2.8 (million) in their face that they refused.  They just pushed us out.”

Apex Bank is the owner of the property on Lansing Drive where Greater Church was formerly located. According to McCarter, there were some shady tactics used to remove his congregation from the church, but he is excited about the direction his church is heading with their new location.

“It feels really good for us to know that we have a place that we can call our own,” he said. “Honestly, I am probably more excited for my members who stayed with me during the process.”

As God would have it, McCarter and Greater Church found a temporary home at Ephesus Seventh Day Adventist Church (ESDAC). McCarter was connected with Rev. Allen Baldwin, senior pastor of ESDAC, through a mutual friend, Bishop Sir Walter Mack of Union Baptist Church. Because the Ephesus worships on Saturday, it was a perfect partnership for the two churches.

“We were so blessed by Ephesus and pastor Baldwin,” McCarter said. “They are tremendous people who allowed us to use their facility without any reservations. We never lost a week of worship. We didn’t miss a week of worship until the pandemic.”

McCarter says it was tough on him losing the Lansing Drive property. He says he felt bad for his congregation and family, which weighed heavily on him mentally.

“If it had not been for the grace of God who really kept me, I probably would have lost my mind,” he said about his mindset during that period. “It would have been painful no matter what the situation was, but it was more painful because we knew the truth.

“Outside of what everybody read in The Journal and all the crap they wrote and outside of everything they saw on TV, that was one of the most painful pieces because we were dealing with a situation beyond our control. To think about what we have done in the city and the recognition of our church in the city, and then knowing what we built over there, over 64,000 feet of building. To see it snatched from under you for greed was very, very painful.”

Another painful part of the process for McCarter was how easily people believed everything negative that was reported about him and the church. He says it was somewhat shocking to see how many people turned their backs on the church during their greatest time of need.

“One of the things I say is that it’s so many of us who love to see people look like they are having a downfall, a challenge or going through it,” he stated. “There were so many people that my church helped and so many people that I have helped. But to watch them turn their backs on me because of what they hear, and should have known my integrity, that I am not going to do anything that is going to punish me, my family or our church.

“That was probably one of the most disappointing things, especially when people you have walked with and you’ve been with them in trying times, but here we are facing a challenging time for us and what do they do, they walk away. Indeed, that was very hurtful for me, my wife and my children.”

McCarter recalled a story of when his daughter came home from school very upset. At the time she was a senior at Mt. Tabor High School and she did not want to go back due to classmates making derogatory comments about McCarter and the church.

“To see my daughter go through that was bad and the ultimate pain for a father,” he said. “My heart was literally shattered.”

Unfortunately for McCarter, some members of his congregation decided to leave after they lost the property on Lansing Drive. Losing members is always a tough scenario, but losing them when the root cause is out of your control is even more troubling, McCarter said.

“We definitely had some people walk away from us and I knew that would happen,” he continued. “When somebody thinks you’re taking money, folks will leave you in a New York minute. They knew that wasn’t true, but for whatever reason, they decided to leave.

“We lost a few, but a lot of them stayed and that’s why we are standing strong today and that’s why the Lord opened this door for us to be on Reynolda Road.

McCarter is appreciative of the members who chose to stay with the church. He says it means the world to him and his family that so many members stuck by his side and believed the good in him and did not pay attention to the rumors that were swirling around. It was imperative for him to keep his morale up, even though this was a tough time he was going through.

“My dad was my best teacher and he told me, ‘no matter what you go through, keep preaching,’” said McCarter. “He said no matter what you go through, keep believing and hold on to your faith. As a matter of fact, Bishop J.C. Hash would always tell me to stay in faith.

“I’ll be honest, preaching got me through it, along with my wife,” McCarter said. “My wife has shown tremendous strength and has always encouraged me. I know there were moments when my whole entire family was going through it, but they were the backbone, they encouraged me.”

When they hold their first service on Father’s Day Sunday, McCarter says he will be filled with emotions. He says to walk into a place that they can call home will be “a moment like no other.”

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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