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Greater Cleveland church building in Winston-Salem has a new owner

Greater Cleveland church building in Winston-Salem has a new owner


A new church now occupies the sanctuary on Lansing Drive that was once the home of Greater Cleveland Avenue Christian Church.

Shekinah Glory Christian Church held its inaugural service on Aug. 23 in the building at 5095 Lansing Drive in northeastern Winston-Salem.

The church's web site identifies its leaders as Mark Spell Sr. the senior pastor, and Lillian Spell, his wife, who is pastor.

According to his LinkedIn page, Spell became senior pastor at Greater Life Christian Church in Durham in 1997 and was involved there with volunteer activities that included food, clothes and school-supplies banks and intervention services for people with alcohol and narcotics problems. 

Greater Life Church bought the 15-acre church property and building on Lansing Drive on June 1 for $4 million. 

The purchase was financed by Apex Bank, of Knoxville, Tenn., which acquired the property in foreclosure last year when Greater Cleveland Avenue Christian Church went into bankruptcy.

At the time it acquired the property, Apex officials said they would be putting the property back out for sale.

Greater Cleveland church had taken out a $3.75 million loan in 2009. The church filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April 2018, when it still owed $3.3 million on the loan. Apex had acquired the church's loan in 2016.

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During often-contentious bankruptcy proceedings, Apex criticized the church for paying its pastor, Bishop Sheldon McCarter, a salary of $100,000 plus other perks that pushed his compensation to more than $200,000 annually.

Apex also contended that McCarter had failed to tell his congregation about the state of his church's finances.

After Greater Cleveland held its last service on June 9, 2019, at the Lansing Avenue site, the church found a temporary home at Ephesus Seventh-day Adventist Church on Cleveland Avenue.

McCarter's Facebook page indicates the church has been holding virtual services during the coronavirus pandemic.

Greater Cleveland is one of the city's oldest Black congregations, founded in 1893 and worshiping for many years in a church on Cleveland Avenue. It built the sanctuary on Lansing Drive in 1999.

Shekinah Glory Christian Church says its motto is "Loving People, Loving God and Serving the Community." 




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