In 1914 a Sunday school mission congregation hired a prominent Charlotte architect to build them a new church home. The men, women and children gathered, prayed and wed in the neoclassical church for nearly 70 years.
In the late 1980s, the church was faced with a declining membership and a dramatically changing neighborhood. After much thought and prayer, the congregation opted to keep the church alive by moving to the suburbs.
In 1997 the property was purchased by a local businessman and philanthropist who christened it the Great Aunt Stella Center, after a beloved great aunt who was a home missionary and advocate for the poor. The Center was reborn as one of Charlotte’s more interesting arts and cultural venues. The Center became a prime setting for music performances, lectures, debates and conferences. The education building, built in 1925, has served as home to several non-profit organizations and a charter school. A local church, Uptown Church, continues to hold services every Sunday. Hundreds of brides discovered the simple beauty of the circular sanctuary and the Italian stained glass windows.
In the summer of 2002, Self-Help, an affiliate of one of the nation’s leading community development financial institutions, purchased the property. Self-Help is an experienced developer of historic properties across North Carolina.
Today, the Great Aunt Stella Center is once again an affordable, alternative site for performances, meetings and non-denominational weddings.
We think Great Aunt Stella Vandalia Sparrow would be very pleased.