Life and Religion
|Little Rock AME Zion reclaims historic sanctuary|
|Published Thursday, December 3, 2009 8:00 am|
The historic Little Rock AME Zion Church sanctuary again belongs to its original congregation.
The building, known as “Old Little Rock,” was the site of the former Afro-American Cultural Center for 30 years. The center moved to Center City and was renamed the Harvey Gantt Center.
The city of Charlotte, which bought old Little Rock in 1979 to house the AACC, sold it back to the congregation in April for $590,000.
The old sanctuary, built in 1910, was an anchor in the First Ward community until 1981 when Little Rock moved to its present site. The former sanctuary was designated a historical landmark in 1982, renovated and leased to the AACC.
Little Rock’s congregation originally tried to lease the sanctuary when the Afro Center left before moving forward with a proposal to buy the city-owned property.
“We are pleased that this treasure will be returned to us so that we can enhance our ability to serve the community,” Little Rock Pastor Rev. Dwayne Anthony Walker said. “We plan to house our Community Development Corporation in that facility as well as offer other agencies that share the same objectives of giving persons a hand up, administrative and program space.”
The historic church was home to bishops J. Clinton Hoggard and George J. Leake, general officers, and a long list of influential pastors.
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