Prayer and praise take over Eastland Mall cinema
1:00 pm
Wed October 21, 2009

Prayer and praise take over Eastland Mall cinema

Community groups are capitalizing on cheap rent and open space at Charlotte's struggling Eastland Mall. The latest is a young Pentecostal church with big plans. WFAE's Julie Rose reports:

Renovatus is a church for "people under renovation" as senior pastor Jonathan Martin puts it.

"So the idea of being in a space a lot of people have forgotten about - a mall that's been pushed to the margins really did - really appeals to us in a lot of ways," says Martin. "Because we've always felt we're a church that's called to the margins. We often say we're a church for liars, dreamers and misfits."

Martin says many of the 350 members of his church remember seeing movies like "Rocky Horror Picture Show" in the same theater where they'll start meeting for Sunday worship this week. Renovatus has a one-year lease on the former cinema.

They were previously renting office space in Plaza-Midwood and worshipping at an elementary school. Martin says rent for the Eastland Mall theater is cheaper and puts his church in the heart of a diverse community full of opportunities for outreach.

Last spring an indoor soccer league moved into Eastland Mall, as well. Recently the mall's owners gave up trying to find a buyer and handed the property back to its lender.

The City of Charlotte is considering purchasing the property for redevelopment.

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