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Members of the United House of Prayer for All People will travel to Charlotte from all corners of the nation next week to celebrate the denomination’s 100th anniversary. The two-day Charlotte event – October 5-6 – will cap a 12-week commemoration that began in July in Buffalo, N.Y.
More than a lunch spot: For some Charlotte residents, the House of Prayer may be best known for the cafeteria-style lunches sold at some of its locations. But far more than a lunch spot, the denomination is steeped in Charlotte’s black history.
The church was established in 1919 by Charles Manuel “Sweet Daddy” Grace, a former railway cook who began using the title of bishop. Grace was born Marcelino Manuel da Graca in 1884 in Brava, Cape Verde Islands, off the west coast of Africa. He is said to have traveled to the United States on a ship called “Freedom.”
Though founded in West Wareham, Massachusetts, the church quickly identified Charlotte for one of its first branches. It now has 137 places of worship in 27 states and the District of Columbia — 31 in North Carolina alone.
Plans for Charlotte: The centennial celebration will be held at the United House of Prayer at 2321 Beatties Ford Road. Weekend events will include a marching band, a special tent service and evening services featuring musicians and vocalists from several states, according to an announcement sent to local media organizations.
The Charlotte celebration is expected to draw members and church leaders nationwide, including the church’s current leader, Bishop C. M. Bailey, who presides from the denomination’s national headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Did you know: Long before Charlotte and other U.S. cities were focused on affordable housing, the House of Prayer, under its second bishop, launched a nationwide program to house low-income residents. The organization also famously built its network of colorful churches without incurring debt.
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