New Birth Charlotte enters foreclosure

 

Megachurch has endured negative publicity in recent years

HUNTERSVILLE – New Birth Charlotte Church has entered foreclosure proceedings on its property off Sam Furr Road.

Although Mecklenburg County records show that foreclosure proceedings began in November 2013 and a Notice of Sale was filed Jan. 21, 2014, there have been seven Postponements of Sale, with the latest postponed from Oct. 9 to Dec. 9.

Amy Pritchard Williams, a partner at K&L Gates law firm in Charlotte, was named as the substitute trustee.

A representative from K&L Gates said the company couldn’t discuss the reasons for the postponements.

County records show the church defaulted on its payments to Evangelical Christian Credit Union for a $10 million loan.

Foreclosure proceedings for New Birth Charlotte began five months after Bishop Terrell Murphy resigned as pastor in June 2013. Murphy left to begin a new church called Life Center International, which continues to meet at Audrey Kell High School.

During Murphy’s 10-year tenure, New Birth Charlotte bought the 25.12 acres in Huntersville and in 2008, built the 64,688-square-foot building with a 2,400-seat worship center.

Two months after Murphy resigned at the New Birth Charlotte, the two worship services had dwindled to one, and less than 150 people showed up Aug. 11, 2013, as reported in The Herald Weekly. The person preaching that day was the controversial head of the New Birth franchise himself, Bishop Eddie Long.

Long, a graduate of North Mecklenburg High School, launched the New Birth franchise in 1987 in Lithonia, Ga. The mother church once boasted 25,000 members.

Over the past four years, Long has fought multiple lawsuits.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported in 2010 that four young men filed four separate lawsuits charging Long with coercing sexual relations with them while he was mentoring them.

Also in 2010, Long and his partners were sued for defaulting on a $2 million property loan.

And then in 2013, 12 former church members at New Birth Atlanta sued Long for holding a series of financial seminars led by Ephren W. Taylor who was running an alleged Ponzi scheme.

All six lawsuits reached undisclosed financial settlements out of court.

In March 2010, the newspaper also reported that New Birth Atlanta closed its Christian academy.

And now New Birth Charlotte has entered foreclosure proceedings.

But the actual sale of the New Birth Charlotte building may take a while.

Its lender, ECCU, entered into foreclosure with another high-profile megachurch, Without Walls International Church in Lakeland, Fla. The Credit Union Times reports the foreclosure battle over the $29 million debt has dragged on for over two years, with the church filing for bankruptcy in March.

In the meantime, the New Birth Charlotte congregation has announced that a 10:45 a.m. service will begin Nov. 2 at Therapeutic Services Group, 7829 Old Concord Road, Charlotte.

The church is calling the service a “New Facility Celebration.”

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