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Henderson Church Wants To Use Space In Shopping Center For Worship

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HENDERSON, N.C. — A Henderson church is still fighting to grow. It wants to lease space in a shopping center for worship services, but the city is opposed to the idea.

The Burning Bush Christian Church occupies a small storefront in downtown Henderson. The Rev. C.J. Dale said the building is too small to hold his congregation. Dale found a 25,000-square-foot store for lease with plenty of room for people to sit, but to use it, the City Council would have to change one of its ordinances.

The city ordinance does not permit a church in a shopping center, but it does allow night clubs and even schools. Dale said the planning board has already nixed his plans.

"It was quite a shocker," he said.

Vance Charter School uses space in Henderson Mall that was vacated by JCPenney. The school's playground is in the back of the shopping center right next to the loading docks.

"Parking is a primary issue when you are dealing with a retail shopping complex," said Hall Barnett, owner of Henderson Mall.

Barnett supports the city ordinance because it is designed to protect businesses.

"There are other uses that are compatible. We feel a church, given its hours and a large congregation, is not one of those," Barnett said.

Dale disagrees with that assessment.

"If that's the case, then why [can] certain people can get certain things approved without any type of hassle," he said. "The only thing we want to do is serve the Lord and try to be a blessing to every color, creed and nationality," he said.

The City Council has agreed to give Dale a public hearing that is scheduled for Nov. 10 at Henderson City Hall.


Fred Taylor, Reporter
John Cox, Photographer
Kamal Wallace, Web Editor

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