we MOVED INTO our new space on DECEMBER 3RD, 2017!
it is with great joy + gratitude that we can finally saY...
welcome home, watershed!
Watershed held its very first public gathering on Sunday, September 18th, 2005, at Actor’s Theatre in Uptown Charlotte (which sadly, was torn down in early 2017). Over the course of our existence we have moved gathering spaces four times and, while we’ve moved out of Uptown due to parking and expense, we have stayed committed to encircling the city through every move. Over the years we’ve resided in the neighborhoods of NoDa, Villa Heights, and Plaza Midwood, but each relocation has been a costly and exhausting affair, not to mention confusing for many in our community! In 2016, in the midst of a four-year lease at our gathering space in Plaza Midwood, we were given notice that the building had been sold and our lease would not be renewed. So, we began our hunt for a new place to call home close to the heart of the city and within our budget.
While searching for venues to lease and knowing that space is at a premium in our urban neighborhoods, we began to realize that investing in another rental property and the cost to retrofit it to our needs might not be the best choice for us any longer. We stumbled upon an old church building for sale in the Villa Heights neighborhood and made an offer to buy the building, which was accepted. However, due to the condition of the building, securing the funding we would need to adequately complete the project proved to be a challenge. We were heartbroken to say the least. But, as we had been walking our community through that church building, we realized that buying a property of our own was something that truly invigorated our people and they were ready to take on the endeavor and challenge of sacrificing to make it possible. This is completely uncharted territory for our church given we have rented for over a decade, yet the Watershed response was so overwhelmingly positive that we knew that this was a pivotal time for us to find a permanent church home.
COMMUNITY TO THE RESCUE
A builder in our community heard about our initial property offer falling through and graciously offered to reassign to Watershed the contract for a building that he was in the process of buying. Even more incredible? The building, a former church/school, is located in Chantilly only a few blocks from our current gathering space in Plaza Midwood! It was built in the 1950’s and, because it does not require the kind of repair that the building we were first pursuing does, it will be ready for us to move into in the fall! After such disappointment we are unbelievably grateful for the provision of this beautiful space in the proximity of which we had been dreaming!
ABOUT THE SPACE
Known to the neighborhood of Chantilly as Chantilly Hall, our new Watershed building was formerly a dance hall, community space, and a Catholic church and school. Boasting ten sunshiny classrooms, a bright and spacious auditorium similar in design/size to our Plaza Midwood space, a large, open multi-purpose space, offices, kitchen and adjacent building for miscellaneous use, we are enthusiastic about how well this location fits our needs and exceeds our desires.
As always, Watershed will continue in our pursuit of being a community that is non-Sunday centric, but rather holistic in our approach to serving and embracing our city and the cycles of brokenness that surround us. We will seek to utilize this space in ways to train, educate and house the programs and endeavors which we are currently investing in throughout the week. Having a permanent space will also allow we reallocate and reimagine volunteer hours once used for weekly setup and tear-down in a rental space to investing in the community in meaningful ways.
Our path has been circuitous but surely never dull, paved in brokenness and new beginnings and drenched in so much grace.
Ours is an unlikely love story that is ongoing, ever evolving and, hopefully, continually spreading to wherever brokenness dwells. It would have been impossible without the kindness and generosity of so many of you.
May Grace continue to take us to new places.
Watershed: Nomadic no more. Pilgrims forever.