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SOUTHERN TRADITION EMBRACING THE FAITH September 7, 2012

Charlotte, North Carolina has done an amazing job of enfolding wonderfully historic traditional ways with an ever changing, globally diverse population. New Charlotteans and Southern natives can enjoy a burgeoning art scene, a buzzing Center City, beautiful tree-lined streets and neighborhoods, great schools and over 700 places of worship.

The growing diversity of Charlotte’s religious landscape is evident in the south Charlotte’s Ballantyne area’s own little circle of faith. In an eight mile radius Ballantyne has Hope of Israel Messianic, Covenant Baptist Church, Light of Christ Church, South Mecklenburg Presbyterian Church and St. Matthew Catholic Church. Amazingly, St. Matthew has become the largest Christian congregation in Charlotte – unheard of in this former “Bible Belt” stronghold of just a decade or two ago! Further,  south Charlotte has the largest Jewish population in the Carolinas. Shalom Park located on Providence Road, is home to Temple Beth El (reform) and Temple Israel (conservative) and is also home to “the J”, a recreation center enjoyed by people of all faiths. Additionally, there are approximately 5000 Muslims living in Charlotte, North Carolina, a significant number of whom live in south Charlotte area despite the fact that no permanent Masjid (Muslim center of worship) close by. Recognizing this gap, South Musalla was established in 1995 in a rental miniature golf retail space to have Friday Khutba & prayers.

Fortunately, religious diversity in Charlotte has created a community of tolerance and understanding. A more than decades old interfaith relationship is shared with Temple Beth El, Myers Park Baptist Church, and three years ago, came to include Ash Shaheed Mosque, as they hold the “Families of Abraham” Dialogue throughout the year. This dialogue offers participants an opportunity to share, compare and appreciate their own faith while learning more about the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths.

And what better way towards understanding than through the arts? The Families of Abraham Photographic Narrative, which explores the commonalities among Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths, has traveled and been exhibited at museums and colleges in North Carolina and around the country and is now on display at the must-visit Levine Museum of the New South (www.museumofthenewsouth.orgthrough September 9, 2012.
Led by project director and curator Eleanor Brawley, a team of eight local photographers followed eleven Jewish, Christian and Muslim families from the Charlotte area for one year, documenting their faith practices and daily lives.

Charlotte gladly welcomes newcomers into its Southern fold with outstretched arms filled with tree-lined neighborhoods fulfilling the economic, aesthetic and spiritual needs of all residents.  To learn more about our fine Southern, increasingly diverse, community, please contact one of our wonderful agents at Bon Maison Properties 704-541-2500 or visit our website www.southcharlotteliving.com!

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