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Pastor Brenda Stevenson, founder and overseer of New Outreach Christian Center, passes away

Through her spiritual calling, Brenda Stevenson was well known as a Charlotte church pastor, but her life demonstrated a legacy of community giving extending well beyond her congregation.
Published: Aug. 18, 2021 at 11:58 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 18, 2021 at 5:22 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The church family of New Outreach Christian Center is mourning the loss of one of their own. Founder and Overseer Pastor Brenda Stevenson has died.

Stevenson founded New Outreach in 1985. Its beginnings were small, starting with her feeding the hungry from her own modest income and what donations could be secured.

Through her spiritual calling, Brenda Stevenson was well known as a Charlotte church pastor, but her life demonstrated a legacy of community giving extending well beyond her congregation.

Helping others defined her ministry, and that meant serving up hundreds of holiday meals to individuals coping with poverty’s pain during holidays like Easter and Thanksgiving.

“I just believe to help other people,” Stevenson told WBTV as she was preparing for one of her holiday events. “This is a special day set aside to give thanks for family and friends and as you pick up that fork remember someone else that don’t have a turkey to eat.”

Losing a leg to diabetes left her confined to a wheelchair, while she operated her New Outreach Christian Center on Charlotte’s Gossett Avenue.

“I can’t let it stop me because it’s someone who needs food,” she said.

This physical hardship didn’t slow her down, and such an obvious challenge fueled a personal desire to give.

Focusing on life’s basics was a constant undertaking at Stevenson’s New Outreach Christian Center.

It wasn’t always food. She also delivered clothes to those in need.

That part of the ministry was handled by her husband Bishop Norman Stevenson who posted the loss of his wife on Facebook.

This was a time of the year many families relied on her generosity. She gave a big assist to those needing help sending students back to school.

From the clothing to shoes, to food to school supplies, and just letting them feel some back-to-school love.

A crowning moment came for her during the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Among the thousands of people, Brenda Stevenson was a seated delegate - wheelchair and all.

She would make unsuccessful bids in running for city council and county commission. However, success could be summed up by her service to others.

Clinging to her faith, Pastor Stevenson once told a reporter”I was blessed.” Her blessings have richly benefited a community.

Our Queen has Fought A Good Fight. Well Done Mother we Love you take your rest❤️

Posted by Brenda Stevenson on Wednesday, August 18, 2021

“We don’t want to see Thanksgiving, a day of Thanksgiving go without people having food. We don’t want to see nobody go to bed hungry,” Stevenson said to WBTV during one the 2015 Thanksgiving meal.

Within hours of her death, hundreds of notes of condolences flooded in from the community with messages like “...She really was an example of how we should love the Church, Family, and people.”

Funeral arrangements are incomplete, and have not yet been announced.

Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles sent WBTV this statement:

“I grieve the passing of pastor Brenda Stevenson. Her church is located in the historic Hoskins community. The community began as a mill town and eventually became a tight-knit neighborhood for working-class African Americans. Today, it is a neighborhood living with the negative impacts of I-85, the Brookshire Freeway, and railroad tracks.

When she came to pastor the community, she saw the positive - the potential and the people as individuals who needed hope. She started feeding those who were hungry, keeping children safe with afterschool programs, and checking in on seniors to insure their safety. Pastor Stevenson was a keeper of faith. Charlotte lost a special presence in our community today. To her family and her church, she was my good and faithful servant.”

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