Church plans to turn purchased home in Tennessee into worship centre

Infinity Fellowship bought this home and plans to turn it into a house of worship.Davidson County Assessor of Property

A church is planning to convert a two-story home in Nashville, Tennessee into a worship facility and community centre despite opposition from several residents.

The Infinity Fellowship purchased the 4,234-square-foot home from the Cassidy family for $280,500. It is located in one of Nashville's oldest and most affluent predominantly African-American neighbourhoods, The Tennessean reported.

Since it's in a residential zoning area, it has applied for exception with the the Metro Board of Zoning Appeals, which will hear the application on Oct. 6.

Rev. Jeff Obafemi Carr, founder and chief spiritual officer of Infinity Fellowship, said the church is planning to move into the home by the end of the year depending on a GoFundMe campaign for renovation for the first year.

The church currently holds service at the Coleman Park Community Center in South Nashville.

"We're going to open it up to the community to be a gathering place for people to do workshops, to do events," Carr said. "We want it to be a third space — another home in the community for people to come up with good ideas and put those ideas into action."

While Carr said they have the support of the neighbourhood, others are concerned about the church being in a residential zoning area.

"I would have some concerns with a commercial building in what has historically been a residential area for years," said A.J. Starling, a board member of the Nocturne Forest Homeowners Association. "That's on a really narrow road, which is very hilly and small with no sidewalks or anything."

Rosetta Perry, the publisher of Nashville's Tennessee Tribune newspaper, who lives five houses away from the home the church purchased, supports Carr's plans.

"Jeff has been good for Nashville, and he will be good for this neighbourhood," she said.

Carr said the community centre will have a youth outreach, community garden and a playground. It will offer teachings on holistic health, yoga and meditation, conflict resolution, healthy eating, and diet and exercise.

"This is going to be the first grassroots-focused, crowd-funded community centre in Nashville," Carr said.

To date, the GoFundMe campaign has raised $112,444 of the $250,000 it needs.

"That put us on the map as a group in Nashville that just likes to get things done, and that's what we're doing now," Carr said.