Rhode Island Town Official Curses Pastor for His Attempt to Rehabilitate a Historic Church

Reverend Dr. Chris Abhulime
Reverend Dr. Chris Abhulime

In a video tape exclusively obtained by GoLocalProv, a Johnston town official is heard making a racially charged statement regarding a church pastor’s attempts to rehabilitate a historic church in town — and the reverend is calling the town’s treatment of his efforts racist. (Starting at the 2:25 mark of the video)

In a meeting with his supervisor and the contractor on the project that was taped, Johnston building inspector Ben Nascenzi can be heard referring to Reverend Dr. Chris Abhulime as “the fucking black owner” of the former historic Belknap Church.

Abhulime, who is a Reverend at King’s Tabernacle in Providence, told GoLocal that since purchasing the former Belknap Church on 500 Greenville Avenue in Johnston this past spring, that he as been stopped in his attempts to rehabilitate the property, “I believe we are dealing with racism with the officials at the town, with the neighbors as well, and we’re being treated differently,” said Abhulime. “They’re stonewalling, maybe they have other plans for the land. But they clearly don’t want us there.”

“We have been able to do some work, but we’ve been fighting tooth and nail,” said Abhulime of the church’s efforts to expand.  “I’ve pulled permits before, and never had this happen.”

Abhulime, who is a lab supervisor at Genzyme and formerly worked at Amgen after his getting his Masters Degree from URI, said that be believes he and his church are being subject to racism.

Click here to read more and to watch video.

SOURCE: GoLocalProv
Kate Nagle

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