By Cindy Solomon

Nashville’s Arlington United Methodist Church received a $10,000 ENCORE Ministry grant to help renovate flood-damaged areas in the church’s lower level. Historic flooding in March 2021 hit hundreds of buildings throughout Middle Tennessee.

“As a result of the flood, the old asbestos floor in the fellowship hall had to be removed,” said church Administrator Jennifer Stephens. “In addition, the bottom half of the walls throughout the lower level were destroyed.”

Money from the grant helped pay for remediation and cleanup — including removing the asbestos tile and installing new flooring, repairing or replacing walls, and painting. Two restrooms were upgraded to make them more accessible.

The church has hosted wedding receptions, community and business meetings, and health screenings in the renovated space. “This year we held an Easter luncheon that included the Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus and Sudanese congregations that meet in our building,” Stephens said. “Arlington has also hosted several community Covid testings and district council meetings.”

The improved accessibility benefits church and community members alike.

“As a community leader, I’ve been blessed to have found a partner in Arlington UMC,” said Russ Bradford, District 13 Metro councilman for Nashville/Davidson County. “The church’s central location in the district provides a convenient place to hold various community meetings.

“Prior to the renovation, the fellowship hall was dark, dingy, and showing its age. I’m amazed by the transformation of the space after the renovations. The space is open and welcoming and the new acoustics allow speakers to be heard without having to raise their voices. Many meeting attendees have remarked how much the space has been improved. I appreciate Arlington’s willingness to open up their space for the community.”

Arlington’s members feel blessed to have a beautiful space to gather for fellowship and various activities.

“Thanks in part to the grant from ENCORE Ministry, we can share God’s blessings to others through community groups such as a Footprints to Recovery chapter and the congregations worshipping in our building,” Stephens said.