A St. Petersburg Internet evangelist has started a Christian center just blocks away from ground zero in New York City to oppose a planned Muslim community center nearby.
Bill Keller, creator of the Christian website liveprayer.com, held the first church service at the "9/11 Christian Center" Sunday in a ballroom at the New York Marriott Downtown.
In a phone interview Monday, Keller said he created the center in response to a proposed Islamic center near ground zero which he called a despicable attack on the U.S. by Islam.
Keller plans to fly from his St. Petersburg home to New York weekends to hold the service, he said. By Jan. 1, services will be moved to a permanent location and will be open seven days a week, he said. Keller said he does not plan to move to New York but will hire other evangelists to conduct services. "The purpose of the center is to reach out to people who are lost and hurting," he said.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.