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Is Church Too Loud? Easton Says No

Easton officials considered revising city noise laws but deemed it unnecessary after congregation makes its case.

Easton city council members said Tuesday evening they will revisit the city noise ordinance after about 20 members of attended the council's workshop meeting about the matter.

Responding to the complaints of nearby West Ward resident Terrence Miller at a recent council meeting, who alleged the church has made excessive amounts of noise on Sundays, disturbing the peace of the neighborhood, had considered revising city noise laws.

Speaking for the church Pastor Michael Brown said his congregation follows the Bible's instruction to “praise Jehovah.”

“Praise is not just noise...This is not a joke to me...I think it's for everyone to worship as they're given,” Brown said. "We're just a church, and I don't think we're loud.”

He added that Miller had donated a drum set to the church shortly after he'd moved to the neighborhood and expressed disappointment Miller wasn't present to discuss the issue.

Miller contacted Patch Wednesday morning, and said he would be at that night's city council meeting to voice his objection. He also sent along a YouTube clip posted last year, that he says was taken 100 feet from the church. 

Councilman Jeff Warren said he agreed to look at the ordinance because it seemed like the church might be bothering a number of people, but stressed that he had reservations about government interfering with religion.

"I don't think anyone is trying to infringe on anyone's place of worship. I just want to make that clear," Warren said. "I'm not trying to infringe any new policy, or change the way you worship."

Councilman Mike Fleck said he'd attended the church's service recently to see if the complaints had merit.

"It wasn't loud,” Fleck said. "The way it was portrayed to us was like a rock concert every weekend, and it wasn't like that. It just wasn't."

He added, "You could tell it was just people at church having a good time. There was just 20, 25 people praising the lord."

No complaints have been received from other residents, nor do the police have record of complaints, city officials said.

Kay Larsen February 08, 2012 at 02:58 PM
Perhaps Mr. Fleck would have gotten a different perspective on the noise level if he had sat on a neighbors porch instead of inside the building. The sound of drums carries a long way even if it doesn't seem to when you are in a building. I, too, think that people ought to be allowed to worship in their own way; but perhaps they could work on soundproofing their building. Remember while Scripture does indeed say we are to Praise the Lord, it also bids us to love our neighbors, not just with words, but by our actions.
Richard Coleman February 08, 2012 at 03:31 PM
The neighbors must not want the church there and are using the 'noise' as an excuse
Amend February 08, 2012 at 04:44 PM
There was a video posted on YouTube taken from a distance outside this church during one of their services. It was clearly quite loud.
TheresaMiller February 08, 2012 at 05:56 PM
12:54 pm on Wednesday, February 8, 2012 Actually, @RichardColeman, we were delighted to have the church there when we bought the house (though we didn't donate a drum set. In truth, the previous owner left a couple of cymbals in our house and we passed those on the church. Glad Patch fact-checked this). The issue is the ridiculous amplification, not the style of worship. We've measured the amplification in our house at about 101 decibels about 150 feet away. That's about the same as a power mower and a level that causes hearing loss when endured as sustained levels. And Mike Fleck was right--it was quiet on Sunday. Wouldn't you be if a city councilman was attending and you knew the city was considering changes to its noise ordinance because of you? Kay has it right--I don't want to see the city limit a church's worship style, but if the church isn't willing to be a good neighbor, someone needs to address this. Here's the video Amend mentioned. You decide if this is loud (and some of our neighbors have small children, so imagine trying to get your kids to sleep while this is happening after 10 p.m.): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InDeWzNelCo

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