Worshippers Quit Church after Ban on Loud Sermons

Article excerpt

Byline: Benedict Moore-Bridger

A CHURCH has accused a London council of shrinking its congregation by restricting the amount of noise worshippers can make during services.

The Immanuel International Christian Centre in Walthamstow was ordered to keep its amplified music and sermons quieter after a neighbour complained.

But the church's pastor Dunni Odetoyinbo claimed Waltham Forest council had only told them to keep quiet so as not to offend the Muslim community. The church also claimed the council had "taken away its ability to praise God", and that congregation numbers had dwindled from 100 to 30 because of the restrictions.

Baha Uddin, who lives near the church, had claimed he was unable to use his garden at weekends and his one-year-old daughter was regularly disturbed. He said: "It's been a night-mare. I've not been able to use my garden or living room on a Sunday because of the church services. The amplified music, drums and the loud sermons made having a conversation impossible.

"We had to move my daughter Anisah from her cot into our bed which wasn't ideal because we want her to be used to sleeping in her cot. The noise made me depressed."

But other neighbours say the noise is not a problem. The church lodged an appeal, and appeared at Waltham Forest magistrates' court on Tuesday to fight their case. …