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Judge denies neighbors' move to quiet Durham church

Posted February 18, 2013

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— A Durham Superior Court judge denied a restraining order sought by neighbors of Newhope Church to tone down the worship there.

Residents of the Hills at Southpoint neighborhood in south Durham complained that amplified music and thumping bass from the church, at 7619 Fayetteville Road, could be heard inside their homes. They asked for a 10-day reprieve to reach a compromise on the music levels. 

Judge Bryan Collins Jr. decided the neighbors were unlikely to succeed in their efforts and denied their request Monday.

Church officials said they have made several attempts to reduce the sound since 2011, including hiring sound engineers to run tests.

The engineers concluded that the sound during church services was less than 60 decibels at the church's property line, which is allowable under Durham's noise ordinance.

Rev. Benji Kelley, pastor of Newhope Church, said in an affidavit that the church also has installed sound-absorbing material inside and plans a major renovation that would line offices along exterior walls to reduce noise levels outside further.

"The sound levels coming from the church are not unreasonably loud or disturbing," Kelley said. "Although we have been and remain in compliance with applicable law, we are neighbors to the five families who have filed this lawsuit. We are making modifications to our church building plans to include sound attenuation materials, not because of legal necessity but out of love for our neighbors."

179 Comments

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  • tierneemalinadeveaux Feb 25, 11:58 a.m.

    Uhavenoclu, you made a great point. If these homeowners lived near Walnut Creek (or whatever that stadium is called now), there would be a volume level and a time restraint on how much and how long they could disturb the neighbors.

    People's arrogance these days is atrocious. I don't care if they do call themselves a church, and I happen to be a Christian. I am also a homeowner who does not want to hear their "praise and worship" when I am at home trying to read a book or study for a class. If their god is that hard of hearing, then they probably need to change Gods!!!!!!

  • tierneemalinadeveaux Feb 25, 11:52 a.m.

    glarg, what the neighbors are objecting to is being disturbed by unappealling noises within their own homes. I am a Christian, and I get sick of coming home from my church, which is located in a residential area, only to be blasted by the noise from a church which is down the road at least a mile. It is rude, disrespectful and arrogant of the church to continue disturbing the neighbors so much so that they felt they had to take the church to court to enjoy the solitude of their own homes.

    jeffnnc, thanks for the quotes, but they are all trumped by 1 Corinthians 10:22-23 which states "All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not...Let no man seek his own..."
    Just because one CAN do something does not mean he SHOULD do it..in this case, the judge sided with the church, but the church needs to remember that they answer to a higher Judge, who will not hold them guiltless for driving away lost souls...

  • Trekker Feb 19, 1:34 p.m.

    "Its sounds like the "neighbors" are really objecting to the content of the noise rather than its level." glarg

    As is their right. Not everyone enjoys a good ole Sunday morning revival. If the parishioners enjoy it that's fine but they should keep it within their own walls.

  • glarg Feb 19, 12:46 p.m.

    60dBm at the property line is really nothing. And inside the houses it has to be really negligible.

    Its sounds like the "neighbors" are really objecting to the content of the noise rather than its level.

  • PJM Feb 19, 10:59 a.m.

    thanks Jeffnnc....

    I personally think those neighbors need go and visit the church and see what they are all about...I would have been quite embarrassed to file a lawsuit against noise level of a church...

  • jeffnnc Feb 19, 9:58 a.m.

    "Actually the bible makes it quite clear that praise and worship should not be showy and loud"-Grand Union

    Really? Where does it say that? Not saying you are wrong but here are just a few verses that seem to contradict that.

    Psalm 95:1-2 “Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song”

    Psalm 98:4-6 “Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music; make music to the LORD with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing, with trumpets and the blast of the ram's horn— shout for joy before the LORD, the King”.

    Isaiah 12:4-6 “Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among yo

  • Grand Union Feb 19, 9:23 a.m.

    "ok its not fair to the church to limit their praise and worship."

    Actually the bible makes it quite clear that praise and worship should not be showy and loud.......and how would you feel if it was a nightclub or a restaurant that ruined your peace on a sunday morning....or is it only religions that get to act like that?

  • Grand Union Feb 19, 9:20 a.m.

    "It’s very irritating and extremely selfish. Who wants to listen to that garbage on Sunday morning?"

    No business like a night club would be allowed to spoil peoples sunday mornings like this so why should a church....do they think their God is deaf that they need so much amplification?

  • more cowbell Feb 19, 9:14 a.m.

    Personnally, I think they need more cowbell....

    Relic

    Thank you Relic. Finally, somebody gets it!

  • smilesobright Feb 19, 9:01 a.m.

    ok its not fair to the church to limit their praise and worship. The church has taken the steps to try and help the situation maybe now its time for home owners to take some steps and sound proof their home instead of complaining and whining. The church has been more than fair.

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