Pentecostal church faces noise complaints for loud services
By The Associated Press
MORRIS TOWNSHIP, N.J. Like many Pentecostal churches,
prayer services at El Shaddai Assemblies of God feature a choir
backed by a band electric guitars, keyboards, drums and other
Congregants say they're making "a joyful noise unto the Lord,"
but those who live in the neighborhood where the church
is located say their own peaceful Sundays are disrupted. Now the
church must defend itself against two noise complaints.
"We are not making noise for the sake of making noise," church
pastor Danny Quijano told The Star-Ledger of Newark for the April 28
editions. "It is the way we worship God."
According to Keith Patterson, the church's lawyer, freedom of
religion and of free expression are at stake. Deborah Jacobs,
executive director of the New Jersey American Civil Liberties
But some neighbors say the two-hours services, held twice each
Sunday, force them to go inside and close windows to block the sound,
which they compare to a rock concert.
"The issue is they're saying they have the right to worship the
way they choose according to the First Amendment. But we have a
right to peace and quiet," said Michelle Gutowski, who lives
across from the church. "Sometimes it just gets to the point where
we've just had it. I think, 'My God, that beat is going to drive me
One summons was issued during a morning service and one during
an afternoon service. Patterson said if the charges were not dropped
at the May 15 court hearing, the church would take the case to
Alabama city drops fine levied against noisy church
Bay Community Church still plans to file a federal lawsuit over what it calls an unconstitutional ordinance.