Church fined for 4am services

Neighbours complain of unbearable noise

The Celestial Church of Christ

The pastor of an evangelical church in Essex has been fined for holding 'unbearably loud' services in the middle of the night.

Akinseye Iyun, head of the Celestial Church of Christ in Grays, Essex, led services involving amplified music, drumming and chanting as often as four times a week, frequently finishing as late as 4am.

And he ignored complaints from neighbours, claiming that the building had been sound-proofed.

"It's not really reasonable the amount of noise they're making – you don't hear that from any other church," one local told the Thurrock Gazette.

"When it's going full blast, I can hear every word the preacher is saying. They're not really taking care of the residents at all."

However, after months of broken nights for locals, Iyun has finally been prosecuted at Basildon magistrates' court, where he was found guilty of breaching a noise abatement notice. He's been ordered to pay £1,241.50 in fines and costs.

Mr Iyun, 38, has apologised for causing a disturbance, saying it wasn't intentional. He has scrapped the late-night programme, so that services will now run from 7pm to 8pm on Wednesdays and Fridays, and to 9pm on one Thursday a month.

And he's been warned that if, despite this, the noise continues to be unreasonable, his PA equipment will be seized.

Evangelical churches frequently cause problems with their neighbours, thanks to their often highly enthusiastic services.

Earlier this year, Kingdom Church in Camberwell was fined £8,000 for holding weekly 'healing and miracle' services in the early hours of the morning. And the church insisted that these middle-of-the-night services were necessary because 'It is a well-known time that witchcraft and negative elements begin to work in the early hours of the morning'.

But more traditional churches can infuriate their neighbours too. Most commonly, it's a case of objections to church bells - but not always.

Last year, for example, the 13th century St James the Great Church in Thorley, Hertfordshire, was accused of making residents' lives 'hell' for using barns on the site to host parties.

"We don't want to upset the church, but we don't want drunken wedding guests wandering around shouting outside our houses," one resident complained.

Neighbours wishing to complain about noise - from however godly the source - should contact their local council.

Global Ministries Foundation facing complaints in other states

Nightmare neighbours

Nightmare neighbours