Pastor fears church will lose members after noise complaints

Lambeth Council handed All Nations Church in Kennington a noise abatement notice after receiving complaints from local residents about the level of noise coming from the church.

The restriction was issued without warning on 25 September, in spite of a meeting between a local councillor and residents due to take place on 20 October. It is the first time the church has received a complaint since it was founded at the premises four decades ago.

One of the church’s pastors, Victor Jibuike, is worried that the restrictions will seriously affect the congregation, some of whom are elderly and hard of hearing, and that members may now leave to worship elsewhere.

He feels the complaints are connected to the church’s plans to convert a disused school into a community centre in partnership with Lambeth Council.

“The complaint has nothing to do with the noise and everything to do with our faith,” he said. “Lambeth Council are driving us out and we feel harassed.”

The church is being supported by the Christian Legal Centre. Its director, Andrea Williams, said the complaint from residents stemmed from “hostility to the Christian message”.

“The law is being used as a pretext to harass and silence Christian viewpoints not approved by the state,” she said.

“All Nations Church is simply trying to make Christianity relevant to 21st century Britain and it will be a great loss if the church, which is a great benefit to the community, has to curtail its activities and outreach programmes because of the council’s actions.”