Pentecostal Church in Norway accused of making too much noise
A housing association complains about a Pentecostal Church in Norway about the level of noise of the church services. As the municipality rejected its claim, it is now taking the case to the National Ombudsman.
The bass sounds from the music played during services and other gatherings is invasive, a neighbour of the church of the Puls congregation (former Hillsong congregation) in Stavanger says. “It is a type of low-frequency sound from bass and drums that thunders through the walls”, Tom Gyran, chairman of the housing association Trekantkvartalet says to Vart Land.
Gyran took the matter to the municipality in March, but the local authorities rejected his claims. Now, he has taken it to the National Ombudsman and is waiting for a response.
The pastor of the Puls congregation, Stein Ingve Håland, says that the church has taken the complaints of its neighbour seriously. They carried out official noise measurements and followed the advice of the health department of the municipality, Håland writes to Vart Land. Furthermore, the pastor says that the church has attempted to replace its windows with more soundproof glass. However, this was not allowed as the building is protected by the National Antiquities law. The official noise report that was made in 2019 concluded that the sound level was within an acceptable limit as long as it occurs at limited times.
At the same time, the church leadership says to have taken measures to reduce the noise. They indicate that they have turned down the bass and the volume, closed the doors and the windows at times when the music is playing and hung thick curtains in front of the windows.
But the neighbours say that they do not notice any difference. Dorten Valen, who is married to Tom Gyran, acknowledges that some sound in the city centre should be tolerated. However, she argues that low-frequency sound is different. “I can feel the sound in my body. It is like being at a rock concert.”
It is not the first time neighbours have complained about the sounds from the Puls congregation. Neighbours then compared the congregation to a nightclub that is open on Sunday, Dagen wrote at the time. The complaint was also taken to the municipality, which then ruled that the noise levels were within an acceptable limit.
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