Holy racket! City tells pop up church to tone it down

Holy racket! City tells pop up church to tone it down
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

The city is tamping down the noise made by an anti-gay pop-up church on Clarendon Road after receiving a slew of complaints that the congregants were making too much of a blessed ruckus.

Noise inspectors from the Department of Environmental Protection visited the tent built by the Gospel Tabernacle Church of Jesus Christ last Tuesday after receiving complaints from the community board and cops and found that noise from the temporary structure at E. 22nd Street between Cortelyou and Clarendon roads, topped out at 89 decibels — akin to a Harley Davidson at a close distance.

“They agreed to reduce the noise levels,” said city spokesman Farrell Sklerov, after the city met with church leaders.

On top of that, Deputy Inspector Eric Rodriguez, commanding officer of the 70th Precinct, said he met with the congregation leaders last Wednesday and demanded they tone it down.

“They didn’t have a sound permit,” he said. “We told them without a permit, they would have to abide by the noise laws.”

The news was music to the ears of Janee Harvey and her wife, Tobi Parks, who claim to have been trying for the past two summers to get the church to whisper the word instead of shouting it out.

“The holy spirit was literally shaking our whole neighborhood,” said Harvey, who claims her 4-year-old son had trouble sleeping because the church was making so much noise from 6 to 10 pm. “There’s a live band and singing and a lot of preaching and there are spontaneous ‘hallelujahs.’ ”

And Harvey especially didn’t like to hear what they were preaching.

“It was a very homophobic sermon about how ‘God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve,’ ” she said. “[My wife] ran into their tent and was yelling over them to stop.”

Church Pastor Kingsford Bloomfield said he didn’t remember the sermon, but agreed with its message.

“We’re a Christian organization. [Homosexuality] is against our Christian principles,” he said.

The church, which has a brick-and-mortar establishment on Snyder Avenue between Bedford and Rogers avenues, sets up every night each August in the neighborhood in an attempt to attract new worshippers, its leader said.

“The word of God tells us to reach every sinner and every soul,” said Bloomfield. “We use the tent to do that. We’re in the business of saving souls.”

The pastor added that he wanted the neighborhood to hear the sermons and that this was first year that he’s received any complaints.

“We want you to hear the message that we’re carrying, but we don’t want you to be offended,” said Bloomfield.

A neighbor agreed.

“Every night in August, bedtime is an ordeal because of the noise,” said Stacie Williams, who also lives on the block. “It’s fine that they’re there, but it’s an inconvenience. I feel like they’re not being considerate to the neighbors.”