A church choir in Oakland, California has been accused of being a “public nuisance” and the church has been threatened with a $3,500 fine if the choir does not practice more quietly.
The Christian Examiner reports that the letter to Pleasant Grove Baptist Church from the city stated, “This activity may constitute a public nuisance due to its impact to the use and quiet enjoyment of the surrounding community's property."
The letter said the city may impose a $3,500 fine on the church if the choir does not comply with the demands for quieter practice, with an additional fee of $500 per day.
"Kind of hard to believe because we've been here about 65 years in the community and all of a sudden we get some concerns about the noise," said Thomas A. Harris III, the pastor of Pleasant Grove.
Harris, along with other pastors in the community, believe that the complaint against the choir is due to the changing demographics of the city. The city is going through the process of gentrification and the new residents are more particular about the choir’s singing.
George Holland, president of the Oakland branch of the NAACP commented on the ultimatum the city sent to Pleasant Grove: "Those persons who are just new arrivals should not come and try to change the culture that existed before they arrived here.”
“There should have been discussions between the community and those people who are saying the church is making too much noise," Holland added, commenting on the fact that the letter from the city seemed to come with no warning.
The Pleasant Grove choir, however, intends to hold practice in the same way as they always have.
Photo courtesy: flickr.com
Publication date: October 20, 2015