An Open Letter to the Mayor of Accra on Loud Churches

Dear Mayor Alfred Vanderpuije,

I would like to make a formal complaint against the Ebenezer Miracle Worship Centre for causing unacceptable and irresponsible levels of noise pollution at their Flowerpot Junction branch, just off the Spintex Road.

My family has lived on Spintex Road for around 15 years. In that time, we have seen the neighbourhood blossom from an industrial area of mainly factories to a residential area with schools, hospitals, houses and more.

The Ebeneezer Miracle Worship Centre has since its arrival been nothing but a nuisance to the good people of this area.

Not only on Sundays but also on Thursdays (their main service) and during the working day on numerous other days in the week, they blare their speakers so loudly that I once took a recording in my bedroom and my work colleagues swore I was standing in the middle of the church given how loud and clear it was.

Besides this, there are times when they can be heard practising music or praying until the early hours of the morning (although this is at a lower volume).

In spite of the no doubt large amounts of money they earn every week from collection of monies from their congregation, their building has since its start been without a complete set of windows. Even the windows they have are slim, not double-paned and do not act as sound-proofing.

This has however not prevented them from blaring their preaching and even more so their band music so loud that they can be heard from the main Spintex Road.

Even the nightclub ‘Sweeties’ further the road contains its noise and has NEVER once reached such noise levels. Neither has the mosque with their call to prayer every morning.

The vast majority of Ebeneezer Worship Miracle Centre’s members are not from here, as is evidenced by the number of its congregation taking the cars, taxis and trotros gathered around and in front of my house every Thursday (their biggest day), littering the streets and sometimes even blocking the entrance to my house. On account of the noise and numbers on Thursdays, I often come home after 9pm on that day every week. Why should this be?

I have spoken to many other people in my area who feel the same way I do: completely powerless. Some say they would complain but they doubt the authorities care or will do anything about it.

A friend of mine says she once asked one of the church’s elders why they had opened a church in a residential area. He told her it was an industrial area. Even if it were, that would not make their behaviour acceptable. Or Christian, for that matter.

Whether or not this is an industrial area in law, the vast majority of people who live here own homes. It is as such a residential area in fact. A simple drive through the area will attest to this.

The noise levels of the Ebeneezer Miracle Worship Centre are totally unacceptable and truth be told, I doubt that even God advocates such selfish behaviour.

I would like to appeal for the following:

A. Shut the church down, change the area from industrial to residential area in law and make a public example of the AMA officer responsible for granting them a license in what is a residential area (whether or not it was defined as such by the AMA at the time: they should have visited the area to see whether people would be affected).

B. Failing this, simply shut the church down.

C. Failing this, force the church to IMMEDIATELY invest in soundproof windows that should COMPLETELY reduce ther noise levels. If they fail to do this, revoke their license.

The Accra Metropolitan Authority recently said it would clamp down on such churches. The good people of this area are relying on you to break the trend and live up to this commitment.

Yours sincerely,

Kobby Graham
Resident of Flowerpot Junction, off Spintex Road

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36 thoughts on “An Open Letter to the Mayor of Accra on Loud Churches

  1. poetra

    Lol.
    Solution 3 is more likely to happen …
    I live next to Apostle Kojo Safo’s Church – Kristo Asafo. And I have dissed them so many times I’ve lost count. Loud music that makes your head pound like you have a speaker in it. I personally don’t regard it as a church. Its a ground for commercial activity

    Reply
    1. Kobby Post author

      From the perspective of the preachers, I cannot agree with you enough on that last point. I sympathize with the congregation though. Them I don’t blame per se. People – it seems – need something to believe in.

      Reply
  2. pol159

    You’ve been talking about this for some time now and I think you should actually print this out and mail or deliver it in person to the mayor since you have a valid complaint.

    dUkE_

    Reply
    1. Kobby Post author

      I fully intend to, Bro. I think the Mayor’s well-intended and I’m hopeful he’ll do something about it.

      Keep hope alive.

      Reply
    1. Kobby Post author

      No petition, I’m afraid. At least, not yet. I’m going to send it to the Mayor first. Give him the benefit of the doubt and allow him to do his work. Failing that, we go all out.

      Reply
  3. Daixy

    I gotta say BRAVO. My boyfriend lives right next to what is now a church. They have service three times a week and all night services in between. Sleep is impossible and they put a damper on all romance. Needless to say, he’s moving out rofl. I think us christians are taking things too far. We use God as an excuse to harass people and make their lives miserable.

    Good on you for finally calling them out on this and here’s hoping the Mayor actually does something about it.

    All the best :)

    Reply
    1. Kobby Post author

      Thanks Daixy (and ouch at having to move out! Sing it with me now: “What you won’t do… do for love… you’ve tried everything… but you won’t give up…”)
      :)

      Reply
  4. Golda Addo

    Democracy will not come
    Today, this year
    Nor Ever
    Through compromise and fear.

    I have as much right
    As the other fellow has
    To stand
    On my two feet
    And own the land.

    I tire so of hearing people say,
    Let things take their course.
    Tomorrow is another day.
    I do not need my freedom when I’m dead.
    I cannot live on tomorrow’s bread.

    Freedom
    Is a strong seed
    Planted
    In a great need.

    I live here, too.
    I want freedom
    Just as you.
    “Democracy” by Langston Hughes.

    Personally, I always like to talk with the person causing me the problem first … human contact, approach … let’s see if we can understand each other.
    The laws of life naturally defer to survival of the fittest, it seems … people will always fight for what is theirs and what is not; people will always abuse what is theirs and what is not … why go all out into hostile approach, when the other is just man like you are? With that one thing that will touch his heart or graze his conscience …
    First know, then KNOW.

    Reply
    1. Kobby Post author

      Sadly, the direct approach has thus far failed. I think this approach is pretty civil though. The hostile option would involve a bazooka. Oh and by the way, thankyou: Hughes is my favourite poet.

      Reply
  5. Efua

    It is only in a developing country that the authorities allow such nonsense to go on. If it happens in the UK, the Church will be pulled in by the police on an ASBO – Anti-Social Behaviour charge.Here there is a law against Anti-Social Behaviour.

    Reply
    1. Kobby Post author

      Hmmm. I wonder what criteria they use? The problem here also involves numbers: at this point, there are churches like this on every single corner. Very daunting for any (probably underfunded) agency.

      Reply
  6. Abena Serwaa

    Great letter Kobby. I feel your pain. We live opposite a Junior High School and it is pretty much noise pollution hell. On weekdays there are constant evening prayer meetings and Sunday is basically a cacophony of sounds coming from different classrooms from 7am to 1pm. It is not clear if these many churches actually give anything back to the school because its in quite a sorry state. I’m all for taxing churches..My boss once went to report a loud church near his house to the police in Labone…he was told by them that he was “too known”.
    Sadly, I don’t think anything can be done because of the role of religion in Ghanaian contemporary culture. Nobody would want to be demonized (literally)

    Reply
    1. Kobby Post author

      Thanks Abena. You’re right: if the collection plate could be harnessed for national development, we could really move this country forward. Instead…

      *haystacks*

      Sigh.

      Reply
  7. kotibotor

    You just make jealous say dem be closer to god than you.

    Abi you knorr that saying… “If you cant beat them…”

    I want see you there this Thursday! You aankasa go feel for VIM of God… more powerful than akeshaa or even Persil!

    Reply
    1. Kobby Post author

      I’ll go this Thursday if you provide me with explosive al Qaeda-like equipment that I can strap to my chest. That way, both I and the congregation can REALLY get closer to God.

      Reply
  8. pol159

    If all else fails, you guys can resort to arson. I know some people who know people who know some crooks; just say the word :-)

    dUkE_

    Reply
  9. awo norvisi sokpe

    hhhmmm,kobby,say it and say it again!i live next door to a church;i mean i literally live next door to one(also at spintex.what is it with spintex churches anyway?).unfortunately,my room is at that end of the house and so you can imagine what i go through.and for someone like me who could not sleep with the slimmest shred of light or any form of noise,adjusting has been a great problem.the sad part is that my parents refuse to be the ones to complain seeing as they are quite religious themselves and would not want to be “judged” as “demonic”.my mum always tells us to “manage” but thing is,”managing” would’nt have been too difficult if we were only staying there for a couple of days;that is our home!so,that means that we are gonna be managing for a bloody long ass time(excuse my language).as you so rightly said,these people have lost sight of the fact that as Christians,”we must do unto others what we want others to do unto us”.presently,in the country i am in,there is an ongoing debate between some human rights activists and the state.the bone of contention here being a proposed ban on public expression of religion.meaning that if these activists win,the wearing of the “bar’ka” by muslim women to public places,rosaries or anything that supresses other peoples freedom,would be prohibited.I think Ghanaian churches need to start being reasonable and considerate in relation to the rights of other people and while they are at it,tone down all that noise.afterall,GOD is everywhere,HE Can hear them no matter how loud they scream…

    Reply
    1. Kobby Post author

      Hey Miss GH. Thanks for your comment and apologies that it took so long to go up: thought I’d approved it ages ago. Sounds like you’re in France.

      While the French issue is pretty controversial, I can safely say that I wish we had even an iota of French thinking on such matters.

      Reply
  10. maame julie

    I’m also reside about fity metres away from where Ebenezer Miracle Worship Centre church is, and want to comment the following:
    1)What Mr. Kobby Graham claiming church members and trotro drivers park their cars to block entrance to his house is not true. They rather park their cars in front of the church building.
    2) What Mr. Kobby Graham claiming about hearing the noise of the church in the main Spintex road is not true, you may even not know there is a church over there unless you reach the “T” junction which about 50 metres to the church.
    3) I want Mr. Kobby Graham to know that there are many pentecostal churches around the area which they all play drums and making even more noisy to worship God than Ebenezer Miracle Worship Centre, why did he single out only church which AMA should close down? Maybe, is a matter of a Wizard and a powerful PASTOR issue.
    4) I want Mr. Kobby Graham to know that, Ebenezer Miracle worship centre starts from 4pm and close at about 8pm. Were you asleep at time?

    Mr. Kobby Graham, you are not only person live in this area, the man of God pray for all of us around the area and is helping us.

    Mr. Kpbby Graham give us a break. The same Constitution also states ” we have freedom of worship”

    Reply
    1. Kobby Post author

      Thanks Maame Julie for contributing to the conversation. However, it seems we disagree on several points.

      1. I think perhaps because you attend the services you do not get to see the whole picture. If you did, you would know that during the Thursday services, the number of cars that park there are more than can fit in front of the church. So they park all the way up the road and a little bit further down. And they also park in front of my house. Specifically, the ones that park up the road BEFORE the church are usually trotros. These are the ones that have blocked the entrance to my road before. On a few occasions, I have had to get out of my car and ask them to move. When I am not in the mood, I just drive the long way around, turning left at the junction, then right then right again, just to access my road. I find it strange that you don’t see any of this. But then, you are probably in the church at the time that this is happening. Or you get there early when there are only a few cars.

      2. Even if you cannot hear it from the main road (which you can on Thursdays and Sundays), you can hear it very loudly in my house and this is simply unfair. If your church had at least TRIED to lower the volume, I would understand. But there is no soundproofing. And they have not even had the decency to finish installing all their windows yet. It’s not that big a space, yet the sound system is booming so loudly. Why?

      Again, maybe because you are inside the church at the time, you don’t realize this but I live not just in the area but right next to the church so I know what I’m talking about. And it’s not just me: I have spoken with other people who live next to the church and they all say the same thing. Don’t take my word for it: go into the road behind the church and ASK THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE THERE.

      3. Yes: there are indeed several other churches who also make noise. I am however only singling out Ebenezer because that is the one that makes noise that affects my house. The only other church I know is to the far left up the road from my house. That church was there before Ebeneezer and it’s noise has never been so loud that I have had to close my windows to block the noise. Maybe it is loud for the people nearer to it: I don’t know. What I know is the one right in front of my house and that is why I am complaining about it.

      It is both disappointing and stereotypical that you choose to make it a wizard vs. pastor thing. Just because I am complaining about noise, that makes me a wizard? That’s like ECG calling people who complain about ‘light-off’ wizards. Am I supposed to not complain just because it is a church? For your information, churches are not perfect and are capable of making mistakes too. Just last week, one church burned an old woman to death accusing her of being a witch. I call that murder. Maybe you think I am a wizard for saying the pastor responsible should be sent to jail.

      Anyway, you are entitled to your opinion.

      4. Ebeneezer does not only operate between the hours of 4pm and 8pm. Maybe that is the time that YOU attend the church. If you lived next to the church, you would know that people worship there on certain days during the day and that on Sundays, they have a morning service. AND even outside those times, I am sure there is choir practice or some small groups worshipping there because sometimes you can hear music at other times, especially in the morning (although – like I said – the early morning one is not as loud).

      Maame Julie, here’s the thing. You are right. I am not the only person who lives in the area. But it seems to me that you do not live as close to the church as I do and so you are not suffering. I however am. Just because it is a church doesn’t mean I should suffer in silence. Don’t take my word for it though: I seriously encourage you to go into the area CLOSE to the church – speak to the people who live around the church and ask them. You will find that I am not the only one saying these things.

      Let me be clear: if the church can be more thoughtful and lower its noise and peacefully co-exist with the people who were in the area before it, then I am sure no one will have any problem with the church, much less call for it to be closed down. In fact, if the noise levels went down, as well as the traffic and litter, I would gladly withdraw my letter.

      But if not, then you cannot deny me my right to complain.

      As for ‘Freedom of Worship’: please go and study the law. Freedom of Worship simply means you have the right to associate yourself with any religious belief you want. It does NOT mean you are free to worship wherever, whenever, etc. If that was the case, I could walk into your bedroom right now and set up a church and you could not complain about it. And that is my problem. With the amount of noise your church makes, it is as though they HAVE set up a church in my bedroom.

      Now do you understand? Or am I still just a wizard?

      Reply
  11. Daixy

    @Maame Julie,

    First off, you don’t know where kobby lives so quit attacking him on his assertion that they block his gate. The man says his gate is blocked. Who are you to call him out on it? SO what if the church has a parking space? Is it not possible that it gets so full that some inconsiderate members park where they shouldn’t? You cannot discount that.

    Second, the fact that he says he was able to record them from his window tells me that he definitely lives about 50 meters from them. Please learn to discern meaning from people’s comments and quit attacking for no reason.

    Thirdly, I resent your coming onto his space and being so rude as to insinuate that Kobby is a wizard. You may be a loyal member of the church, but that gives you NO right to spew such nonsense here, especially when you have no proof to your allegations. Grow up and learn to act like the christian you should be. A true christian wouldn’t do this. I expect you to have far more class and finesse.

    This is the only church which is bothering him and so he’s asked the mayor to do something about it, and I back him up 100%. Either the AMA has the church reduce its noise levels, or the church should be shut down. At least he is giving an option. It baffles me as to why you should be so aggressive.

    Fourth, what business is it of yours, what time he goes to sleep? Some of us work odd hours and need as much rest during the day. What if he was ill and in bed? What if he was studying? What if he just felt like being a lazy bugger? It’s none of your business what he was doing in HIS house at that time and I’d thank you to keep your nose on your face and away from peoples’ business.

    Fifth, the constitution says you have freedom of worship but does not give you a free pass to be a public nuisance. Either you contain your noise levels or go away. Not everyone in ghana is christian and even if they are christian, not all of them belong to your church. Who said, I want to attend two church services in one day? Ebei!

    Last, let me say, that I am appalled at the haste with which you typed your inane comments (or is it possible that you really do not speak english?). You may see this as a personal attack, and I’ll be truly amused if you do, but you cannot come here and attack someone personally and not get some thrown back at you. Talk to your church members and get them to reduce their nuisance level and save us the trouble of deciphering your garbled text. Your opinion will never matter if you choose to bring it out in such a confrontational and insulting manner.

    (PS. Feel free to pick up a dictionary for some of my words)

    Reply
    1. Daixy

      LMAO! And yet I’ve barely even lifted a fingernail. There’s a lot more pent up aggression that I need to let out. She’s always welcome to comment on my site where I occasionally put up erotic prose and such. If Kobby is a Wizard, then I am a Queen of Witches ROFL.

      Reply
  12. Efua

    Places of worhip should not be allowed in residential areas not unless the inside of these building are well insulated and noise proof. Planning in Ghana is a mess and the government gets away with it because the population do not complain! As for Kobby been a wizard for complaining what ignorance and nonsense!

    Reply
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    Reply
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    Reply
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    1. Kobby Post author

      Afraid I use WordPress. I was on Blogger before, but they were quite limited then. I’ve observed my sister using them though and they seem to have stepped up their game.

      Other than that, I like Tumblr too.

      Reply
  16. Biche

    Oh, I so feel your pain as my next door neighbour in Kampala just started a church in her home. So at 2.35 a.m. on a Friday night, despite having ear plugs in, I am still having to deal with the sound of a screaming preacher on a PA system. How is such treatment of neighbors even remotely Christian?!

    But enough about me. Were you ever to get your problem resolved?

    Biche

    Reply

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