Neighbors: New Hope Church turns down volume

New Hope Church in Durham
February 3, 2013 2:40:41 PM PST
A Durham church involved in an ongoing dispute with its neighbors invited the media inside its Sunday services to hear the issue at hand.

New Hope Church has found itself at the center of a lawsuit filed by nine nearby familes in the The Hills at Southpoint subdivision.

The lawsuit claims performances and practices at the church are "akin to rock concerts."  However, church leaders insist the bass-filled music can only be heard inside the sanctuary.

Click here to read the lawsuit (.pdf)

"After the initial complaints came from our neighbors and meeting with them, we did agree to turn the volume down a little bit," church spokesperson Fran Heleingstine said.

Some of the nearby residents have even put their homes on the market to escape the noise.

One homeowner told ABC11 that the music used to make her upstairs floors rattle. However when the ABC11 cameras stopped by, she said she noticed Sunday's reduction in volume.

"I was upstairs for most of this morning and I didn't hear it, so it was nice," homeowner Aleida Alvarez said.

Another homeowner said Sunday was the first time in two years that they have been able to sleep in past 8 a.m.

Still, the church claims they haven't changed the volume after the initial complaints.

"I can promise you that this is exactly the way we've done our services," Heleingstine said.

That said, Heleingstine confirms the church has hired a public relations expert when they first got word of the lawsuit.

"We've hired lots of professional people to work with us, to make sure we navigate this the best way possibl," Heleingstine said.

The judge hearing the case will issue an order in 15 days.

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