Church event ‘was like Glastonbury’

Residents gather in their gardens which are overlooked by Billinge Family Church
Residents gather in their gardens which are overlooked by Billinge Family Church

WEARY residents say their quiet corner of St Helens is being ruined by noisy goings-on at a local church.

Neighbours near Billinge Family Church compared a recent African-themed music day to the Glastonbury festival and complained about children playing football in the Crank Road church’s grounds and car parking difficulties - particularly on Sunday mornings.

After complaining to the council, they are now recording all noise pollution created.

Thomas Wilson, of Coleridge Road, said: “The church members mostly travel in by car and then go home to sit in their quiet gardens without having to put up with the noise created by their parties, playgroups, band practices and football-playing.

“Most of the residents on this estate are retired and just want some peace and quiet.”

Debra Hill, of Cheltenham Drive, who even picketed outside the church one Sunday morning, added: “I’m not anti-religion but I don’t want it shoved down my throat every weekend.”

In response, Pastor Mike Kerry accepted that the Nigerian music had been “too loud”. He said: “We have some Nigerian Christians in our church but the mistake was to amplify the choir. It was too loud and it won’t happen again.

“But, as for kids playing football in our grounds, that’s what kids do. We have a 60-strong boys brigade and a 60-strong girls brigade and we believe children should be allowed to play - it’s always supervised.

“We have 200 people a week coming here now. It’s one of the fastest growing churches in the region. We regularly provide food, furniture and clothing for homeless people and offer a free debt counselling service. There’s some fantastic work that goes on here.”