A London church is holding services at 3 a.m. on Saturday mornings, despite noise complaints from residents. The church said that the dead of night is when “demons” are most “active."
The allegedly loud music and activities caused Kingdom Church to be fined over $10,000 for disturbing local residents, The Standard reports.
Bishop Climate Irungu, the church's leader, said his fellow parishioners must keep their nocturnal schedule despite the noise complaints.
“Because of our religious beliefs, we have to do them during the night,” Irungu told The Standard.
“That is the time when we’re dealing with spiritual things, when the spiritual world is busy. That’s the time when demons are more active, when people are asleep, that’s when they will come.”
The church said its sermons help churchgoers find reprieve from illness, financial trouble or “demonic soul ties."
According to Irungu, the Kingdom Church attracts followers from "all over the world," but many local residents have complained about its late-night, noisy activities.
"We received a lot of hate mail from atheists and people like witches and Satanists," Irunga said. "I’m pursuing legal justice and divine justice. In the Bible, when people mock, God deals with them.
“I’m hoping that people who have been mocking us, people speaking bad things -- God is going to deal with them.
The city council of Southwark, the area where the church is located, is reportedly filing a lawsuit to force the church to halt its late-night sermons. As the battle between the city council and church heads to the court, a debate over religious freedom in the U.K. may emerge.
British citizens have the right to “manifest” their religious beliefs under Article 9 of the Human Rights Act, according to a U.K. government website.
However, the right to express religion “can be interfered with in certain situations- for example, to protect the rights of others.”
Irungu stressed that his church has helped many in the community.
"Our 3 a.m. service has helped hundreds of people whom have all shared their testimony about what God has done for them," he told The Standard.