Hello, 311?

Yes, I’m calling to file a noise complaint.

Where is the noise coming from?

There’s this van that pulls up outside our school every Tuesday and people come out and sing and shout and play games with kids for four hours and it’s all through a megaphone or microphone or something.

So the noise is from the street?

Um, yes.

Okay, ma’am, I’m going to file a non-traffic noise complaint which has to go through the local police precinct. Can I ask you some questions?

Sure.

Is the noise coming from the street or from a vehicle?

It’s from a van that pulls up on the street.

So it’s a vehicle?

Well, they set up a stage or something and broadcast from there.

Okay, the street.

Whatever. Yeah.

And it’s singing and dancing?

Well, I’m not sure exactly, I mean, today they were singing Christmas carols very badly and very loudly, and shouting stuff, and playing games, and having kids come up on stage, they do different things. I feel like a jerk complaining, I mean, it’s a Christian thing, they mean well, but they are so loud.

Okay, so singing and shouting. How long does it go on for?

It’s every Tuesday for about four hours.

When did it start today?

A little before 3.

What else can you tell me about the noise?

I think it’s something done by Metro Ministries, called Yogi Bear.

Can you spell that for me?

Umm… Y-O-G-I B-E-A-R

Like yogi?

Yeah.

And the location?

[A block from my school]

He takes my information, gives me a code number, and promises that more information will be available within 8 hours. It’s the 42nd Precinct, so probably not. I’m at least the third teacher to call in a noise complaint. Mind you, this starts BEFORE school gets out and I’ve gone down there and spoken to them very nicely about why it is a problem to use a megaphone outside a school during school hours… for a while, they moved to the other side of the school so at least someone else got to deal with it.

Just call me Concerned Citizen Frizzle.

P.S. Here’s a little excerpt from their webpage:

How does Kingdom Ministries work? The neighborhood is patrolled with a big yellow truck, playing loud Christian rap or rock music, announcing when and where we will be starting. Once at the site the truck converts to a stage and the music continues to play while “Sidewalk Sunday school” is being set up. “Sidewalk Sunday school” consists of:

  • Opening with prayer
  • Singing songs of praise
  • Playing games
  • Learning a bible verse, reinforce the verse with skits, equate the verse to modern times with a life lesson
  • Closing with prayer.
  • So they pretty much acknowledge that they’re loud. I don’t know if the prayer and Bible verse stuff happens… I don’t listen that closely. What I see is mostly the dispensing of a lot of candy and a lot of loud, silly games. Once they were giving out goldfish and lizards and stuff – can you imagine if your kid came home with a small pet requiring care and you were never even asked for permission?

    I just want to note that it’s not the Christian message I’m against: it’s the annoying, disruptive tactics that disturb the neighborhood peace.

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