City of Stanwood issues cease and desist order to church after continued noise violations –

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STANWOOD, Wash. — Brian Kemp left Seattle for Stanwood to get away from the noise of city life, but this summer he was in for a rude awakening.
“One Sunday morning I woke up to the sound of really loud noise,” he says. “Then when I was listening to it I was like, wait a minute, that’s a sermon!”
It was the congregation at neighboring Redemption Hill Church making a “joyful noise to the Lord.”
But to neighbors, it wasn’t so joyful.
“During the summer they wanted to be able to share their love and joy of their faith with everyone without thinking of the consequences of what that meant for everyone,” says Kemp.
Neighbors say the noise would start on Sundays around 8 a.m. Music and movie nights in an outdoor amphitheater could go until 10 p.m.
More than a dozen complaints have been filed against Redemption Hill over the past three years.
“Once they started encroaching on their neighbors’ peace, that’s when it became an issue,” says Kemp.
The city issued four violations including one stating the church didn’t have the proper permits to operate. The church has been using a single-family home for its services.
Organizers must apply for a conditional use permit to operate as a church. One has not been granted.
The church responded to the city citing the First Amendment which bars the prohibition of the free exercise of religion.
The city countered by saying, “While the importance of the right to free exercise of religion is without question, those rights have to be balanced against legitimate government interests.”
An attorney for Stanwood sent several letters to church officials advising them of the law. The attorney says all were ignored.
On July 13 the city threatened legal action and issued a cease and desist order to the church.
Neighbors say Redemption Hill has since moved its sermons into a nearby senior center and things have been quiet since.
“We have the rules for a reason. I believe in the spirit of the rules,” says Kemp.
The spirit of the rules versus the spirit of the church, and right now the rules are winning.
“I don’t want to see them shut down,” says Kemp. “I want to see them be able to worship and enjoy their faith, but I want them to do it respectfully.”
KING 5 News has reached out to Redemption Hill Church and Pastor David Hensman for comment multiple times over multiple days via telephone and email. We have not heard back. 
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