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(Compass) – Last week, Carlos Avendaño, a leading evangelical member of Costa Rica ’s Congress, climbed the country’s principal monument and spent several hours on the statue in one of San José ’s main parks to protest the closing of dozens of evangelical churches. Government officials say that 37 churches have been closed because they lack restrooms or the noise from their services exceeds legal limits. Avendaño, a former Pentecostal pastor, claims the number is closer to 80. Typical is the case of the Holy Seed Church in San Isidro , closed since December following a neighbor’s complaint about noise. The town’s mayor recommended that the church be reopened because of their “excellent social-spiritual work” with drug addicts, prostitutes and alcoholics, but health officials refused to reconsider the case. Avendaño’s protest prompted Delia Villalobos, Costa Rica ’s vice-minister for health, to agree to negotiate the issue with evangelical officials.