C of E minister faces criticism over York gay pride blessing

A Church of England minister has given a prayer of blessing at the beginning of a homosexual festival outside York Minster.

Canon Michael Smith, who has responsibility for pastoral care at the Minster, spoke at the beginning of York Pride as a march through the city began outside the historic cathedral on Saturday.

His comments have been criticised for going against Christian teaching.

Love God

A statement from York Minster said this was the second year it had joined with other York groups to show support for the event.

Revd Melvin Tinker, an evangelical Church of England minister at St John Newland church in Hull, spoke out against Canon Smith’s actions.

He noted Jesus’ assertion of God’s instruction to: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind'”.

Revd Tinker said that involves loving God’s standards in the Bible. He added that means “there are certain things you can’t love if you’re going to love God and that means you can’t affirm immoral actions”.


Speaking to BBC Radio Humberside, he said that the institution of marriage between one man and one woman is a “wonderful thing for society”.

And he commented that York Minster’s actions were inappropriate and out of place.

Despite the redefinition of marriage in law, Revd Tinker said, the truth of God’s word does not change.

Rainbow flag

In the run up to the York event, it was reported that North Yorkshire’s Police HQ would fly a rainbow flag for the first time.

A local secondary school was also set to put on equality lessons and encourage students to wear rainbow colours.

In his comments outside York Minster, Canon Smith said: “I would like to thank those organising this event for this generous invitation to speak”.


“Go on your way in peace. Grow in friendship with God, grow in friendship with your neighbours and follow the way of Jesus who reveals God’s love for all people”, he commented.

Ahead of the event, York Minster said: “The Church of England is actively encouraging conversations around human sexuality and it is better to have those conversations with friends.”