An evangelical minister excluded by Derby Cathedral from preaching at a Christian Union (CU) carol service, has told The Christian Institute he has received “a lot of support from people all around the world”.
Revd Melvin Tinker, an evangelical minister from St John Newland in Hull, had accepted an invitation from the CU to preach but was prevented from doing so by senior cathedral staff.
Derby Cathedral, criticised for recent screenings of sexually explicit films, denied banning Revd Tinker, claiming it had simply chosen not to invite him.
Speaking to The Christian Institute, Revd Tinker said the cathedral was being “disingenuous” in its denial.
“I was told by a member of the CU Executive that the sub-dean told them I could not speak at the cathedral because of ‘my relations with the York diocese’.
“When they asked if someone else from St Johns could speak they were told ‘no’ because ‘what is preached in the cathedral will be taken as being preached by the cathedral’ – it’s a ban in all but name.
“I think it was pretty mean of them to do this at such short notice to the 40-odd students who simply wanted the Gospel proclaimed at their carol service.”
The minister has previously criticised senior leaders in the Diocese of York for their enthusiastic support of LGBT groups – including prayers of blessing for the York Pride march.
He believes that the cathedral was concerned about him saying something that would make it look bad but stresses: “I was simply going to preach the Gospel. Any harm to their PR image has been done by themselves.”
The cathedral was recently criticised for hosting public screenings of films such as The Wicker Man and Don’t Look Now (famed for its graphic sex scenes).
Revd Tinker said: “I’m afraid the cathedral will always be tarred with the decision to show those films.”
Revd Neil Barber, vicar of St Giles Normanton, has now accepted an invitation to preach at the event.
“Neil’s a good guy”, said Revd Tinker. “He’s an evangelical and will give a good message for those who come. Hopefully all the publicity will encourage more people to come and hear the Gospel.”
Responding to reports that Revd Tinker was not welcome to preach in his cathedral, Stephen Hance, Dean of Derby said: “The Dean invites all guest preachers for services to be held at the cathedral.”
“It is entirely wrong to claim that anyone has been ‘banned’ simply because the Dean has not chosen to invite them on this occasion.”