Prison minister who quoted '˜homophobic' verses loses jobs claim

A prison chapel minister who preached that homosexuals, thieves and sodomites would not enter the Kingdom of Heaven, to prisoners, has lost his claim for unfair dismissal.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 15th March 2016, 6:32 am
Updated Tuesday, 15th March 2016, 11:14 am

Barry Trayhorn claimed he was forced to resign from the jail where he worked after he quoted verses from the bible said to have been “homophobic,” failed in his bid for unfair dismissal and that he was discriminated against because of his Christian faith.

The employment tribunal which heard the case last year announced its decision yesterday.

Ordained Pentecostal Christian Minister Barry Trayhorn read to inmates verses from the Bible for the “repentance of sin.”

He told an employment tribunal last November “I talked from the well known Bible passage 1 Corinthians Chapter 6 Verses 9 - 11.

The passage was read out to the tribunal panel hearing Mr Trayhorn’s claim in Bedford last Nivember

Part of the verse read out to the hearing included the words “neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor coveters, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the Kingdom of God.”

The 51 year old father of three, from Sandy in Bedfordshire, who has been married for 23 years, told the tribunal hearing that just days after “sharing” the words with the inmates, he was told he was to be investigated about allegations that he had made homophobic statements.

The tribunal panel was told that Mr Trayhorn had gone to work at Littlehey Prison in Perry, Cambridgeshire in May of 2011 as a horticulturalist. His duties included supervising prisoners in the maintenance of the prison gardens.

Mr Trahorn, who was ordained as a Pentecostal Minister in 2009, volunteered in 2012 to help the prison’s chaplaincy team at chapel services in the jail.

That same year, he said he was asked by one of the chaplains at Littlehey - Reverend Roy Nyandro - to help with worship at young offenders’ services.

Referend Trayhorn was later asked to “lead the worship” at services once a week.

Eventually, he said, he was asked to preach at services whenever Reverend Nyandro was away.

“He obviously trusted me, otherwise he wouldn’t have given me the responsibility” he told the hearing.

Dealing with his role in the chapel services, he said “I would lead the congregation in the singing of Christian hymns and songs. If I felt inspired by God to quote from the Bible or to say something else that God had put on my heart, I would do that.”

After that he said it would be the preacher’s role to deliver a message from the bible.

He said “I often focused on Christian teachings about sin and repentance. In that context, I would sometimes list examples of sin or quote passages from the Bible.”

Reverend Trayhorn said he accepted that the Bible’s teachings on sexual ethics were seen as controversial.

Rev Trayhorn brought his claim for constructive unfair dismissal against the Secretary of State for Justice