Barton in the Beans and the BNP Baptist Chapel

After a bit of prodding, I’ve received a response from the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches (FIEC) about the recent hosting of the British National Party’s Rev Robert West at Barton in the Beans Baptist Chapel (also known as Barton Fabis Baptist Chapel or Barton Chapel). West’s appearance at this venue was noted on a BNP blog, but specific details were removed after Seismic Shock drew it to wider attention. The FIEC administrator was keen to point out that each church is independent, that the Fellowship does not support any political party, and that it is working to make member churches aware of the dangers posed by political extremists. I was also directed to a related church body called “Affinity”, of which the FIEC is a member and where further details about the chapel are listed. The specific entry is here; there is no minister listed, just a certain “Mrs C S Meller” given as the administrator. There are apparently regular services, though.

Mrs Meller is Christine Meller, and according to this site she and her husband Derek Meller maintain a museum at the Chapel, which is of historic significance and regarded fondly by British Baptists. There is no evidence that either of these persons support the BNP, but it just so happens that there is also a local BNP councillor named Ian Derek Meller, who is described as a member of the Chapel on the website of the North West Leicestershire District Council.

A site run by Searchlight magazine notes:

[Ian] Meller is a former member of the NF who in August 2000 was fined £400 with £55 costs for possessing an offensive weapon – believed to have been a chair leg. When he was arrested Meller was with a 15 strong contingent of NF members led by Mick Shore who was involved in the KKK and who is now also in the BNP. The gang of NF thugs of which Meller was a part were intent on attacking a Gay Pride march in Leicester.

Meller’s supporters claim he was carrying a flagpole.

West, meanwhile, believes that multiracialism is sinful, and that this is the lesson of the story of the Tower of Babel. He also shares Meller’s distaste for homosexuality, and in 2007 his Christian Council of Britain brought Paul Cameron to the UK.