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.

8 Responses

  1. […] 28, 2009 · No Comments Richard Bartholomew has more on the BNP vicar Rev Robert West, and his preaching at the baptist chapel in Barton in the […]

  2. […] Posts Koh Nomination Provokes Hysteria over ShariahBarton in the Beans and the BNP Baptist ChapelWND Clarifies: God Didn’t Tell David Wilkerson to Make 2000 Peanut Butter SandwichesObsession Pundit […]

  3. The German sister confederation of the FIEC, the Bund freier evangelischer Gemeinden is also not known for being in any way progressive, in general, their membership is in political terms very conservative (and an easy prey for rightwing demagogues when they speak a “christian conservative” language (is it similar in Britain?)), they have also some dark spots in their history e.g. one of their biggest congregations in Hamburg (joined the confederation in the 1930ies, was a semi-independent pietist-evangelical congregation inside the established Lutheran church before) ran a hospital which prohibited Jewish doctors from working there in 1927 and the most famous preacher of that congregation joined the NSDAP in 1933, see here (in German, sorry)

  4. It was a chair leg, according to his defence brief in court. He’d taken it along because he was afraid that people from the Pride parade might attack him, he claimed.

  5. […] I contacted the FIEC asking if they had any views on the matter. After a couple of follow-up emails I finally got a response – a very general statement that the FIEC is aware of the need “advise” churches about the “dangers” of political extremism in general. This was despite the fact that West’s appearance at the church appeared to be with the full knowledge of the chapel wardens (there is no minister) – a relative of theirs, BNP councillor Ian Meller, is a member of the congregation. […]

  6. […] Ian Meller is a member, and others of the surname ‘Meller’ are also apparently linked with the church. Little surprise then that BNP candidate Rev Robert West was invited to preach […]

  7. […] been less impressive than the Church of England’s position: prior to the election, West was invited into the pulpit of a historic chapel in the village of Barton-in-the-Beans; the chapel is […]

  8. […] appearance at the chapel, in the village of Barton-in-the-Beans, was arranged by chapel administrators who appear to be related to a local BNP candidate. The chapel has no […]

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