Pro-life activists barred from taking the Eucharist in York Minster | Ben Weller

“Do not lie”, Leviticus 19:11. Unlike most Bible verses this one doesn’t beat around the bush. Yet, in the fallout from events in York over the weekend of the 8th July 2023, it appears someone’s telling a few porkies. I’ll give you a spoiler… it’s not us.


On the 9th July 2023 the new kids in town rocked up. Where’s Welby? Armed with a folding table, white bedsheet, overly large vinyl poster riddled with spelling mistakes, and an army of three foot-soldiers, we hit the courtyard of York Minster. Our marketing was bold, but we didn’t expect the reaction that we received.


The first to confront us in this “who done it” thriller was Robert Innes, Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe. “Do you know where Welby is?”, he spat. What we then found out was the rather unfortunate news that the Archbishop had left Synod early to see his mother, who’d been taken ill. What anembarrassing day to be Where’s Welby?! Jumping in on the attack was Vivienne Faull, Bishop of Bristol, reiterating the same thing we’d already been told, this time mated with a demand. After repetitive cries that we shouldn’t be here” we agreed to cover up all Where’s Welby? labels.


We did raise the fact we weren’t trying to insult Welby’s ailing mother and that we are, in fact, a pro-life organisation. They didn’t seem to believe us. I mean, I’m actually impressed that they think we could create all of this memorabilia in one night.


Anyway, off they went towards the doors of York Minster, stopping on the way for a little natter with the doormen and the Minster Police, standing guard.


Minutes later a lovely young North Yorkshire policeman was thrust up to the table to ask us what was going on. His inquisitive nature was promising, but then came the rather shocking news. By order of York Minster police Where’s Welby? was not allowed to attend the public worship service in the Cathedral, thus barred from taking Communion. The excuse given to us, admittedly apologetically, from the clueless young man was that we’d disrupted a service before. Of course, this is just factually incorrect. Where’s Welby? in its current form had been public for less than 24 hours, how then could we have disrupted previous services? There is not a shred of proof to support this claim.


We weren’t the only activist group outside the Minster on that day. The surprisingly pleasant people at Christian Climate Action had spent the last thirty minutes covering themselves in sheets on the floor, likely to represent the deaths they expect to come from global warming. I suppose the incense fumes are a great problem. To our surprise, this group, known to have interrupted church services before, were allowed straight through the doors, placards in hands, to worship the Lord and partake in His supper.


I love to think of people optimistically, it doesn’t mean I’m particularly good at it, but it’s a nice goal to have. Alas, my imperfect, pessimistic mind starts niggling me. Maybe the Bishop isn’t offended on behalf of Welby. Maybe it’s her willingness to abstain from voting on all pro-life legislation that drove her vitriolic attack.


It appears that the Church of England has shifted from trying to satisfy the Spiritual needs of faithful Englishmen, instead trying to justify their own existence to people who want them gone, and attract people who hate God into the pews. Unsurprisingly, this doesn’t do anything except alienate true saints. That’s what happened outside the Minster.


Far from standing up for the great injustices in this nation, it seems that the Bishops with the pleasure of sitting in the House of Lords exist solely to apply a Spiritual glaze to left-leaning political issues, and to ignore those that are truly important to the Lord. Actually, ignore isn’t a strong enough word. Maybe shut down, or silence, proves my point a bit more.


Both Bishops denied having any part in our refused entry, however unlikely it may be, there’s no proof against them. York Minster also denied the accusation. So why were we barred from taking communion? We stand on a platform of “do not kill”, but as mentioned at the start, it’s not the only simple commandment in the Bible. May the Lord judge themjustly for their actions.



We have asked the Church of England for their response, but at the time of publication, none had been received.