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Prayer and action alert: Councillor Smith ousted as Mayor for biblical views

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Please pray Councillor Smith is vindicated and biblical truth is honoured.

Richard Smith is a pastor and local councillor in Ferryhill, County Durham.

He was elected Mayor of Ferryhill in May, but resigned last week in order to protect his wife and family from abuse following online agitation by LGBT+ activists.

Richard had shared a number of posts on his Facebook account, promoting biblical views on sexual ethics and Islam. A local drag queen, going by the name Tess Tickle, accused him of homophobia and Islamophobia, leading to a torrent of abuse online.

Tonight, at 7pm, there will be a special meeting of the Town Council to remove him as Chair.

A free speech rally in support of Richard will be held at 6pm tonight at the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Ferryhill, County Durham, DL17 8JL.

If you are able to, please join the rally to show your support for Richard and for the freedom to hold Christian beliefs while serving in public office.

Please pray for a good outcome from the meeting – that Richard will be vindicated, that biblical truth would be honoured, and that free speech would be respected.

Richard was elected Mayor of Ferryhill in May this year, had previously served in the army for eight and a half years, and has been pastor of Emmanuel Christian Fellowship, Ferryhill, since 2003.

To help you get a sense of the extreme abuse he has been subjected to, we've replicated one comment below (warning - bad language):

“This day in age. F***s sake! Tie the twat up in a rainbow flag, strip the nob head naked and leave him there to be laughed at. This s***s getting boring! His breed are getting fewer though, you just do have the odd few still breathing. X”

Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern, said in support of Richard:

“Councillor Smith has posted nothing illegal. He is a pastor of a church and nothing he has said contradicts the teaching of the Bible. An aggressive lobby is determined to distort those views, take them out of context, and ultimately silence and remove anyone who adheres to them. Councillor Smith serves as a local pastor and politician, motivated by his faith and love for the people of his community. What kind of system hangs him out to dry?”


If you can, please join the free speech rally in support of Richard at 6pm tonight at:

Council Chamber, Town Hall, Ferryhill, DL17 8JL.

Even if you cannot be there, please pray that Richard will be vindicated and that:

  •  biblical truth would be honoured
  •  free speech will be respected
  •  his family will have peace and protection from any further abuse
  •  he will still be able to serve effectively in the Town Council

You can read Richard's resignation letter in full below:

"It is with deep and profound sadness that after considerable deliberation I have decided to relinquish the role of Mayor of Ferryhill Town Council.

Over recent weeks I have been subjected to unprecedented levels of adverse publicity, publicity that has been orchestrated for political advantage, and has threatened both my Church, family, and colleagues alike. Whilst the instigators are very much in the minority, as evidenced by the widespread messages of support I have received, I realise that my ability to serve the people of Ferryhill in the manner I would have wished will always be subject to disruption and intimidation. The latest incidents being the mob getting my son involved who is an Afghanistan War Veteran who suffers severe PTSD with severe flash backs. I had to refrain from attending the Flag Raising Event where I was to give a speech for those of our Serving Military Men and Women, this was due to the threats of disruption to that and any event I would have been involved in as Town Mayor. It has got so bad I now have involved the Police.

To be denied the opportunity to hold personal views was never my expectation when I undertook the role of Town Mayor, and it is a matter of sincere regret to me that those personal views have been so tragically and outrageously twisted and reported on in order to discredit both myself and my faith. I am stepping aside with immediate effect, and trust all local organisations who have been so cruelly influenced by recent publicity are able to once again support all charitable and worthy events organised by the Council in Ferryhill.

I will remain a member of the council, to participate in and promote initiatives brought forward for the benefit of all in our town, as was always my intention.

May I thank the many people who have expressed support for me, especially the 5,540 people who signed my petition and the 56% who voted me to stay as Mayor from the Northern Echo poll. I trust that my resignation now puts an end to the vendetta being waged against me, my family, Church and colleagues. My Faith in Christ is what drives me to help people regardless of their faith, colour, culture, sexuality, or political persuasion. I have never let the convictions of my Faith dictate who receives my help or the help from the Church it has always been the Love of God that is found in Christ Jesus, a love that is full of Mercy and Grace. People who really know me and Lauraine and the Church can truly comment on how hard we have lovingly worked to help and provide for those in need, this has now been decimated by the minority mob along with those wishing to score political points and who have a God-phobia.

I will close with these words from the Apostle Peter from the Book of Acts Chapter 5:

“25 And someone came and told them, “Look! The men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people.” 26 Then the captain with the officers went and brought them, but not by force, for they were afraid of being stoned by the people. 27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, 28 saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man's blood upon us.” 29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Saviour, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him. 33 When they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill them.”

I guess nothing much has changed. I get called a bigot and intolerant?

Richard Smith

Pastor and Ferryhill Town Councillor."