ORGANISERS of York Pride have praised the Archbishop of York for supporting the festival in the face of criticism.

Last weekend’s event saw thousands of people take to the streets of York to celebrate LGBT Pride in the city, but the event was preceded by comments from a vicar from Hull.

Reverend Melvin Tinker, of St John Newland within the Diocese of York, said York Minster’s support for the march was “absolutely inappropriate”, and made comments which appeared to liken homosexuality with paedophilia.

In a statement this week, Dr John Sentamu gave assurance to LGBT people across the Diocese “that they are children of God, loved and valued by him, and deserving of the best we can give of pastoral care and friendship”.

He also said “from time to time strident views will be expressed. Stridency is no substitute for love”, and referred to a Bible passage from Ephesians which speaks of living with humility, gentleness and patience, and maintaining unity.

Dr Sentamu also quoted The Dean of York, Revd Vivienne Faull, who said: “For the second year running we are joining other groups in the City of York in showing our support for a section of the community that frequently experiences discrimination and hostility.

“York Minster’s invitation to everyone to discover God’s love through our welcome, worship, learning and work is extended to the entire community both inside and outside of the Minster. The Church of England is actively encouraging conversations around human sexuality and it is better to have those conversations with friends.”

Greg Stephenson, chair of York Pride 2015, said he was proud of the progress being made in York, and hoped it would continue.

He said: “We are forming a progressive alliance with York’s civic leaders, employers, schools, faith leaders, public services and businesses to say that this is place where LGBT people are welcome and will not be held back by their sexuality. For our 2015 Pride, we made that apparent to everyone living in or visiting York via rainbow flags – the international symbol of LGBT Pride – all over the city.”

Colin Wilson, chair of Hull Pride, which will run next month, said: “Our positive relationship and shared purpose with fellow volunteers at York Pride has only been strengthened by the recent negativity toward our LGBT community in Yorkshire.”