Reverend describes worship allegedly interrupted by London’s notorious ‘street preachers’

Rev. Andrew Fullerton is speaking out two days after London’s notorious street preachers were criminally charged after allegedly interrupting worship at Elmwood Avenue Presbyterian Church.

Fullerton said the two men entered the church during the service, sat near the back and began shouting after the sermon.

“I can’t remember precisely the words that were said but I do know the gist of what was said, and there were two aspects, really. They were saying disparaging things to me and about me — that I was an impostor, a fraud and an actor. The other thing they said was some disparaging things about women,” he explained.

“When I heard that, in an instant I realized and recognized that these were, indeed, the gentlemen that we’ve heard about in the news these last few years.”

Fullerton says he reacted with a lot of anger.

“It was controlled but it was nonetheless a lot of anger. I thought, ‘No, you don’t.’ So I came down from the lectern where I was and walked over to them and stood over them and confronted them,” Fullerton explained.

He said he told the two that they were breaking the law and asked parishioners to contact police, who he said arrived after the two had fled.

On Monday, police announced that the two men were located and arrested at roughly 7 p.m. on Sunday and have been jointly charged with mischief relating to religious property.

Steven Ravbar, 50, and Matthew Anthony Carapella, 32, were charged in late March with violating the city’s public nuisance bylaw. The bylaw was amended last year, making it illegal to use abusive or insulting language when it prevents people from enjoying public spaces.

The two men have been the source of public complaints to city officials in the past for allegedly using abusive language at passersby, mostly women, and often invoking religious language.

“The minute religion gets used as a weapon, you know that it’s not the real thing. So they’re mimicking something here, but it’s been weaponized and it’s not genuine, and I think that’s why it ought to be confronted,” Fullerton explained.

“Anybody can understand that if there’s something you hold dear yourself and you see it being misused and abused and then turned to cruel ends, that’s very frustrating. It’s painful to see.”

A full interview with Fullerton will air on The Craig Needles Show on Wednesday, April 10 at 10:35 a.m.

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