A Manitoba Christian group denies it racially discriminated against youth pastor Ryan Fray when it failed to process his application for ministerial credentials he needed to become a senior pastor.

The group asked the judge to throw Fray’s lawsuit out of court and make him pay the legal costs.

Fray, who is a youth pastor at New Beginnings Church (formerly Evangel Chapel), filed a lawsuit against the Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario District of the Pentecostal Assembly of Canada (PAOC) in November 2014.

Fray alleged that PAOC assistant district superintendent Andrew Porterfield told him in fall 2011 he took issue with granting him credentials because he was a “big creepy black guy.”

“[F]alse, vexatious and designed to be scandalous and embarrassing.”– Andrew Porterfield,  PAOC Assistant District Superintendent

In the statement of defence filed in January, Porterfield denied that he made the statement calling it “false, vexatious and designed to be scandalous and embarrassing.”

Fray’s suit also alleges district superintendent James Poirier told him the test in which he demonstrated the required knowledge didn’t matter because “we only give credentials to bright people.”

The district PAOC executive fired back in its court filing denying the remark and saying his test results did not demonstrate the knowledge to gain credentials. The statement of defence said Fray did poorly on the written examination failing 20 of the 52 questions “including failure on fundamental questions of faith and doctrine of the PAOC.”