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.”

Fray claimed he is not the only black person to experience racial discrimination from the group. That allegation was flatly denied in the statement of defence adding the PAOC Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario District does not discriminate based on race, ethnicity or national origin and that its churches are culturally and ethnically diverse.

The group also denied that it disclosed confidential information about Fray’s credentials to other employees of Evangel Chapel in 2013. He is the second Evangel Chapel employee to allege breach of confidence.

Fray is seeking $100,000 in damages. He claims he suffers anxiety because of the stress. Fray did not respond to a request for comment.

Porterfield declined to comment.

The allegations made have not been proven in court. The pre-trial is scheduled for June.