Why women, the city and London's churches have had enough of the city's street preachers

Pastors, parishioners and passersby have all complained about the confrontational street preaching style of Matt Carapella and Steven Ravbar.

One pastor barred them, another had to call police after parishioners were confronted in a church

Mathew Carapella on his familiar spot at the corner of Richmond Street and Dundas. Using an amplified speaker, he harangues women who wear pants and anyone he suspects is gay. (Andrew Lupton/CBC)

Speaking through an amplifier on one of London's busiest street corners, Matt Carapella tells a woman wearing pants that her attire is a "total perversion in God's eyes." 

He also openly admits to confronting any passerby he thinks may be gay, calling them an "abomination."

Carapella is well known for his confrontational street preaching style.

He can often be found shouting scripture at Dundas and Richmond streets and in Victoria Park. 

But CBC London has learned that Carapella — along with another preacher Steven Ravbar — have been barred from two city churches. They've also been asked to leave at least one other church for aggressively confronting parishioners and religious leaders about their beliefs. 

Ravbar was also Carapella's Grade 7 teacher. 

A sample of Carapella's street preaching can be found in this video, which was shared with CBC London by documentary photographer John Densky .

Here Carapella is speaking at the corner of Dundas and Richmond streets in downtown London:

Watch this street preacher shame women

5 years ago
Duration 2:39
A street preacher shames women in downtown London, Ont.

Ousted from churches

Cory McKenna, who's a pastor at the Harvest Bible Chapel on Commissioners Road, had to get a trespass order issued against both Carapella and Ravbar after the pair refused his repeated requests to stop confronting his parishioners. 

McKenna said the men regularly showed up during service and challenged people in the congregation about their beliefs. They even confronted women about what they were wearing.

McKenna said he spoke to the men politely on multiple occasions, telling them they had to be respectful or leave.

"We tried to deal with them graciously, but they refused to listen," he said. 

Ravbar denied that his questioning of parishioners interfered with their right to worship.

The pair was also asked to leave the Open Door Church on Dundas Street. Both men left peacefully when police showed up.

A church official who spoke to CBC News but did not want to be named said both Carapella and Ravbar "radiated a lot of anger" and would confront women about their clothes, sometimes calling them "whores."

Ravbar admitted to challenging the church leaders at Open Door but said he didn't interfere with the service. 

'Whore' and 'prostitute'

Marshal Burnham contacted CBC London about the preachers after he was confronted by them on the street. 

Marshall Burnham was confronted by street preacher Matt Carapella. (Andrew Lupton/CBC)

Burnham, who's a Christian, said Carapella called him an "evil, vile, sinner" because he wore shorts, which Carapella regarded as women's underwear.

"It's almost laughable," said Burnham.

He began a discussion with both men who asked if his wife wore jeans. When Burnham said she did, Carapella told him she was a "whore" and a "prostitute."

"It's mind-numbing to hear this stuff," said Burnham.

In a phone interview with CBC News, Carapella confirmed the reports of confronting women about their attire.

What's your view?

Are London's street preachers going too far, or should they be left alone to profess their faith on our streets? Have you had an encounter with them? 

Share your feedback with us on our comments line: 519-931-3250 or email:

You can also connect with us on Twitter at @CBCLondon or on our Facebook page.

'Multiple complaints' to the city

City bylaw enforcement head Orest Katolyk said he's received "multiple complaints" about the street preaching of Carapella and Ravbar on Dundas at Richmond streets and in Victoria Park.

He also said those complaints have led to an "active investigation" into whether their actions contravene nuisance bylaws that apply to public spaces. 

The men could be liable for a fine of less than $1,000 or be issued a court summons for their actions, but so far that hasn't happened. 

Katolyk said their behaviour falls into a "grey area" between free speech and interference of the public's right to be free from nuisance in a public space, such as a sidewalk.

London Police Service spokesperson Const. Sandasha Bough said police also have an active file about the actions of the two men. 

"We continue to investigate with respect to noise and the content of their messaging," she said.

On mobile? You can listed to the interview with Pastor Cory McKenna by clicking here.


Andrew Lupton is a B.C.-born journalist, father of two and a north London resident with a passion for politics, photography and baseball.


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