The following letter is being sent to the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul’s Cathedral and cc to the Bishop of London. We have a number of signatories including Rev. George Pitcher and Simon Barrow (co-director of Ekklesia).
Dear Dean and Chapter of St. Paul’s Cathedral,
We are writing to you to express our grave concern at the prospect of a forcible eviction of the Occupy camp currently situated in the grounds of the Cathedral.
We understand that the semi-permanent camp has resulted in challenges for the Cathedral and we are not unsympathetic to this.
We also accept that ultimately the decision on eviction is the City of London Corporation’s. The Cathedral, however, is not powerless in this situation.
We commend you and others for efforts to seek a compromise solution and we are saddened that these seem not to have borne fruit as yet.
We are very much concerned for the impact on the Church as well as the camp of a forcible eviction. The Name of Christ will not be honoured by such an action, and the stance of the Cathedral will be seen as being at least in part responsible.
We do not believe that the Church should ever be in a position where it is identified with oppression. Its mission and ministry is, rather, about freeing people.
We therefore hope that the Dean and Chapter of St Paul’s Cathedral will make a public statement saying that they do not support a forced eviction of the Occupy camp.
Mark Hanson (Founder, Church Peace)
Simon Barrow (Co-Director, Ekklesia)
Dr Zoe Bennett (Theologian, Cambridge)
Dr Andrew Francis (Co-ordinating Group, Radix Community UK)
Rev Ray Gaston (Tutor, Queen’s Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education, Birmingham)
Savitri Hensman (Christian writer, Hackney)
Symon Hill (Christianity Uncut)
Rev Vaughan Jones (United Reformed Church)
Dr Gillian Paterson (Theologian, London)
Rev George Pitcher (St Bride’s, Fleet Street)
Rev Ian Rathbone (Elim Pentecostal Church)
Prof Christopher Rowland (Biblical scholar, Oxford)
Jill Segger (Quaker journalist)
Rev Dr Steven Shakespeare (Department of Theology, Philosophy and Religious Studies, Liverpool Hope University)
Jordan Tchilingirian (Research sociologist)
(If you would like to indicate your support for this letter then please leave a comment here. Please do not make lengthy comments or negative comments – the intention is to gather names of those who support this letter. Many thanks.)
As at 1pm on Wednesday 15th February we have had an additional 82 names added to the letter. Many thanks to all!
We have received a reply from the Chapter of St. Paul’s and this can be viewed here.