Joint Letter to St. Paul’s Cathedral

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.

Signatories:

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.

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94 comments

  1. jim robinson says:

    Behold, I am doing a new thing;
    now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?

    In peace

    Jim Robinson

  2. The response from the chapter of St Paul’s Cathedral, to Occupy London Stock Exchange, has been ambivalent at best. Not least appointing Ken Costa, after his dismissive comments regarding OLSX to head up engagement with them. Please take a clear and unambiguous stand while it is still possible to do so.

  3. Revd Canon Dr Jeni Parsons - Rector of Matson says:

    let God worry about it – engage continually with those on the doorstep because they are Christ to you

  4. Chris McCallum says:

    As Giles Fraser wrote recently: what an opportunity has already been lost for the Church to become an active part of cooperating for radical re-evaluation of the the way capitalism has been allowed to develop. But it’s never to late to repent. God is always doing something new.

  5. Josephine Hatcliffe says:

    Christian, Christ Church, Nailsea

  6. Janet W. Parsons says:

    The St. Paul’s demonstration raises crucial issues that cannot be ignored by the Church. In humility, serving Our Lord, let St. Paul’s shine like a beacon for the Church Jesus Christ in the world, not the Powers of Rome (or London, or Los Angeles or New York).

  7. Rev Canon Garth Hewitt says:

    All Hallows on the Wall

  8. christina van melzen says:

    Mediation is the only way forward. That way lies understanding.

  9. The Revd. Dean Ayres says:

    Chaplain of the University of West London and member of the cathedral’s pastoral team.

  10. Judith Pettigrew says:

    Mark 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” Would the Son of God, who drove the money-changers from the Temple, drive away those who are trying to make a stand against the modern equivalents?

  11. This is a witness to faith and hope being played out in the public square. Please stand with those witnessing to hope of a better way and in convicting us all of our idolatry. Do not, please, stand silently by whilst men of violence do their work.

  12. Rev Ron Smith says:

    When Colin Powell made is hawkish speech on the Iraq war to the U.N Security Council the tapestry of Guernica, which hangs there, had to be concealed to spare the administrations blushes. What will have to be hidden to spare the blushes resulting from a forced eviction?

  13. Richard Hopper says:

    Reader, St Gluvias, Diocese of Truro

  14. James Ramsay says:

    John 3.21 Not enough to explore, analyse, weigh, proclaim truth: “those who do the truth come to the light”. May you be guided by the grace of Christ to do publicly that which brings good news to the poor.

  15. Timothy Broyles says:

    Theology Teacher, Brophy (Jesuit) College Preparatory, Phoenix, Arizona, USA

  16. Your initial reaction caused a good deal of damage. Please repair it now.

  17. Revd Fraser Dyer says:

    St Peter De Beauvoir Town, Hackney

  18. Simon Cuff says:

    Keble College, Oxford
    Ordinand, Ripon College, Cuddesdon.

  19. Chose you this day whom you will serve (Joshua 24:15)

    You cannot serve God and Mammon (Matt 16:24; Luke 16:13)

    (Local preacher: Inverness Methodist Circuit)

  20. Rev Mary Winter says:

    John 1 speaks of Jesus ‘setting up his tent’ in the Greek – I think this is just the sort of place we’d find him today!

    • Ken MacKinnon says:

      Rev Mary Winter write of jesus ‘setting up his tent’ in John 1. Any idea just where precisely in the text is this?

      • Mark of Faith says:

        The reference is, I am told, to the original Greek manuscript in which the phrase translated “dwelt among us” is from the original meaning of “set up His tent with us”.

        Hope that helps.

        • Ken MacKinnon says:

          Many thanks for this. I was unable to find this phrase in my Greek NT. in either John 1 or 1 John. I was hoping for the actual textual reference so I could actually pin it down.

          i would be very grateful iof you can. Shalom from the Black Isle – Ken

  21. Mary Spain says:

    You know the right action. I feel sure you will take it.

  22. Mark of Faith says:

    Thank you very much for all your support and comments..keep them coming in!

    In addition to the 15 signatories on the original letter, 21 further names are in these comments, so thank you so very much.

    Mark Hanson. (Church Peace.)

  23. Victoria Covington says:

    The Occupy camp is bringing love and fighting for justice in the world.. Surely this is something the church ought to support?

  24. Maureen E Frost says:

    Member Charminster Social Justice

  25. John Cox says:

    I urge all those who choose to oppose “Occupy London” to think again on the highly prophetic words currently carved in stone directly above the entrance to The Old Baily, Central Criminal Court in London…!! – which read as follows:

    “Defend the Children of the Poor and Punish only the Wrongdoer !”

  26. Lilian Cox says:

    “Defend the Children of the Poor and Punish only the Wrongdoer !”

  27. Juliet Kilpin says:

    Baptist Minister & coordinator of Urban Expression.

  28. Rev Canon Enid R Morgan says:

    It is surely not too late to show that the Church is not automatically on the side of the powerful, nor sheltering behind the violence of power.

  29. “And Jesus answered them, ‘The hour has come for the son of man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” St. John 12:23-6. RSV.

  30. Claudine McCreadie says:

    Parishioner, St Anne’s Church, Kew.

  31. Revd Brian Rostill says:

    St Peter’s Church
    Boyatt Wood

    Winchester Diocese

  32. Dr Andrew Eaton says:

    But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3:17-18)

  33. Peter Hecker says:

    PCC member, St Peters Church, Westleton, Suffolk

  34. Miranda Pinch says:

    I attended the ordination of the new Bishop of Winchester as I live in that Diocese. The encampment was neat and tidy and did not cause any sort of an obstruction. I am certain that were Jesus outside St Paul’s today he would rather visit the tents than the pomp and riches of the Cathedral. As beautiful as it is, it is not what Christianity is about.

  35. Sylvia Reid says:

    Thy Kingdom come. Thy Will be done. On earth as it is in heaven. Amen.

  36. Freda Ross says:

    Whom do you serve?

  37. Janet W. Parsons says:

    Here is Jesus, standing in the tented encampment, gazing on the Temple on a cold winter’s day. He is angry and despairing at the misuse of his Father’s house and the misery that comes of human greed (John 2:15). And you say that the camp will be cleared? And the hallowed, hollow edifice remain? For what purpose? The Church’s single role is to point to the Saviour. May it turn, now, with the people, and be healed (Isa. 6:10).

  38. Robert Thompson, Quaker says:

    “Bring the whole of your life under the ordering of the spirit of Christ. Are you open to the healing power of God’s love? Cherish that of God within you, so that this love may grow in you and guide you. Let your worship and your daily life enrich each other. Treasure your experience of God, however it comes to you. Remember that Christianity is not a notion but a way
    (Quaker faith and practice.)

  39. Mrs Bridget Whitaker says:

    A missed opportunity indeed, so far. But you now have a second chance. Please take it.

  40. Mark of Faith says:

    Thank you so much for the further comments and support!

    At this time there are 37 new names in addition to our initial 15. Thank you so very much! You are appreciated!

    Do still add your name if you want to voice your support and haven’t done so.

  41. Fraser Hunter says:

    Student, The Salvation Army, Perth.

    The Occupy protests on the cathedrals doorstep have been such a brilliant opportunity for the church to show solidarity with and minister to the poor. It has also been a brilliant opportunity for them to show that the Gospel is still culturally relevant. Lets pray that they start making use of these opportunities to being the light of Christ.

  42. Revd Iain McDonald says:

    Minister, Southernhay United Reformed Church, Exeter

  43. I very much hope the Cathedral will be able to find a constructive way to engage with the broad based concerns that the Occupy movement has brought to the fore. Many on all sides feel out present way of doing things has run its natural course, and we need to find a fresh way. Since Medieval times, to an extraordinary degree during the Reformation, St Paul’s Cross has been the site of vigorous national debate and discernment. It would be wonderful to see St Paul’s begin to recover some credibility beyond the elite echo chamber of the square mile, along with this historic role. It is well resourced to make a major contribution — it only has to find a way to engage positively with the world beyond its elite constituency, and I’m convinced it could do this fruitfully.

  44. edwina Hughes - Quaker says:

    Whom do you serve? Holding you in the light that you may be guided to continue your support of Occupy.

  45. Jo Rathbone says:

    Social worker
    Member of Coventry peacechurch

  46. Revd Mark Nicholls says:

    I support this. The gospel madates we cry justice. St Paul’s must not stand idly by and breathe a sigh of relief when it returns to ‘business as usual’.

    The seeds of resurrection have landed on its doorstep.

    Rocky ground, or fertile soil?

  47. R.Dr David J.Heinemann says:

    Although a Jewish rabbi, I was so appalled by the oppression of the Palestinians in Israel and the support for them (against the Zionist Christians & the right wing money brigade in the USA) by the Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem, that I became a Christian. Although this has created a number of personal problems, I have never regretted it, but deepen my Faith by the realisation that OUR Lord & Master always stood shoulder to shoulder with the poor, downtrodden, and oppressed. However, I am also appalled by the hypocrisy, support of the establishment – especially Capitalism which IS anti-Christian in its values – with which the Church is ridden today. We need to ask ourselves, not whether these occupiers should be outside St. Paul’s, but why ALL Christians, particularly Anglicans with their history, are not there supporting them?

  48. Roger Chapman says:

    I wonder what Trevor Huddleston or his like would be doing in the face of such an eviction? We had an effective peaceful anti-apartheid movement which Trevor was part of – can his spirit be reproduced within the Church relative to Occupy? We need a peaceful but active resisting presence from the Anglican communion.

  49. The choice for the church and the world is whether to serve the money god or the living God. Faithfulness to the power of money has already brought poverty to millions and riches to the few. St Pauls must now take a stand.

  50. Rev Hazel Barkham says:

    United Reformed Church

  51. Rev Colin Cartwright says:

    Jesus: ‘My house will be a house of prayer for all nations’. The Occupy movement, it seems to me, is in tune with the mission of Jesus.

    Trinity Baptist, Chesham

  52. James Jenkins says:

    James Jenkins, Suffolk

  53. We continue in prayerful and practical support of the people at St. Paul’s and Finsbury Square

  54. Linda Jones says:

    I totally support this letter

  55. Richard Gooch says:

    St. Mary’s Dorchester

  56. The Revd Catherine Dyer says:

    Jesus had a special care for the poor and marginalised

  57. David Marchesi says:

    A general absence of foolishness to the Greeks and scandal to the Jews has marked virtually all major Church “leaders” for my lifetime ( 73 years) In this country , one can still see the C of E as the “Tory party at prayer”. What a pity !!

  58. Avril Dawson - Quaker says:

    Occupy are asking the questions we should all be asking, whoever we are, whatever our beliefs.

  59. Helen Taylor says:

    Occupy are bringing to the world’s attention a problem that will not go away, in which persistent mediation and education are needed. Surely their presence by St Paul’s and the work they undertake on behalf of us all is a cause for gratitude and support, not eviction.

  60. Tony Weekes says:

    We are all the 99%!

  61. Dr Lucy Gilliam says:

    Dear St Pauls,

    Occupy are asking the questions we should all be asking. Standing up for the vulnerable in society and challenging this destructive unjust system we have currently have in place.

    Some of my dear friends are camped on those steps. Please do them no harm. They are standing up for justice, peace, equity and freedom.

    Lucy, (Quaker – Religious Society of Friends)

  62. Solidarity and peace from ‘SoulSpace’ and ‘Just Church’, Fresh expressions of Church from the City of Bradford.

  63. phillip brombley says:

    church warden st marks church portsmouth

  64. Nick and Pat Hamilton says:

    Thank you for taking this action. We fully support the letter

  65. REV. DAVID AUSTIN says:

    Love & Solidarity ..Prayers for a better Kingdom.
    Looking to the Church to lead the way…

  66. Mark of Faith says:

    As at 6pm on the 8th Feb we now have 63 names added to the letter, in addition to the initial 15.

    (The comments include four that are not new names)

    Many thanks to all. If you still want to show your support and haven’t yet done so, please do comment.

  67. Tim Foley says:

    Mediation Northern Ireland. I support this letter which resonates with the spirit of Christianity.

  68. julia yelloly says:

    thetford, norfolk

  69. Sheila Gallagher says:

    A hopeful awakening in our society of the unfair structural injustices at work

  70. Peter Bayliss LRPS says:

    I see Jesus sitting with them !

  71. Thank you for taking this action. We fully support the letter

  72. Porth United Reformed Church, Rhondda, Wales.
    The Occupy witness against rapacious capitalism is vital for areas like the Rhondda.

  73. Devi Hardeen says:

    I fully support this action. Thank you.

    Phil. 4:4-7

  74. The new struggle against fiscal Apartheid: the 1% vs. the rest of the planet; ordinary people, fragile ecosystems, and the holistic search for meaning and compassionate justice.

  75. Keith Jolly says:

    I fully support the letter.
    Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

  76. Tina Leonard, Quaker says:

    I support this letter. Thank you for taking action.

    Oxford

  77. Tommy Gee says:

    Violence is for bullies, informed discussion is the way ahead. If all pay levels were made public,fairness would surely prevail

  78. Mary Leslie says:

    peace with/through justice

  79. Rev James Pritchard says:

    In full support!

  80. Rachel Barlow says:

    I fully support the letter and the sentiments so passionately expressed by Dr Heinemann.

    St John the Baptist’s, Chester

  81. I really support this letter,and hope that it will receive a positive response. Occupy St Pauls is a marvellouas reminder of the priorities of the Kingdon of God. And now the camp is tidier it looks good…….Donald Reeves.

  82. Mark of Faith says:

    Thank you all of you! This is a really great response (79 additional names) and I thank you for this.

    We must now hope that St. Paul’s will respond positively.

    If you haven’t added your name and wish to do so then please do.

  83. Julia Smith says:

    What kind of world do we want to leave for our children, grandchildren and all those who come after us? The Occupy camp challenges us to think deeply about this fundamental question.

    Quaker, Bury St Edmunds

  84. Josh Dipple says:

    Fully support this!

  85. Rev Dr David Pickering says:

    Minister, St Andrew’s Roundhay United Reformed Church, Leeds

  86. Katharine Peake says:

    Do try setting a Christian example to gratify a discouraged and confounded world and a confounded Christ. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to celebrate and further your faith and the needs of the world. And the world is watching carefully. And what you do or do not do will make a very great difference to the world and to the Church of England. Liberate yourself and liberate all of us. Let us in. Don’t throw us to the wolves.

  87. mary white says:

    sadly not only did the eviction take place, but Christians, and others were forcibly removed from the very steps of St Paul’s even as they were praying. Not a clergyman from the Chapter in sight, let alone giving pastoral care and counselling to all those on the steps and to see fair play. Someone was surely in the Cathedral to turn off the lights, which so miraculously came back on by the time the police were on the balcony.

    The following day the Cathedral was ‘Open for prayer and reflection’. Clergy were on hand for counselling….too late, and for whom? The placard held up on the night of the eviction ‘ forgive them for they know not what they do’ said it all. I think St Paul’s Chapter turned its back on them and behaved like Pilate. As the last commentator wrote ‘don’t throw us to the wolves’ Sadly I believe you did.
    Scarcely a shining example of Christianity.

  88. Ken MacKinnon says:

    Many thanks to Rev Mary Winter and Mark of Faith for references to John 1:14, namely that Jesus ‘tabernacled’ among us i.e. ‘pitched his tent’. (Heskenosen in Greek – Strong 4637)

    I think that this is a very helpful insight, and lends a great deal of support as to where Jesus would likely locate himself in this situation.

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