Christians for Economic Justice

Previously called Christianity Uncut

St Paul’s Cathedral refuses meeting with Christians evicted from steps

The following news release was issued by Christianity Uncut this morning (23.03.12).

St Paul’s Cathedral refuses meeting with Christians evicted from steps

The Canon Pastor of St Paul’s Cathedral has refused to meet with five Christians who were dragged by police from the cathedral steps as they knelt in prayer during the eviction of Occupy London Stock Exchange.

The five – Sam Walton, Symon Hill, Siobhan Grimes, Jonathan Bartley and George Barda – had asked to meet “in a spirit of love and respect”. Their letter was counter-signed by twenty clergy, including eleven from the Church of England.

A legal case against the police may depend on clarity from the cathedral authorities over whether they gave permission for people to be forcibly removed from their steps. The court order for eviction applied only to land belonging to the City of London Corporation.

The Canon Pastor, Rt Rev Michael Colclough, said that the issue should be “put behind us so that we can all continue our work of proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ”.

The letter states that the cathedral authorities gave the Corporation permission to clean the area around the cathedral and that police removed people from the steps to allow this to happen. It goes on to say, “We understand that they [the occupiers] were reminded of this by police early in the course of the removal”. In fact, no such public statement was made.

 Siobhan Grimes said:

“We offered to meet with Michael Colclough in a spirit of love and respect. I am saddened by his dismissive reply. This is not a matter that can simply be ‘put behind us’, because it relates to the very nature of Christianity and its role in our society.

“The Good News of God’s love for people cannot be separated from questions of politics and economics, which are about how people relate to each other. We are concerned by anything that prevents Christians from standing in solidarity with those who are resisting sinful economic structures and abusive power.”

Sam Walton added:

“We are concerned that we may have been removed from the steps unlawfully. Any court considering this question would need a clear statement from the cathedral authorities about their communication with the police and the Corporation. Michael Colclough’s letter, perhaps unwittingly, paints an inaccurate picture of events on the cathedral steps on 28 February. The police made no public statement about temporary removal. We were threatened with arrest, with no suggestion that we could shortly return.”

ENDS 
 
Notes
1.      Christianity Uncut is an informal network of Christians campaigning against the UK government’s cuts agenda and the injustices of capitalism. We are inspired by Jesus, who took nonviolent direct action in the Jerusalem Temple in solidarity with people who are exploited, poor and marginalised. Please see http://www.christianityuncut.wordpress.com.

2.      The full text of the Cathedral’s letter is available at https://christianityuncut.wordpress.com/2012/03/23/response-from-st-pauls-cathedral/.

3.      The full text of the earlier letter from the five people who were removed to the cathedral is available at https://christianityuncut.wordpress.com/2012/03/13/evicted-christians-submit-letter-to-st-pauls-cathedral

4.      Photographs are available of the eviction from the steps on 28 February. Photographs are also available of the five signatories standing on the steps on 13 March with their letter to the Canon Pastor.

5.      George Barda has been involved in Occupy London Stock Exchange since the beginning; he is a campaigner for social justice and real democracy. Jonathan Bartley is a member of the Church of England, co-director of the Ekklesia thinktank and a Green Party candidate for the Greater London Assembly. Siobhan Grimes is an Anglican and climate change activist living in London. Symon Hill is associate director of the Ekklesia thinktank; last year, he went on a 160-mile pilgrimage of repentance for former homophobia. Sam Walton is a Quaker activist living in London.

6.      More details on the forced eviction are available at https://christianityuncut.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/christians-dragged-from-their-knees-on-cathedral-steps.

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4 thoughts on “St Paul’s Cathedral refuses meeting with Christians evicted from steps

  1. Pingback: Church Peace » Can the Offender Tell the Offended to Forgive?

  2. Pingback: Christian anti-capitalists take direct action after St Paul’s sides with City | Symon Hill

  3. Pingback: Christian anti-capitalists take direct action after St Paul’s sides with City « Christianity Uncut

  4. Pingback: Christian anti-capitalists rebut untrue claims about protest at St Paul’s « Christianity Uncut

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