Tuesday, November 1, 2011

'ST PAUL'S SUSPENDS LEGAL ACTION AGAINST PROTEST CAMP'

From the website of St Paul's Cathedral:
01 November 2011

The Chapter of St Paul’s Cathedral has unanimously agreed to suspend its current legal action against the protest camp outside the church, following meetings with Dr Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London, late last night and early this morning.

The resignation of the Dean, the Rt Rev Graeme Knowles, has given the opportunity to reassess the situation, involving fresh input from the Bishop. Members of Chapter this morning have met with representatives from the protest camp to demonstrate that St Paul’s intends to engage directly and constructively with both the protesters and the moral and ethical issues they wish to address, without the threat of forcible eviction hanging over both the camp and the church.

It is being widely reported that the Corporation of London plans to ask protesters to leave imminently. The Chapter of course recognises the Corporation’s right to take such action on Corporation land.

The Bishop has invited investment banker, Ken Costa, formerly Chair of UBS Europe and Chairman of Lazard International, to spearhead an initiative reconnecting the financial with the ethical. Mr Costa will be supported by a number of City, Church and public figures, including Giles Fraser, who although no longer a member of Chapter, will help ensure that the diverse voices of the protest are involved in this.

The Bishop of London, Dr Richard Chartres, said: "The alarm bells are ringing all over the world. St Paul’s has now heard that call. Today’s decision means that the doors are most emphatically open to engage with matters concerning not only those encamped around the Cathedral but millions of others in this country and around the globe. I am delighted that Ken Costa has agreed to spearhead this new initiative which has the opportunity to make a profound difference.”

The Rt Rev Michael Colclough, Canon Pastor of St Paul’s Cathedral and a member of Chapter, added: "This has been an enormously difficult time for the Cathedral but the Chapter is unanimous in its desire to engage constructively with the protest and the serious issues that have been raised, without the threat of legal action hanging over us. Legal concerns have been at the forefront in recent weeks but now is the time for the moral, the spiritual and the theological to come to the fore.”
Of course, the protestors will eventually be forced out, but at least St Paul's will not now be complicit in the action. Better late than never.

H/T to Simon Sarmiento at Thinking Anglicans.

UPDATE: The City of London Corporation presses the pause button:
Stuart Fraser, the City of London Corporation’s Policy Chairman, said today:
‘The Church has changed its standpoint and announced it is suspending legal action on its land.

Given that change, we’ve pressed the ‘pause’ button overnight on legal action affecting the highways – in order to support the Cathedral as an important national institution and give time for reflection.

‘We want to leave more space for a resolution of this difficult issue – while at the same time not backing away from our responsibilities as a Highway Authority.

‘We’re hoping to use a pause – probably of days not weeks – to work out a measured solution.
‘We will make a further announcement tomorrow lunchtime.’
Thanks again to Simon at Thinking Anglicans.

6 comments:

  1. Whew, thanks for that last update Mimi! [Thought that Caesar was proceeding, where the Sanhedrin feared to tread]

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  2. JCF, the pause is only temporary and the expulsion will probably proceed.

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  3. I hope the pause lasts long enough to form the human barriers around the campsite.

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  4. A mess, indeed. The entrance onto the stage of the bishop of London seems to have ended what looked like a freeze in the action of the drama by the leadership of the cathedral chapter.

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