Showing posts with label Occupied Bishop. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Occupied Bishop. Show all posts

Friday, May 4, 2012


Occupied Bishop George Packard was arrested again.
I said to Brook on that long march from Union Square to Veterans’ Plaza, “It would be a relief to be arrested just to sit down.” We’re not that out-of-shape; it was the stop and go, creep along, that the NYPD made us do to keep order that wore us out. Truth be told, the crowd—though hefty at fifty thousand strong—was docile. 

Despite the fatigue the traverse past Trinity Church brought a wave of continuous and universal disdain. Sad, really, because that parish/corporation—true to the Gospel--could have brought an moment of magnanimity to the Occupy Movement by granting refuge on their vacant Duarte property back on December 17th. What had been an esoteric argument over using church property wasn’t wasted on this endless parade of protesters. They got it.
Very sad, indeed.
So, we wended our way down past the infamous bull on lower Broadway with a surprising left turn toward Water Street. My legs were yearning for the benches around Bowling Green but sometimes the inscrutability of places like Trinity can only be matched by the likes of my young friends of Occupy. Where we were going? Enroute we all received this text message: “New Occupation Assembly at Veterans’ Plaza.”

Once there, you can’t help but think of the young men with whom you served. In those days I was an Army platoon leader.

I’m probably at the end of God’s list of coincidental places from which to be arrested: church property on December 17th and now the Memorial for my fallen brothers and sisters on May 1st....and so I ignored the police instructions to leave the park.
Thus George was arrested again, although he had every right to rest and remember in Veterans Plaza.  What to say of a system in which a veteran is not permitted quiet time at a veterans memorial?  Read the entire poignant post.

Monday, February 27, 2012


From George Packard, Occupied Bishop, on Facebook:
At the bottom of Broadway, in the heart of the NYC financial district, there's this statue of a bull. It's become iconic for the over-hormoned culture on Wall Street. I attended clown training last night and this is one of the results...

Oh no! You clowns are under arrest for attacking our national idol, the Golden Calf - er - Brazen Bull of Wall Street.

UPDATE: Read George's latest post at his blog, titled 'A Lenten Return for Occupy'.

Thursday, December 29, 2011


From George Packard at Occupied Bishop:
I had another interview with Thom Hartmann....

All to say--as I mention during the interview--that when I was on top of that ladder at the Duarte property and about to take that plunge into trespassing things all got very clear. Our dear Church is being re-formed whether we like it or not. It is just exciting!

Blase Bonpane, Director of the Office of the America & Retired Episcopal Bishop George Packard join Thom Hartmann....

Saturday, December 17, 2011


From Bishop George Packard this morning at Occupied Bishop:
Brook and I travel down to Duarte in a few minutes and what awaits us I do not know. I do know that for me and the OWS I know no violence is intended, only peaceful disobedience if it comes to that. You can follow the live stream from noon to five on WBAI radio.

And speaking of "coming to that" I am still baffled that the Episcopal Church of which I have been a member all my life could not--through Trinity--find some way to embrace these thousands of young people in our very diminishing ranks. (Every year for the last five years we have lost 14,000 members.) Just as we pioneered an awareness of the full membership for the LBGT community what's happening here? How hard would it have been for Trinity to convene legal counsel and say, "Give us some options so that a charter could be granted over the winter months?"

I had proposed that to the Rector and I still think it was a solution. Occupy Wall Street gets a home over the winter (one that would offer food for the Homeless and a clinic--truly bring alive dead space) and Trinity would have the assurance that the lease would return to them safe and sound come Spring. Everybody wins.

Which brings me to Archbishop Tutu's second statement. I see no conflict in anything he said with the first statement, really. As I've said to my Occupy friends, "Let's not delude ourselves in thinking the Archbishop would give you permission to break the law. However, he more than anyone knows what creative tension is brought to a cause for justice when you do." His first statement includes a plea for Trinity not to arrest. But the phrase in his statement--I can only assume it was Trinity which portrayed this to him--was that "their door to negotiation was always open."

Readers, that is plainly not true. Even when Occupy tried over the past three weeks to discuss other prophetic alternatives there was no answer. And that condition continues as we board transportation for Duarte Park now.
From Brook Packard in the comments at the Episcopal Café:
The irony that the church traditionally chants the O Wisdom Antiphon on December 17th is not lost on many.

Trinity's handling of this over the past 3 weeks has been a stunning exercise in assumption and rigidity. It has given OWS things OWS neither asked for or really needed. Having had the privilege of getting to know a core group of this "leaderless yet leaderful" (Cornel West) movement I can tell you they are not in need of pastoral care. OWS's structure is more like church than any parish I know.

The one thing this movement needs desperately is a home. And Trinity -with holdings of over 10 billion dollars-can provide that easily.

OWS has requested repeatedly for meetings with Trinity. Had the leadership stepped forward and negotiated OWS- a movement essential to the discussion of income inequality and a true democracy-could be supported in valid way rather than the cosmetic PR-oriented ways Trinity has concocted.

The irresponsibility of the misleading comments of Katharine Jefferts Schori and Mark Sisk indicate how out of touch The Episcopal Church has become and why it has lost one-third of its membership in a decade. Reading the bishops statements one hears the sound of a few more nails in TEC's coffin. It is limited for Jefferts-Schori and Sisk to parrot Trinity's talking points without looking at the plans or reading Occupy Theory. The past 3 weeks could have been an enormous opportunity for the dying TEC and Trinity to embrace the wind of passion and commitment OWS has brought with them.

My husband, Bishop George Packard will join the occupation of what is a "dead zone" in lower Manhattan. Of that I am enormously proud in the best sense of the word. OWS has plans to make this space a garden, to use it as a home for discussion of the occupy principles, and for actions that include occupying foreclosed homes for homeless families. The institutional church will be left behind. Although cynically, I suspect there will be some sort of OWS Lenten study published next year.

I pray that Trinity has a change of heart and opens the gates tomorrow. If not, I pray the NYPD will not be overly zealous with their clubs, sprays, and zip cuffs.

As for the bishops' comments...well, with 20,000 of us leaving TEC each year, is anyone really listening?

Posted by Brook Packard | December 16, 2011 7:18 PM
The post and comment speak for themselves. Pray for the the protestors and the law enforcement officers as they meet at Duarte Square.

UPDATE: Tweets say that Bishop Packard and a priest were arrested. The man in purple this TwitPic looks like the bishop.

UPDATE 2: Jim Naughton posted the picture below at The Lead of Bishop George Packard and the Rev. John Merz as they were arrested this afternoon at Duarte Square.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


From the comments at Occupied Bishop, the blog of Bishop George E. Packard.

Tim Schreier has left a new comment on the post "Trinity's Compassion":
As one of the reporters/photographers arrested at Duarte Square last month, I have some very mixed thoughts about the role of Trinity Church in Occupy Wall Street. These thoughts led me to penning a letter to Father Cooper urging him to reconsider prosecuting (not necessarily me) but the people who were caught up in the middle of Duarte Square Interfaith service.

It was a cold Tuesday morning. Zuccotti Park had been cleared only hours before. The OWS people had walked up to Duarte Square seeking a place to count heads, regroup and shelter from the chaos of the early morning raid. Many people had scattered, many arrested, some left wandering the streets of Lower Manhattan. They need sanctuary. They chose Duarte Square. An Interfaith service had been arranged with Catholic, Episcopal, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist and other representatives.

After the service some had chosen to go over a wall. For some reason, someone had cut the chain link fence, why? I do not know, as there was an open gate too. The police chose to pen the people in this area and offered no warning of arrests. They moved in on force.

This caused me a crisis in faith. A crisis I took to my neighborhood church. They had conversations with Father Cooper. The bottom line is that Father Cooper and Trinity are listening to the wishes of the Vestry. A wealthy Vestry. People from the finance community, one person who works every day with Mayor Bloomberg. People who are seemingly in direct opposition of the general nature of Occupy Wall Street.

My personal conflict is in the teaching of Christ and Trinity's reaction. What would Matthew say to this? Trinity Real Estate is one of, if not the, largest single land owner in Manhattan. Duarte Square is a gravel lot and quite frankly an eye sore in my neighborhood. It's stated intention is to bring art and thought to the community. Trinity has fortified this area since that Tuesday with additional chain linked fencing and a police van 24/7.

I feel sorry for Father Cooper. Truly I do. He is caught between the teaching of Christ and the wishes of his Vestry. Trinity could choose to offer a sanctuary for peaceful gathering. A place for discussion. But it seems that they are insisting on further isolating themselves as if to pretend to pay empathy while appeasing it's mighty Vestry.

Occupy Wall Street has given the United States a gift. It is a living and breathing civics lesson, not only for the adult citizens of our nation but for the Children who are the future of our world. It is a clear example that the world is getting smaller and smaller in thought, word and deed. We, as a nation, hail the protests in Egypt, Tunisia, Moscow, Greece but when it happens on our soil, we turn the other cheek. Occupy Wall Street has opened our dialogue. No longer are we bickering over birth certificates, death panels and other non-sense, we are talking about civil justice, economic justice, immigration justice, taxation justice, health justice... "99%" and "1%" are a part of our collective vernacular. Voices are being heard.

I find it odd that Trinity would want to sit this moment out. If ever there was a case to be made for the importance of the teachings of Christ, this is certainly one of them. Trinity Wall Street can hide behind it's press releases but the rubber hits the road when actions speak and words are silent. Just consult Matthew.
Tim Schreier
Soho, NYC
Tim Schreier's comment speaks for itself.

UPDATE: Schreier is a contributor to the The Local East Village.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


From Bishop George Packard at Occupied Bishop:
I plan to be with the marchers on Saturday (December 17th) not because I don't like and respect the Rector, the staff, and all the work of this historic parish. I believe they are making a profoundly wrong decision in this matter. Certainly they could record what they think is a trespass on the property with a note to the Occupiers but then have the grace to look the other way.
Read the rest at the link.

I don't see the standoff as between the good guys and the bad guys, but I agree that the staff at Trinity come down on the wrong side. I respect and admire Bishop George for his statement that he will be with the marchers.

Monday, December 12, 2011


From Bishop George Packard at Occupied Bishop:
The story of Occupy Wall Street wanting to occupy the Duarte property and Trinity Church--seemingly with arms folded--saying "no way" has all the juiciness of the film, "It's a Wonderful Life." The Rector as the mean Mr. Potter and the Occupiers as George Bailey and the good people of Bedford Falls would be the too-easy castings. Well, discard that rendition because it doesn't work and herein is the real pain of the situation we're in.

Late Saturday night by Fr. Jim Cooper's initiative an impromptu meeting was arranged with the hunger strikers--Brian, Diego, Mallory, and Shae in a quiet place, under a full moon. It was very cold and they talked for over an hour. The Rector and his wife had walked to this location on their own initiative. This is the same couple, Jim and Tay Cooper, I might add, who worked at St. Paul's Chapel--having come up from Florida to do so--in those early, raw days after 9/11.

I'm not saying anymore about this meeting out of respect and privacy for the time they had. But it was a classy thing that the Coopers did to come out a cold night, alone, to meet with these young people in their hunger strike for justice. Keep in mind the point of strikers' action was to convince Trinity to let Occupy Wall Street use land encumbered by Trinity.

It's what happened the next day that I can narrate because with my wife Brook I accompanied the strikers to the 9 AM service at Trinity the next morning. It was Advent III and the rose candle in the Advent wreath was lighted as we all arrived to hear Fr. Cooper preach and Fr. Matt Heyd celebrate. Brook was on one end of the pew and I was on the other--bookending the strikers, orienting them to the liturgy and hoping they might consider ending their fast with the Holy Eucharist. Mind you, all this wouldn't have happened if Fr. Jim and the strikers hadn't connected on such a human level the night before. Nobody was around then just the five of them talking.

Please read Bishop Packard's entire eloquent and moving post titled 'Trinity's Compassion'. The story of Trinity Church and the Occupiers is not over. Waiting, the spirit of Advent.
The word "advent," from the Latin adventus (Greek parousia), means "coming" or "arrival."
H/T to Ann Fontaine at The Lead.

Image of Trinity Church from Wikipedia.