Saturday afternoon, Sermon on the Steps at St Paul’s in-the-Camp took place outside the West Door of St Paul’s Cathedral.
Pandora and I got there mid-afternoon, a little after it had started. We found Anglican clergy, Catholic clergy, Christians of all denominations, a Sikh, a Rabbi, a humanist, a Rastafarian.
A canon from Coventry Cathedral told us of the sadness at hearing of the resignation of his friend Giles Fraser who had resigned two days earlier, but he added that the Dean and Chapter were not our enemies, that they were his brother clergy.
A Catholic priest told of a message from the Vatican, a message that strangely was overlooked by the media, that the markets had to be regulated.
Bruce Kent said he had been waiting decades for something like this to happen.
I do not know who said it, it may have been Bruce Kent, it may have been his fellow Catholic priest: You are only strangers and guests on this earth.
All had the same message to convey: Jesus worked with the poor, Jesus would have been here among us, Jesus was here among us.
All were highly critical of St Paul’s closing for a week.
Why was St Paul’s closed?
As we wandered around, Pandora and I could see no health and safety issue requiring St Paul’s to close. The public highway was not blocked, access to St Paul’s was not hindered or obstructed.
We attended evensong, the second day St Paul’s was open. It was a full house.
The tents were in neat orderly lines, the public highway was clear and unobstructed. Indeed walking there we walked side-streets with narrower pavements with traffic thundering by. Every day I encounter cars parked on pavements forcing people out into the road.
The only health and safety issue we encountered was lack of any street lights. Over to you City of London Corporation.
The i on Saturday showed a picture with the heading: visitors pick their way through protest tents at St Paul’s Cathedral. Not true! It showed someone wending their way to the food tent. If it was a visitor trying to enter St Paul’s then they were able to walk through a wall!
The Mail on Saturday claimed Anarchists were taking over. Not true! If any group is taking over and no one is claiming they are, it is Christians.
God moves in mysterious ways. The protest was intended to be outside the Stock Exchange. But things happen. It found itself outside St Paul’s. As a result, Christians have been motivated to join the protest.
Everyone has been very impressed by the Christians who have joined the camp.
We found a very friendly, helpful atmosphere. Pandora helped distribute leaflets.
Last Wednesday and Friday, Flash Evensong organised evensong on the steps of St Paul’s. Saturday Sermon on the Steps. Sunday morning the Bishop of London and the Dean of St Paul’s came and talked to the camp. Sunday afternoon London Quakers organised a service on the steps.
It was sad news to hear of the resignation of Giles Fraser last week. Sad news to hear today of the resignation of the Dean of St Paul’s the Rt Rev Graeme Knowles. No one has called for them to resign. Who is forcing out these senior clergy at St Paul’s?
This goes far beyond St Paul’s. It raises issues far more important than gender, women Bishops, gay clergy. I would urge that the Church of England calls a General Synod as a matter of urgency.
I would urge churches up and down the land to send a delegation to St Paul’s in-the-Camp. Please if possible bring food to donate. To then report back to your congregation and community.
St Paul’s must not back an eviction. Any attempt at eviction will be protected by a ring of prayer.
We are seeing real democracy in action, not the fake democracy of the neo-Gothic House of Horror called Westminster, craven puppets jumping to the tune of the City of London.
The City of London is the last of the Rotten Boroughs. It must be abolished.
During WWII St Paul’s stood as a symbol against Nazi tryranny. There is a famous photo of St Paul’s standing surrounded by London burning. During the Blitz, Sir Winston Churchhill ordered that St Paul’s be saved.
Directors of the FTSE 100 companies awarded themselves an obscene 49% pay increase, their workers a mere 2.5%. Many in the private sector have seen their pay decrease, it is either that or lose your job. In the public sector pay has been frozen.
The Church led the fight to Abolish Slavery. The Church must now lead the fight against the tyranny of the City of London. St Paul’s should once again be a symbol of hope. The clergy must work with the camp. St Paul’s Institute must publish their report on corporate greed.
Note: Special thanks to Pandora for pictures.