Posts Tagged ‘o#ccupylsx’

Cant and hypocrisy of Bristol and Sheffield Cathedrals

January 6, 2012
Bristol Cathedral - Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us

Bristol Cathedral - Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us

The key issue is a theological one … what do we stand for as a Cathedral. Economic justice is the Number One issue in the Bible. — Giles Fraser, former Canon Chancellor St Paul’s Cathedral

One reason many do not like the church in particular and Christianity in general is the appalling cant and hypocrisy. Do as we preach, not as we do.

A religion of the poor and oppressed hijacked by Emperor Constantine to become the official state religion of a military empire. Overnight the oppressed became the oppressors. Religion turned into what it had always been, a tool to control the masses, not a means of liberation and salvation for the masses.

St Paul’s learned the hard way when Occupy London Stock Exchange turned up on their doorstep and St Paul’s decided to close for a week on bogus health and safety grounds. Having learnt the lesson the hard way, the clergy of St Paul’s are now working closely with the camp, having been forced to re-examine the core values of Christianity.

Lessons that have yet to be learnt by the administration at either Bristol Cathedral or Sheffield Cathedral. Both located amidst pockets of acute deprivation.

The Deans of both Cathedrals say they want their grounds back, that it is public space, are threatening eviction.

Are those in occupation not the public? Are they not engaging in wide discourse with the wider public? Have they not shown willingness to engage with the clergy of both cathedrals?

If there is a problem, then why are the clergy not talking to resolve it?

Why is Bristol Cathedral working in lockstep with the local council to mount an eviction? Since when has a local council represented local people, let alone acted for local people?

Sheffield Cathedral, a place for all people, unless you happen to be living in a tent as a protester, then pick up your tent and depart.

It is even claimed the camps are not making a difference. Jeremy Paxman made a similar crass comment on Newsnight two nights ago in his dumb preamble prior to an excellent interview with Giles Fraser, former Canon Chancellor at St Paul’s, when he said nothing has been achieved as it has not changed capitalism.

Nothing has changed?

Would Giles Fraser have been on Newsnight two nights ago? Would David Cameron yesterday have been saying action has to be taken against corporate tax dodgers? Would the issues raised by UK Uncut have been on Newsnight last night?

The entire political landscape has changed. The only reasons these issues of social justice and tax avoidance are being raised at all is thanks to St Paul’s in-the-Camp and the numerous camps across the country including Occupy Bristol and Occupy Sheffield and UK Uncut targeting tax dodgers like Sir Philip Green and Vodafone.

As Giles Fraser said two nights ago on Newsnight, minor issues of inconvenience in the greater realm of things are far less important than the issues being raised, issues which go to the core of Christianity and why churches like St Paul’s and our great cathedrals were built.

Giles Fraser was preceded by an odious woman from the Church of England General Synod, lacking in grace and lacking any understanding of the message of Jesus. People like her give all Christians a bad name.

College Green update
Sheffield Cathedral Media Release: Occupy Sheffield 5 January 2012
Occupy the New year!
The Occupation Continues

Protest the dominant theme of 2011

December 30, 2011
St Paul's in-the-camp Time Out picture of the year 2011

St Paul's in-the-camp Time Out picture of the year 2011

here to stay

here to stay

root out usury

root out usury

Christmas Bishop of London at St Paul's in-the-Camp

Christmas Bishop of London at St Paul's in-the-Camp

As 2011 draws to a close, Occupy and Arab Spring were the defining moments. Historians will note the date when one world changed to another, no longer were ordinary people prepared to be kicked around by corrupt politicians in the pocket of Big Businesses.

Strictly speaking the Arab Spring started in Tunisia as 2010 drew to a close, but it really took off in Tahrir Square at the beginning of the year. Mubarak has gone but the job is not yet finished, the ruling military elite has yet to be toppled. In Libya a job well done, but unfortunately much blood was shed. In Syria, work in progress, Assad has a simple choice, hand himself over to the ICC or leave with a bullet in the head. In Yemen, unfinished businesses. In Saudi Arabia the corrupt House of Saud has yet to be toppled or the Mullahs and Ayatollahs in Iran.

Syria troops ‘clash with Damascus activists’

Occupy started in Spain when the young unemployed occupied the centre of Madrid. It quickly spread to New York, then around the world. Brutal crackdowns in the US. In the UK St Paul’s in-the-Camp has spread to an estimated 60 camps around the country. Contrary to the smear stories in the media, it never was the camp v St Paul’s and the clergy are working closely with the camp. St Paul’s in-the-Camp has revitalised the church, made them recognise the core values of Christianity. Contrary to smears in the media, church attendance up not down.

Freedom to protest
St Paul’s plans for lasting legacy of Occupy protest
Archbishop of Wales urges church to ‘get hands dirty’ in the fight against poverty and injustice
The origins of Christmas
The Nativity of Our Lord
Attendances prove Christmas surprise

On Christmas day the Bishop of London delivered a box of chocolates to the camp outside St Paul’s. The year will end with a reading of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol at 6pm this evening on the steps of St Paul’s.

Protesters celebrate Christmas, as judge postpones decision
An Occupy reading of Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’
Occupy London presents a reading of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol – 6pm Friday 30 December at the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral
Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol especially adapted for Occupy London
New Year’s Eve Weekend at Occupy London – Make it count!

As Dickens’ bicentennial approaches, it seems only fitting for Occupy London to stage a public reading of A Christmas Carol at St Paul’s Cathedral. Dickens was compelled to write A Christmas Carol out of a strong desire to comment on the enormous gap between the rich and poor in Victorian Britain. It is a similar strength of conviction that has motivated the growth of the Occupy movement to work to transform the growing social, economic and political injustices of our time. As Giles Fraser, former Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral said:

Christmas is the most political of the Church’s festivals … all politics is about people, and without a fundamental sympathy for the plight of other human beings, and in particular for the dispossessed, no political movement for social change is ever going to capture the heart. For Dickens, Christmas was the emotional centre of the big society. Peace on earth and goodwill to all.

Arab Spring and Occupy have become key words and phrases of 2011. St Paul’s in-the-Camp picture of the year for Time Out. Time Magazine proclaimed this year’s Person of the Year to be “the Protester”. Five of the Top 10 Most Commented Stories this year in the New York Times were about Occupy wall Street!

New words: the official* glossary of 2011
Best of 2011: pictures of the year – Occupy London camp
The Protester

In Leeds, when the unaccountable town council announced £90 million cuts protesters stormed the council chamber, then Occupy Leeds arrived.

2011: when year of global protests became local in Leeds
Quiet in the August troubles; but Occupy looks here to stay

UK Uncut has forced tax dodging up the political agenda. A damning report on HMRC by a House of Commons Select Committee. The Head of HMRC forced to resign, with effect next year. UK Uncut and Occupy London Stock Exchange have exposed the City of London as one of the few remaining Rotten Boroughs.

The tax haven in the heart of Britain

Who would have thought Russians would have taken to the streets in their tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands to call for democratic accountability and to call upon Vladimir Putin to go?

Not all good news.

There has been coups in Greece and Italy. Italy no longer has a democratically elected government, it has a government put in place by EU and German bankers. A government to serve the banks and EU not the people of Italy. In Greece the government is acting for the EU and bankers not the Greek people.

Ryanair refused to allow a passenger on his way home for Christmas to board a flight to Malaga. Hints of terrorism. Yet one more reason to boycott Ryanair.

Occupy protester ‘banned’ from flight home for Christmas

Iraq is descending into Hell.

The Truth as Iraq descends into Hell

Occupy has inspired poetry.

Jesus was born in an empty building
Occupy
Oh St Pauls, why?

For Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho 2011 was a very good year, his latest book, the biographical Aleph released last year in Brazil, shot straight to No 1 in every country published. The noticeable exception was in the UK thanks to High Street bookshop chain Waterstone’s deliberately choosing not to put Aleph on display.

What a year!

As 2011 draws to a close there is still much unfinished business. The list is long, libraries closures, cuts in public services, Welfare to Work programmes, privatisation of the health service …

How to help disabled people fight the welfare reform bill

I will give but one example.

Lincoln City Council has decided to put a heritage site, The Lawn, up for sale. Set in a 8 acre site, this museum complex was a pioneering mental hospital, it now houses the Sir Joseph Banks Conservatory. Sir Joseph Banks was chief scientific officer on the Endeavour, established Kew gardens, President of the Royal Society. The Lawn is the ideal site for Occupy Lincoln.

Not for Sale! Hands off our Lawn!

As we head into 2012, the fight goes on …

Happy New Year!

Jesus was born in an empty building

December 24, 2011

Brilliant poetry reading on the life of Jesus at St Paul’s in-the-Camp.

Jesus was a protester by Catherine Brogan.

For Lina to bring a smile to her face.

Top story SPOT – a poetry paper (Friday 24 December 2011).

Freedom to protest

December 19, 2011
Egyptian army army beats woman

Egyptian army army beats woman

police outside topshop

police outside topshop

Father Nathan Monk removed from Council Chamber for raising free speech

Father Nathan Monk removed from Council Chamber for raising free speech

We have the freedom to protest.

Not it seems if you live in Syria or Egypt.

Not in Syria where thousands have been killed for daring to challenge the corrupt President Assad.

Not in Egypt where a US-backed military junta rules. For three days military and security thugs have been attacking peaceful protesters who are calling for the military junta to be overthrown, rocks have been dropped from buildings, people beaten, live rounds fired.

Egypt: Army thugs attack protesters
A third day of violence in Tahrir Square

Not in England.

People gave their lives in WWII to fight for freedom. That included freedom to protest.

At the weekend UK Uncut targeted tax dodgers Vodafone and Sir Philip Green (owner of Arcadia group which includes Top Shop). At least six people were arrested.

Press release: UK Uncut to shut down high street tax dodgers this Saturday 17th December

One guy who had only just arrived and had managed two minutes of chanting before being bundled away by two Top Shop Security thugs who pinned his arms behind his back, handed him to the police who promptly arrested him and threw him in the cells where he languished for several hours.

Guest post: Why are the police protecting Philip Green? Thoughts from a police cell

If nothing else he has grounds for assault by the two Top Shop security thugs. He can also file a complaint to have their licence to operate in security withdrawn.

People did not lay down their lives so scum bag filthy rich scroungers could rip off the public.

If a single Mum struggling to make ends meet does a few hours in the local pub she is pilloried and called a scrounger.

The camp outside St Paul’s is facing eviction.

Not it seems in the US.

We have seen across the US peaceful demonstrators savagely beaten by the police.

Paramilitary policing and police brutality from Seattle to Occupy Wall Street

Father Nathan Monk tells the Pensacola City Council, “We have the right to redress our government without fear of being arrested,” and gets nearly arrested! He was objecting to the fact people speaking on behalf of the homeless were ejected from the council chamber because it was not liked what they said. He finds he is treated the same way.

Council urges civility, threatens priest with police removal

Free speech!

Top Story OccupyWallStreet (Tuesday 20 December 2011)!

Bank of Ideas and St Paul’s in-the-Camp linked to terrorist groups

December 4, 2011
letter from City of London Police terrorist alert

letter from City of London Police terrorist alert

A leaked letter, not known if true or a fake, a briefing on terrorist activities from the City of London Police to businesses in the City of London (though I daresay it does not go to the local coffee shops) links Bank of Ideas and Occupy London Stock Exchange with proscribed terrorist groups such as the Columbian FARC and Al-Qaeda.

If nothing else this shines a spotlight on the police mindset, anyone calling for democratic change and a fairer society is automatically seen as a terrorist. This one assumes is then used to justify paramilitray policing as though dealing with a real terrorist threat.

Businesses are warned, again one assumes not your local coffee shops, to be on the alert for filming of buildings and to in turn film those carrying out the filming.

Maybe we should all go out with our cameras and throw a bit of grit into the wheels of what is becoming increasingly a police state.

Are the clergy at St Paul’s who are working with the camp now all classed as terrorists? Or maybe they are designated Known Associates of Terrorists.

We all have a right to be concerned. In the non-existent Ricin plot, the case against the defendants was fabricated.

Ricin the terror plot that never was

Assuming we still have a democratically functioning Parliament (which is debatable), questions must be asked.

Portable Berlin Wall
London to host Bejing-style Olympics for 2012
Paramilitary policing and police brutality from Seattle to Occupy Wall Street
Even in Churches, Wall Street Protesters Can’t Escape Watch of Police

We got it wrong admit St Paul’s

November 3, 2011
Dean of St Paul's and Bishop of London at St Paul's in-the-Camp

Dean of St Paul's and Bishop of London at St Paul's in-the-Camp

The dean and chapter were clearly wrongly advised and I don’t know why they took the decision to close the cathedral – some of my clergy were down there doing flash mob evening services among the tents. — Right Rev Pete Broadbent, Bishop of Willesden

The symbolism of the closed door was the wrong symbol. — Richard Chartres, Bishop of London

All Saints be praised! Clergy at St Paul’s Cathedral handing leaflets to Occupy London Stock Exchange inviting them to All Souls Durufle requiem at 5pm. — Ruth Gledhill

People want to think about finance “in the context of ethics and morality and God. — Bishop of London Dr Richard Chartres

The church shouldn’t just be supporting this, it should be part of it. — David Jennings, canon theologian at Leicester Cathedral

God works in mysterious ways. One path is blocked, another opens. Things happen.

Occupy London Stock Exchange had not intended to camp outside St Paul’s.

Contrary to the nonsense in the mainstream media, there is not a conflict between the camp and St Paul’s and never was.

Why was St Paul’s closed for a week? No one knows. The best that can be said is that they were ill-advised.

If you are in a hole, stop digging.

The clergy at St Paul’s were advised they could not talk to the camp because of impending legal action against the camp.

The Bishop of London and the clergy at St Paul’s had the good grace and humility to admit they were wrong. They suspended their legal action. The Bishop led the clergy out of St Paul’s and into the camp to cheers from the camp.

Yesterday the clergy were in the camp, invitations were issued to attend All Souls Durufle requiem that evening.

Once St Paul’s had made their decision to suspend legal action, the City of London suspended their legal action too. Not only that, they were in the camp talking to people.

As I think it was Churchill who said: jaw jaw is always better than war war.

A group has been formed headed by Ken Costa, a former top investment banker, with the aim of “reconnecting the financial with the ethical”. This will also involve Giles Fraser, the Canon Chancellor at St Paul’s, who stepped down last week over concerns that the cathedral’s support for eviction could see it complicit in eventual violence. Ken Costa has already visited the camp.

St Paul’s in-the-Camp has energised the wider church like nothing since the Crucifixion and Resurrection.

Clergy have been working in the camp since it was started.

The irony is that St Paul’s initially welcomed the camp, said they were welcome and asked the police to stay away.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has also joined in the call for social justice.

Bishop of London moves to dissociate church from St Paul’s legal action
Big tent church: clerics across England lean on side of the angels
St Paul’s and Corporation of London halt legal action against Occupy camp
Occupy London protesters celebrate after winning eviction battle
Time for us to challenge the idols of high finance
Rowan Williams: St Paul’s protest has ‘triggered awareness’
Archbishop of Canterbury backs new finance tax

Sermon on the Steps at St Paul’s in-the-Camp

October 31, 2011
Revd Dr Kevin Snyman

Revd Dr Kevin Snyman

Canon Paul Oestreicher  of Coventry Cathedral

Canon Paul Oestreicher of Coventry Cathedral

here to stay

here to stay

root out usury

root out usury

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.

Evensong at St Paul’s

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.

Flash Evensong at St Paul’s-in-the-Camp

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?

Resignation of the Dean of 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.