Thinking Anglicans

St Paul's must change direction

Andrew Brown has written at Cif belief St Paul’s must change direction.
After the resignation of its dean, St Paul’s must negotiate a peaceful settlement with the protesters, as quickly as possible.

The resignation of the dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, Graeme Knowles, has landed responsibility for the crisis with the bishop of London, Richard Chartres. If the dean’s sacrifice is not to be in vain, the bishop must reverse his policy within the next 24 hours, and preferably by tomorrow morning. The alternatives are very much worse.

The bishop has a simple choice. Either he plans to throw all the protesters out, or he acquiesces in the presence of some sort of camp right outside his front door for the indefinite future. The lawyers, and perhaps the health-and-safety people, believe he must expel the protesters. The rest of the church sees clearly that this would be wrong in principle, and hugely damaging to the reputation of Christianity.

There’s no tidy way out of this, but there is a wrong one, which is to continue digging the grave Knowles had with such effort prepared for the Church of England’s reputation. The bishop will have to defy his own lawyers and negotiate a peaceful settlement with the protesters. Since he must do this, he had best do it at once. To wait for a week and then change his mind would be nearly as disastrous as settling for expulsion….

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MarkBrunsonErika BakerevensongjunkieAndyRichard Ashby Recent comment authors
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Susannah
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Susannah

May I respectfully offer a 10-step proposal to turn around the sorry state of affairs that has come to pass through the stand-off between Cathedral and protestors, though both sides can find common ground? My proposals would be phrased with introductory comments along the lines of “we have met and we have listened.” And also, “It has never been the intent or desire of the Cathedral to get to a stage where physical force had to be used on peaceful demonstrators, and we now want to categorically wipe the slate clean, and find common ground, especially over ethics and the… Read more »

Susannah
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Susannah

10 ways for St Paul’s to turn around their tarnished reputation: (contd from previous post…)

1. Immediately welcome the protestors to continue highlighting the issues of financial irresponsibility and the price paid by the poor.
2. Welcome the protestors to remain, on cathedral ground, in negotiated numbers of tents.
3. Immediately publish the suppressed report which is critical of practices in the finance sector.
4. Re-instate Giles Goddard as Canon Chancellor as his position has been vindicated.
5. Invite the protestors to install up to three tents INSIDE the cathedral as a symbolic presence and act of solidarity.

(contd in next post…)

Susannah
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Susannah

10 ways for St Paul’s to turn around their tarnished reputation: (contd from previous post…) 6. Organise a series of public debates, some Christian-led and some not, involving churches throughout the Region to send participants. 7. Provide supplies of soup and sandwiches for protestors and offer indoors first aid facilities and toilet facilities. 8. Order a review of the Cathedral’s dependency on donors from the City, to create clear and transparent guidelines and accountability. 9. Arrange for clergy to regularly attend protest discussion groups outside, and challenge MPs to do the same. 10. Seek to promote an alliance of voices,… Read more »

Susannah
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Susannah

In my opinion, the Bishop, by taking a radical control over this situation, would find media support (and witness to our faith) hugely turned round, and in my opinion he would demonstrate his own ability to ‘connect’ and ‘be in touch’ and ‘be decisive’ which are qualities of leadership.

Even the ability to listen and change course, actually, communicates humility rather than arrogance. Overnight, St Pauls would find itself portrayed in an entirely different light.

I hope this helps.

Susannah

Richard Ashby
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Richard Ashby

Judging by the statement at the news conference which I have just seen, he is determined to throw them out. God help St Paul’s.

Wilf
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Wilf

Nice Freudian slip from Susannah there. Giles Goddard would make an admirable Canon Chancellor (although he has only recently moved to his current parish), but for re-instatement it would have to be Giles Fraser.

Susannah
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Susannah

Thank you Wilf, I did indeed mean Giles Fraser. Giles Goddard is my own priest. He is lovely but I think we should keep him at Waterloo 🙂

Richard Ashby
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Richard Ashby

Susannah. Thank you for that. That is exactly what should have happened. The Cathedral could have taken control of the situation right at the beginning. Giles Fraser was right in what he did, asking the police to get away from the building. That was a good beginning since it began to open ways for the cathedral and camp to talk and engage with each other. But that immediately came to a stop, it wasn’t followed through. As a result the Cathedral lost the initiative and has been on the defensive ever since. The threats of legal action and eviction are… Read more »

Andy
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Andy

Here’s someone who pitched his tent in a Cathedral: comment image as an act of public witness.

Andy
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Andy

So who’s left making the strategic decisions in Chapter? Clerical: Dean – Vacancy Canon Pastor – The Right Reverend Michael Colclough, former Area Bp of Kensington Chancellor – Vacancy Treasurer – The Reverend Mark Oakley (interests in faith, poetry & literature; author of The Collage of God) – n.b. staying put Precentor – The Reverend Michael Hampel (interests in music & am dram) Lay: Lay Canon (Finance) – Gavin Ralston (Global Head of Product and leading international asset manager at Schroder Investment Management) Lay Canon (History) – Peter McCullough (leading expert and widely published writer on the religious history of… Read more »

evensongjunkie
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evensongjunkie

Brava Susannah. Too bad it won’t happen because it’s too d@#$ obvious.

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

Martin, I appreciate that the Church had no policy in place for dealing with matters like this and that it was completely surprised by what was developing on its doorstep. That’s still not a real explanation why, at every corner, it appeared to take the wrong decision. The St Paul’s Institute was poised to present a report that is said to be critical of the current economic and financial situation and that appears to be supporting many of the concerns the protesters are voicing. St Paul’s heart already seems to be in the right place. So why did common sense… Read more »

MarkBrunson
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I remembered that too, Andy, and noted no one sicced the police on his little sideshow! I guess wearing purple and being the right sort counts.