St Paul’s Suspends Legal Action Against Protest Camp
St Paul’s, 1 November 2011 (All Saints Day)
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.”