Wednesday, 26 October 2011

St Pauls' Cathedral: Wednesday morning reports

Updated 1 pm Wednesday

According to Episcopal Cafe Ruth Gledhill and Fay Schlesinger in The Times are reporting [subscription only] that Canon Dr. Giles Fraser will resign if the Cathedral moves to evict Occupy London protesters:

…Dr Giles Fraser, who is responsible for the cathedral’s relations with the financial institutions of the City of London, is understood to be prepared to quit should it take legal action against the 200 tents forming an increasingly permanent-looking settlement on its land.

…. A resignation from Dr Fraser would make him a martyr for the anti-capitalist cause and prove hugely embarrassing to the cathedral and the Church. If the cathedral does not try to oust the protesters, however, it will be forced into the humiliating position of reopening with the tents still in place, or remaining closed for months — putting events such as the Remembrance Day services at risk and losing the cathedral about £16,000 a day in tourist revenue.

Update The BBC reports that Giles Fraser’s resignation threat relates to “use of force” rather than the taking of legal action to remove the protestors.

Telegraph St Paul’s Cathedral protest: Blitz landmark closed because you might trip over guy rope by Victoria Ward, Richard Alleyne and Tim Ross

At the height of the Blitz, the relentless pounding of London by Luftwaffe bombers forced St Paul’s Cathedral to close its doors for a total of four days.

But today (Weds) health and safety fears about people tripping over tent guy ropes and blocked emergency exits have achieved what Hitler did not, and shut it for a fifth day.

The cathedral has been criticised after it released a full list of the health and safety concerns that has been used as justification for closing it for the longest time in living memory.

Mark Field, Tory MP for Cities of London and Westminster – in which the cathedral sits - said they were “spurious health and safety excuses” and called for them to be ignored.

“There never seemed to be any substance to the health and safety reasons for the closure. It was a nuclear option and it has been a monumental own goal,” he said…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 26 October 2011 at 7:50am BST | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England

["tent guy ropes"? I feel you Brits and we Yanks are being "divided by a common language" again. O_o]

Huzzah for Fr Giles, if true. Imagine, a member of the Establishment of the Established Church who seems to Get It! (y'know, the Gospel that is)

Posted by: JCF on Wednesday, 26 October 2011 at 9:25am BST

Provide water, food and portable toilet facilities to the protesters. And of course, re-open the cathedral!

Posted by: Frank on Wednesday, 26 October 2011 at 11:02am BST

According to Damian Thompson, the Daily Telegraph initiated an investigation and found most of the tents lying empty, a discovery that has infuriated the 'protestors', The sooner the police come in the better if it would lead to the welcome resignation of the 'martyred' Canon. His initial statements did more then anything to lead to the present impasse.

Posted by: John Bowles on Wednesday, 26 October 2011 at 11:50am BST

Why would it invalidate the protest if some people went home to sleep?

Wouldn't it be helpful if people engaged with what the protest is actually about rather than try to ridicule it and malign those protesting?

These tactics say much more about those who refuse to engage than about the member of the movement.

Thank God for Twitter and YouTube to get a real picture of what it's all about.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 26 October 2011 at 12:39pm BST

I can't help but be struck at the difference between St Paul's handling of this situation, and the way the Episcopal churches in New York City have handled this, Trinity Wall Street for example ( A great opportunity to show young people in Britain that the church understands and sympathizes with their problems has been wasted. The dean needs to wake up.

Posted by: Tom Danielson on Wednesday, 26 October 2011 at 12:59pm BST

Has it occurred to the Telegraph that the tents might be empty because the inhabitants are out protesting? Or raising money? Or working at whatever jobs they might have?

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Wednesday, 26 October 2011 at 1:05pm BST

Do the empty tents mirror empty churches?

Posted by: Freddy Crabbe on Wednesday, 26 October 2011 at 5:29pm BST

I agree with Tom Danielson. Trinity Wall street inviting people in to dialogue is what churches should be doing. St Paul's has handled it disastrously. They have missed an opportunity to chair a national debate on a topic of the greatest importance.

Posted by: Simon on Wednesday, 26 October 2011 at 5:57pm BST

'empty tents' ?

My bed-room will (usually / often) be found to be empty during the day too

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Wednesday, 26 October 2011 at 9:56pm BST

Does "John Bowles" write for The Onion or ChristWire? (I keep being reminded of Poe's Law!'s_law)

Posted by: JCF on Wednesday, 26 October 2011 at 10:25pm BST

A critique that highlights the 'fix' the Cathedral has got itself into, first telling the protestors to go on 'health and safety' grounds, but failing to define what the dtails were so the protestors could address them; secondly closing the cathedral when openness and dialogue could have achieved today's decision to re-open before they even closed...

And then the whole impression this gives, along with the continued call to 'go', even when the protestors have co-operated on the health and safety grounds, that the Cathedral is more anxious to align with wealthy neighbours who happen to be its donors, than to allow the protestors to stay and peacefully protest...

This article highlights the impression the Chapter and Bishop have given, and really, as a participant in the camp (albeit simply as a provider of first aid, to meet a human need) and lifelong Anglican I do feel disappointed.

This is not 'rent-a-riot'. These are decent, thoughtful, in many cases gentle people... who simply feel that the banking system, the markets, the hedge funds, the corporates, and the bonuses, and the bail outs (paid for by us, and our children)... need to be called out.

The camp is a sign and symbol of justice and fairness.

So should the Church be. It has not done a good job communicating the undoubted social message of the Christian Gospel in the scramblings of this situation, to "get rid" of people who are calling the problem but (unlike some of the Cathedral's donors) are NOT the problem.

Posted by: Susannah on Wednesday, 26 October 2011 at 11:06pm BST

They could invite the camp of those bearing witness to sleep IN the church on these increasingly cold , wet nights

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Thursday, 27 October 2011 at 12:18am BST

Perhaps Giles Fraser should resign anyway, simply to avoid being tarred with the ineptitude of his colleagues.

Posted by: Malcolm French+ on Thursday, 27 October 2011 at 12:18am BST

I would say the empty tents represent the empty lives of the modern man, constantly caught between the market of the busy street and the hope of a higher being symbolized by the cathedral, which hope becomes a symbol of oppression as it looms over the helpless tents themselves, dwarfing their very significance.


Let's not get into symbolism - it's the arena of prophets and critics, and can easily be turned to mean anything you want it to.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Thursday, 27 October 2011 at 5:00am BST
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.

Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select 'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical, advertising, or other purposes.