Thinking Anglicans

News reports on the Dean's resignation

Updated Tuesday 8 am

Church Times
Ed Thornton Monday: Dean of St Paul’s resigns

Evening Standard
Tom Harper, Miranda Bryant and Peter Dominiczak Dean who shut St Paul’s resigns: second cleric quits over ‘tent city’ protest

Peter Walker Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral resigns over Occupy London protest row and later version for tomorrow’s paper St Paul’s Cathedral dean resigns over Occupy London protest row

Riazat Butt Graeme Knowles resignation ‘very sad news’, says archbishop of Canterbury

And later, for tomorrow’s paper St Pauls brought to its knees by confusion and indecision

Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral resigns with ‘great sadness’ over Occupy London protest (video)

Victoria Ward Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral resigns over Occupy London protest

And Rowan Williams warns of ‘urgent issues’ raised by protests as third St Paul’s clergyman resigns

Martin Beckford, Victoria Ward and Richard Alleyne St Paul’s Cathedral protesters: cloistered clerics who can only pray for an end to the crisis and also Timeline of the St Paul’s protest

Jerome Taylor St Paul’s dean quits over protest

St Paul’s Dean Graeme Knowles resigns over protests

St Paul’s protesters urged to remove tents

Channel 4 News St Paul’s dean resigns over Occupy London protest


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….


Dean of St Paul's to resign

Updated 8 pm

press release from St Paul’s Cathedral: Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral announces intention to resign (31 October 2011)

St Paul’s, 31 October 2011 The Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, the Rt Rev Graeme Knowles, announced his intention to resign from his post this afternoon. He made his decision known to the Chapter and to the Bishop of London last night and has removed himself from Cathedral operations with immediate effect. He intended to submit his resignation as Dean of St Paul’s to HM the Queen today.

In the light of the Dean’s resignation, the Chapter has unanimously voted to request the Bishop of London to assist them in providing an independent voice on the ongoing situation at St Paul’s. The Bishop has had no part to date in the discussions and decisions made by Chapter and it is felt his input is now required…

Archbishop of Canterbury issues statement: Archbishop’s statement on resignation of the Dean of St Paul’s

The Archbishop of Canterbury has issued the following statement on the resignation of the Dean of St Paul’s:

“The announcement today of the resignation of the Dean of St Paul’s, coming as it does in the wake of the resignation of Canon Giles Fraser last week, is very sad news. The events of the last couple of weeks have shown very clearly how decisions made in good faith by good people under unusual pressure can have utterly unforeseen and unwelcome consequences, and the clergy of St Paul’s deserve our understanding in these circumstances.

Graeme Knowles has been a very distinguished Dean of St Paul’s, who has done a great deal to strengthen the pastoral and intellectual life of the Cathedral and its involvement in the life of London. He will be much missed, and I wish him and Susan well in whatever lies ahead.”

The Archbishop also said:

“The urgent larger issues raised by the protesters at St Paul’s remain very much on the table and we need – as a Church and as society as a whole – to work to make sure that they are properly addressed.”

Video of the entire press conference, including Q and A, is now available here.


St Paul's Cathedral: Monday morning media reports

See preceding article for Guardian reports. But the front page picture of the Dean of St Paul’s is here.

Victoria Ward Bishop of London branded hypocrite as he backs St Paul’s protest… and eviction

And by way of historical background, Boris Johnson writes about Mellitus, the saint who retook London from barbarians.

Paul Calahan Bishop comes face to face with protesters – but won’t back down

…A spokesman said the Dean and the cathedral are considering “all options”.

As well as a scaled-down tented protest, it is understood St Paul’s is open to the idea of having a tent inside the cathedral “for as long as necessary”.

All sides agree any eviction would only follow months of legal wrangling. Meanwhile, protesters remain adamant they will not be moving.

Yesterday, one protester, Tammy Semede, told the Bishop, Dean and assembled crowd the Church’s stance had caused her doubts about her faith.

“I went for Communion [in the cathedral] and didn’t feel I was able. The Church’s behaviour has affected my faith,” she said.

One piece of good news for St Paul’s was the decision by a cathedral canon to stay. Canon Mark Oakley was said to be considering resigning but yesterday used Twitter to confirm he will not…

From Twitter: @CanonOakley: For clarity – I’m not resigning. I’d like to play my part for the future of St P’s work and witness.

Mail An olive branch for St Paul’s protesters: Using force to clear site is not inevitable, says Bishop

New York Times John F Burns ‘Occupy’ Protest at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London Divides Church


Sunday afternoon updates on St Paul's Cathedral

Updated 11 pm

The Dean and Bishop met some protesters today.

Guardian Lizzy Davies and Haroon Siddique Bishop defends ‘prudent’ legal steps for possible eviction of St Paul’s camp and some pictures here.

BBC St Paul’s protest camp: Bishop calls for no violence (with video)

And earlier, Is the Church inside or outside the establishment?

Channel 4 News this evening’s video report: Evictions ‘prudent’ for protesters

Coming in Monday’s Guardian
Occupy London: silence of once-critical clerics is infuriating but understandable by Riazat Butt
The St Paul’s situation puts Rowan Williams and other bishops who have decried banking practices in an impossible quandary.

She concludes:

…The archbishops’ silence – and that of the wider church – on the crisis at the cathedral is extraordinary, then, given their past remarks. But the truth is they gain nothing from commenting on it.

Siding with protesters would undermine the bishop of London and the dean of St Paul’s, who are already under fire for their actions, and represent an extrajudicial intervention not often seen in the Church of England. To ally themselves with their beleaguered colleagues would make them hypocrites. Those who have aired their views are retired – like Lord Carey – or relatively unknown outside Anglican circles.

However infuriating their reticence, the clerics who bashed the bankers during the global financial meltdown are unlikely to put themselves forward to debate the merits or otherwise of Occupy London, a subject made toxic by the prospect of eviction, but it is inconceivable that they do not have opinions on the events at St Paul’s.

Madeleine Bunting Occupy London is a nursery for the mind

…The critics complain that there are no clearly identified objectives, no manifesto. But this is not some proto-political party. Critics insist there must be leaders or representatives. But the protesters stubbornly refuse to conform to any of the conventions of our political and media culture. That is why the invitation from the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, for representatives to join a panel discussion with business leaders was so inept. The protesters are challenging how the illusion of public debate is created through a stage-managed process that excludes all but a self-regarding elite who are largely in agreement, quibbling only over technocratic detail…


Sunday newspapers on St Paul's Cathedral

Updated again Sunday noon

The Independent on Sunday has a front page splash which leads to two articles:

Brian Brady, Jane Merrick Exclusive: Cover-up at St Paul’s
Clerics suppress report on bankers’ greed to save church embarrassment

Leading article: St Paul’s is a national problem

…Ever since the collapse of many of the world’s leading banks in 2008, the world has been suffused with unease about the ethical basis of a part of capitalism that seemed to reward failure as much as, if not more than, success. When those banks were put back upright with public credit, and seemed to continue to pay their executives excessively, that unease grew. Over the past three years, the feeling has strengthened around the world that, for the financial and corporate elite, the credit crunch, the government bailouts and the recession were a minor blip, and now it is business as usual, with rewards at the very top more extravagant than ever.

The response of political and spiritual leaders has been uncertain. Barack Obama said he was going to cap the bonuses of bankers, and then didn’t. David Cameron was going to limit the earnings of public-sector bosses to 20 times the lowest-paid in their organisation, and then didn’t. Last week, the Prime Minister sounded concerned about the rise in pay of FTSE-100 executives, but his only suggestion for restraining it was that more women should be appointed to corporate boards – which sounded as if he were suggesting that women should continue to be lower paid than men.

Meanwhile, the leaders of the Church of England have responded with all the courage and clarity for which they are renowned. As we report today, the St Paul’s Institute, associated with the cathedral, decided not to publish a report on the City that called for banks to show more responsibility, for fear that it might seem to side with the tent people. Rowan Williams, the leader of the Anglican communion, has been audible in his silence, although, as we also report today, he is believed to be sympathetic to the protesters. Before long, he too will have to admit that this is more than a local issue…

In the Observer

Mark Townsend Occupy London could be protected by Christian ring of prayer
Coalition of Christian groups plan to prevent forcible attempts to remove tents outside St Paul’s Cathedral

Peter Stanford How the church lost a fine chance to redeem itself
By taking the wrong side at St Paul’s, Anglican leaders abandoned the moral high ground.

Editorial: The church’s reaction to the protesters has lacked humanity

…The difficulty is that in its affluence at least, the real world of some of those at the top of the ecclesiastical hierarchy has more in common with those whom the anti-capitalist protesters correctly argue are “rewarded” grossly out of proportion to their efforts. Nay, are rewarded even when criminally at fault and abject failures. While Matthew insisted that you cannot serve both God and Mammon, some still try to give it a good go.

So what are we to make of the events of the past fortnight? Undoubtedly, there has been an awakening. As Andrew Rawnsley reports, while many in the media have been hostile to the protesters, there is perhaps now a change of mood abroad. Ironically, not for a long time has the Bible been so forensically mined, nor the disciples so closely examined.

It reminds us that in the New Testament, at least, the quest for a fairer society, requiring deeds as well as words, was a recurring motif. To be fair, in the Church of England many a fine priest works, unheralded, in impoverished communities, of which, as the protesters may point out, there are sadly still too many.

However, what has been missing from the reaction of many of the senior figures at St Paul’s is an inclination to listen to what the protesters have to say, however inchoate.

How much more productive might it have been to invite several to pitch their tents inside the cathedral, to request that they speak from the pulpit and to stand side by side with the protesters in acknowledging that social capital and the bonds we have with each other are infinitely more valuable than those are that are traded daily.

In 1985, at another seismic moment, the Church of England published a ground-breaking report, “Faith in the City”, that then as now encapsulated a general unease.

It wrote: “Poverty is not only about shortage of money. It is about rights and relationships; about how people are treated and how they regard themselves; about powerlessness, exclusion and loss of dignity.”

Those words still have a resonance. That’s why the handling by St Paul’s of this situation has been far more than a public-relations disaster for the church. It has also given us a glimpse of a frost in a corner of its soul.

Andrew Rawnsley The protesters seem more adult than politicians and plutocrats

…A big mistake is to think that because the protesters tend to be youthful it follows that they should be treated like children. Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London, has made that error by suggesting to the campers that they ought to leave in return for a debate under the dome of St Paul’s – gosh, thanks my Lord Bishop. He further asks them to go on the grounds that: “I am involved in ongoing discussion with City leaders about improving shareholder influence on excessive remuneration.”

I am sure that the bishop is well-meaning, but that is not going to cut it. There has been “ongoing discussion” for years. The result, according to the latest report by Incomes Data Services: Britain’s top executives gave themselves a 49% increase in their salaries, benefits and bonuses in the past year. It does not even occur to the business and financial elite that it might be good old cynical public relations to moderate their greed while so many of their fellow citizens are suffering the consequences of corporate follies…

Sunday Telegraph
Jonathan Wynne-Jones The struggle for St Paul’s
The anti-capitalist protest outside the gates of St Paul’s has sparked a moral battle inside the cathedral.

More from the Observer

Heather Stewart They may be saying it in a kooky way, but the St Paul’s protesters are right
What the Occupy London crew has correctly identified is that the relationship between finance and the rest of the economy is seriously awry.

Victoria Coren I pooh-pooh the pooping pooch

Among the Christmas toys that she proposes is this:

Mini St Paul’s Cathedral

Fully domed and mechanised dolls’ house: at the touch of a button, your children can lock the doors and hose unwanted people off the steps, flooding the carpet. It comes with a Canon Giles Fraser doll that endlessly repeats: “A church should never force people away”; if his head is snapped off, wealthy bishops cackle in the rafters. (Warning: they may not cackle if water comes into contact with the batteries.)


St Paul's Cathedral and the protestors: Bishop of Buckingham interviewed

The Bishop of Buckingham, Alan Wilson, was interviewed on Channel 4 News this evening by Krishnan Guru-Murthy.

Watch it here.


protesters at St Paul's Cathedral: comment from the blogs

This is a selection of those that I read during the past week. Some of them are several days old now, and don’t reflect the latest developments.

Bishop Alan Wilson has written Showing off? shutting shop? showing up?

Catherine Mayer of Time has written London Protestors 1 God 0: Anti-Capitalism Camp Scores PR Victory Against St Paul’s.

Nick Baines wrote Giles Frazzled.

David Allen Green of the New Statesman has written The protesters and the corporation.

Rachel Mann wrote Not Resigned: Giles Fraser and Establishment and earlier The curious case of St Paul’s and the blocked drains.

Sam Norton wrote Occupy London, St Paul’s and the Rebel.

Charlie Peer wrote Occupy London protest at St Paul’s divides Church of England.


Women Bishops – diocesan debate – 29 October

Updated to correct number of abstentions in house of laity
Updated to add texts of the following motions

Bath and Wells diocesan synod debated the women bishops legislation today.

The main motion, in favour of the legislation, was passed in all three houses. Here are the voting figures.

  For Against Abstentions
Bishops 2 0 0
Clergy 52 9 0
Laity 55 10 3

Twitter reports “Following [motion] on Archbishops’ amendment failed Following [motion] encouraging early Code passed”.

Here are the texts of the two following motions.

That this synod [ie the diocesan synod] request the General Synod to debate a motion in the following form:
That this synod [ie the General Synod] call upon the House of Bishops, in exercise of its powers under standing order 60(b), to amend the draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure in the manner proposed by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York at the Revision Stage for the draft Measure.
[defeated 21 votes to 100]

This Synod, supportive of women in the episcopate, urges General Synod to expedite the production of the Code of Practice by the House of Bishops and to take seriously its role in debating and approving the contents with due regard to those who find the consecration of women to the episcopate unacceptable.


St Paul's Cathedral: Saturday news and comment

Evening Standard last night
A loose Canon, his Bishop, the Dean and unholy war at St Paul’s
Nick Curtis on how the creators of BBC2 sitcom rev might have written up the theological storm of the past days…

AN Wilson C of E has lost the plot over the St Paul’s camp
The camp outside St Paul’s Cathedral has been a public relations disaster for the Church of England.

Independent this morning
Jerome Taylor Mystery of Archbishop who didn’t speak for his Church

With the prospect of anti-corporate protesters being forcibly removed from the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral by riot police now almost inevitable, the silence from across the river at Lambeth Palace has been deafening.
So far the Archbishop of Canterbury has kept his head far below the ramparts, choosing not to utter a single word on a deepening public relations disaster for the Established Church…

Paul Cahalan and Jerome Taylor God vs Mammon: Britain takes sides
As St Paul’s reopens its doors, the City of London and the cathedral launch legal actions to evict demonstrators, another clergyman resigns in dismay, David Cameron threatens legislation to ban protest camps – and the Archbishop of Canterbury…says nothing.

Tim Walker Canon Mark Oakley considers his position at St Paul’s cathedral

The Rev Dr Giles Fraser’s resignation as Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s over the cathedral’s muddled response to the demonstrators on its doorstep looks unlikely to be the last.
Mandrake is reliably informed that another senior figure in the hierarchy of St Paul’s, Canon Mark Oakley, its affable Canon Treasurer as well as a well-known author and broadcaster, is this weekend wrestling with his conscience.
“I voted the same way as Giles at Chapter as I couldn’t vote for any course of action that might lead at some point to violent behaviour,” Oakley, 43, tells me.

Lucy Mangan St Paul’s – embrace your new flock
‘When you’re dealing with protesters who bring their own portable loos, what’s the worst that can happen?’

Stephen Bates St Paul’s Cathedral resumes normal service after week of rancour (longer version of yesterday’s report)

Marina Hyde Jesus may be with Occupy London, but St Paul would have sided with health and safety
The cathedral’s namesake was a sucker for authority – as the church is and ever was.

Riazat Butt, Shiv Malik and Sandra Laville St Paul’s showdown: lawyers act to clear Occupy London camp

Lawyers will serve notice on activists camped out around St Paul’s Cathedral as early as Monday, as police also finalise plans to forcibly remove them if senior officers are convinced they are causing disruption…



Tim Stevens, the Bishop of Leicester, writes for the Church Times about bishops in the House of Lords: Bishops are lining up to keep Coalition in check.

Sayeeda Warsi writes for The Telegraph that Britain must be a country where people can be proud of their religion.

Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio asks in The Guardian Would you accept a robot as your priest or vicar?

Also in The Guardian Steven Hepburn asks Why pray for the souls in purgatory?

Christopher Howse writes in The Telegraph about The reason why Leo was Great.

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St Paul's Cathedral: legal action against protesters commences

Updated 4.30 pm

First, the City of London has issued this announcement: City of London Corporation approves court action to remove St Paul’s campsite

Second, there is this announcement from the Dean and Chapter of St Paul’s: Statement from the Dean and Chapter (28 October 2011)

28 October 2011
The Chapter has previously asked the encampment to leave the cathedral precinct in peace. This has not yet happened and so, following the advice of our lawyers, legal action has regrettably become necessary.

The Chapter only takes this step with the greatest reluctance and remains committed to a peaceful solution. At each step of the legal process the Chapter will continue to entreat the protesters to agree to a peaceful solution and, if an injunction is granted, will then be able to discuss with the protesters how to reach this solution.

Theirs is a message that the Chapter has both heard and shares and looks forward to engaging with the protesters to identify how the message may continue to be debated at St Paul’s and acted upon.

According to the latest report from Riazat Butt in Guardian the tents are the key issue:

“If this [Occupy London] were not a camped protest it would constitute a reasonable user of the highway. The City of London Corporation is not seeking to prevent protest but to limit the exact nature and form of protest it has chosen. A 24-hour non-camped protest would be permissible in this location.”

Stephen Bates has a report of the first service in the re-opened building: St Paul’s congregation swells to hundreds for first lunchtime service and you can read the full text of the Homily given by The Dean of St Paul’s at Eucharist, 28 October 2011


Diocese in Europe agrees Women Bishops legislation

Although Europe’s diocesan synod voted on the legislation to allow women to become bishops in June, it is the Bishop’s Council which makes the official decision for the diocese.

The Bishop’s Council has now held its debate, and here are the votes on the main motion in favour of the legislation.

  For Against Abstentions
Bishops 0 2 0
Clergy 10 4 0
Laity 6 3 1

As in all these debates it is the votes in the houses of clergy and laity that count, so Europe has voted in favour of the legislation.

There is a report of the debate on the diocesan website: Diocese in Europe agrees Women Bishops legislation.

This also gives details of a following motion asking for more provision for opponents; voting was 13 in favour, 10 against with 3 abstentions.

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St Paul's Cathedral: more Friday media reports

Updated 10.30 am

Victoria Ward, Jonathan Wynne-Jones and Richard Alleyne Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral resigns in protest at legal action to evict protesters

Victoria Ward George Carey: St Paul’s Cathedral protest damaging Christianity

…It can also be disclosed that a damning report Canon Fraser had been due to publish on Thursday about bankers’ lack of ethics, had been shelved by the cathedral amid concerns that it would only escalate the row…

George Carey The Occupy protest at St Paul’s Cathedral – a parable of our times

Paul Cahalan, Jerome Taylor, Kevin Rawlinson Church shaken to its foundations as row over anti-capitalism protest escalates

Peter Owen-Jones: The Church is now well and truly in the dock

Liam O’Brien: ‘At night, the cold and the bells make sleep impossible’

More material from the Guardian

Sam Jones St Paul’s and Occupy London at odds over reason for cathedral closure

Marina Warner What St Paul’s could learn from Mary, the patron of the Occupy protesters

Steve Bell on Church of England and protest camp at St Paul’s – cartoon

Alexander Chancellor Think the canon who quit St Paul’s is radical? You should have met his predecessor …


St Paul's Cathedral: first Friday media reports

Church Times
Ed Thornton St Paul’s row: Giles Fraser resigns

Giles Fraser Clarity at the heart of the St Paul’s storm

THE reader will, I hope, excuse me if I do not address the complicated issues that currently beset St Paul’s Cathedral. Suffice to say, when you sit in the middle of a storm, and a great deal of misinformation is flying about, you are thrown back on the fundamentals of your faith.

No one ever said that following Jesus would be easy. In fact, as Christians, we are given fair warn­ing that the opposite is likely to be the case. And so it turns out.
But one of the most interesting things about these challenging times is how scripture comes alive. Indeed, I do not remember the Bible ever speaking to me as vividly as it does today. As the saying goes, I don’t read scripture: scripture reads me…

Leader: Wealth and safety: the St Paul’s dilemma

TO GIVE them their due, the Dean and Chapter of St Paul’s knew the reaction they would get when they cited health and safety as the reason for the closure of the cathedral. Their mistake last Friday was to treat this as a normal crisis: make the statement, get the official spokesman lined up, and plan to follow up on the Monday, when senior staff were next available for consultation. From this viewpoint, it did not seem to be a problem that the completed health-and-safety report would not be ready until late on Monday. Unfortunately, and pre­dictably, the story continued to develop throughout the week­end, and, without a robust and detailed defence of the closure, suspicion was allowed to grow that the Chapter had turned against the protesters, concerned more for its lost tourist revenue than for a courageous witness against the evils of capitalism. As a result, when some (not all) of the report was released on Tuesday, it was largely derided…

Riazat Butt, Sandra Laville and Shiv Malik Giles Fraser resignation: ‘I couldn’t face Dale Farm on the steps of St Paul’s

…Forcible eviction looks inevitable, however, with the Metropolitan police taking a keen interest in the escalating crisis.

The land around the cathedral is within the City of London police area but the force is working with the Met to decide how to deal with the encampment.

Amid growing tensions, protesters using Twitter said armed police had entered the camp, as a tent belonging to Kurdish activists was searched. The City of London police said its officers had gone to the camp in response to reports of a firearm.

Bernard Hogan-Howe, the commissioner of the Met, said police were in the last stages of assessing whether to clear the demonstrators under section 14 of the Public Order Act. Under section 14 police can forcefully remove the protesters outside St Paul’s and those gathered in Finsbury Square if they believe the disruption to the public and the people working in the area is “serious”.

The commissioner indicated a judgment on that would come within 48 hours. “Deciding what is serious is what we are in the process of doing,” he told the Metropolitan Police Authority. “We need to have some kind of consensus so we are in the process of asking that question.”

He said discussions were continuing and information was being gathered from shopkeepers, the landowners and other members of the public to assess the level of disruption. Once this work had been done a decision on taking clearance action would be made. The MPA was told by some members that shopkeepers in the area had seen their takings down by 80% since the tented encampment began.

Hogan-Howe said the situation facing the police was complex. “If there is criminality being committed we need to do something about it. And there is some evidence that some of the protesters are leaving at night and coming back during the day. Taken together they have got a legitimate right to protest, they have no legitimate right to commit crimes. That is the complexity of what we are trying to deal with.”

The land was owned by different people, which compounded the issue, Hogan-Howe said. “Either we ignore it and the property owners take some kind of injunctions out, or we use the criminal law, or we use injunctions and the criminal law … that will require careful judgments over the coming days.”

The Home Office refused to say whether the home secretary, Theresa May, or Home Office representatives had been in direct contact with church authorities after suggestions that the government department had put pressure on the church to get protesters evicted…

Stephen Bates Church of England split over St Paul’s handling of Occupy London protest

“It is very hard to take the temperature of the Church of England,” said Paul Handley, editor of the Church Times. “In a poll last week we found 65% of church members believing it was right to welcome the protesters, but there are equally bound to be lots of churchgoers out in the country who think it is right to take a firm hand to them. I suspect whatever people think of the demonstrators though, most will think the church has taken an utterly wrong approach to dealing with the situation. It is such a shame: we have just had our best publicity for ages over Rowan Williams challenging Robert Mugabe to his face and now this comes up and clearly damages the church’s reputation once again.”

Lizzy Davies Occupy London anger after resignation of St Paul’s Cathedral canon

Editorial: In praise of … Giles Fraser

…Now we’re told the cathedral will reopen and the bishop of London, who lives over the occupation, will descend and speak to the protesters on Sunday. That should be fun. By now the whole situation is approaching farce, in which all the players are adding to the spectacle. That is not a dignified position for the cathedral, but one it richly deserves. In the meantime, at least the chapter has proved to a doubting nation that the Church of England can make a fool of itself about a subject which has nothing to do with sex.

More in the morning…


St Paul's Cathedral: Giles Fraser interview

The Guardian has published a lengthy interview with Giles Fraser.

See Alan Rusbridger Canon of St Paul’s ‘unable to reconcile conscience with evicting protest camp’.

And there is a podcast: Guardian Focus podcast: Rev Giles Fraser and the Occupy London camp.


Bishops’ office and working costs published

The 2010 office and working costs of bishops in the Church of England were published today (27 October).

Bishops’ Office and Working Costs for the year ended 31 December 2010

Reports for previous years (back to 2005) are available here.

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St Paul's Cathedral: Thursday reports

Updated again 7.00 pm

St Paul’s chancellor Canon Dr Giles Fraser ‘to resign’ headlined now changed after write-through: St Paul’s protest: Canon Chancellor Giles Fraser quits

St Paul’s Cathedral ‘may reopen’ despite protest camp

Paul Cahalan, Jerome Taylor St Paul’s tries to heal rifts and offers to open its doors

Mark Donne A chauffeur-driven bishop, and a Church that refuses sanctuary

Leading article: More right than wrong in the precincts of St Paul’s

Tweet from @giles_fraser: It is with great regret and sadness that I have handed in my notice at St Paul’s Cathedral.

Statement from St Paul’s Cathedral: Canon Giles Fraser to step down.

27 October 2011

The Reverend Canon Dr Giles Fraser, Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral, has resigned from his post.

Canon Fraser, a former Vicar of Putney who took up his post in June 2009, informed the Dean and Chapter colleagues of his decision today.

The Dean of St Paul’s, The Right Reverend Graeme Knowles, said today: “Giles has brought a unique contribution to the life and ministry of St Paul’s and we will be very sorry to see him go. He has developed the work of the St Paul’s Institute and has raised the profile of our work in the City. We are obviously disappointed that he is not able to continue to his work with Chapter during these challenging days. We will miss his humour and humanity and wish Giles and his family every good wish into the future.”
The post of Canon Chancellor is a Crown appointment. The process to appoint Canon Fraser’s successor will begin shortly.

Guardian St Paul’s Cathedral canon resigns by Shiv Malik and Riazat Butt

…In a short statement to the Guardian, Fraser, who was appointed canon in May 2009, confirmed his resignation, saying: “I resigned because I believe that the chapter has set on a course of action that could mean there will be violence in the name of the church.”

Statement by the Bishop of London: Giles Fraser: a statement from the Bishop of London


A statement by the Bishop of London on the resignation of Giles Fraser.

“I heard, with regret, the news of Giles Fraser’s resignation from the Chapter of St Paul’s this morning and I have now contacted him. His is an important voice in the Church and I have offered to meet him immediately to discuss how we can ensure it continues to be heard.”

Statement by Occupy London: Statement regarding resignation of Reverend Canon Dr Giles Fraser

Guardian Stephen Bates Giles Fraser: St Paul’s jeans and T-shirt wearing cleric

Victoria Ward, and Sarah Rainey St Paul’s Cathedral to reopen as City moves to evict protest camp

Sarah Rainey Dr Giles Fraser resigns from St Paul’s

Sarah Rainey and Victoria Ward Dr Giles Fraser resigns from St Paul’s over ‘violence in the name of the Church’

Evening Standard Tom Harper and Peter Dominiczak St Paul’s Canon blasts church over ‘violent treatment’ of tent protesters

…The Bishop of London said he will meet the protesters on Sunday to invite them to a debate inside the cathedral if they agree to leave the camp…

…It is understood Dr Fraser is not alone in his view among senior colleagues at St Paul’s that enforced removal of demonstrators would be a disaster for the Church.

Dr Fraser quit as the Dean of St Paul’s admitted the crisis engulfing the cathedral was “its most difficult times since the Second World War”.

Church Times Ed Thornton St Paul’s row: Giles Fraser resigns

Guardian Comment is Free Andrew Brown Giles Fraser is never taken in by establishment self-delusion

So much of the church’s energies are taken up in make-believe about its position in society that Fraser is really shocking to anyone used to professional Anglicans.

There was an example of this just this week in the Bishop of London’s statement about the protesters explaining that they could go away now because the grown-ups had taken over: “The St Paul’s Institute has itself focused on the issue of executive pay and I am involved in ongoing discussions with City leaders about improving shareholder influence on excessive remuneration.”

Never mind that the St Paul’s Institute was run by Giles Fraser, who the bishop must have known was about to resign. There is one huge shrieking question about a press release like that: who is it meant to fool? Does anyone really think that the City takes more notice of a bishop than of a genuine popular demonstration? Does anyone in the wider world think that the bishop’s words count for as much as the protesters’ acts, or that they mean anything at all?

Evening Standard Common sense wins with reopening of St Paul’s Dr Richard Chartres, The Bishop of London

It is easy to be cynical about health and safety but it would be naive of the Dean and Chapter, in charge of a tourist attraction visited by thousands each week, to ignore the attached public liability responsibilities.

It is much easier for those looking on to cry, “Ignore the lawyers”, let alone the insurers and the myriad appointed experts who invariably have a “worst case scenario” outlook.

The fact remains that it was unavoidable for the Cathedral to close last week but the Dean, Chapter and staff should be commended for working tirelessly since then to find a way of reopening – and indeed the protesters for readily complying.

Yet it is symptomatic of what the scene outside has become that so much attention remains focused upon what represents a “trip and slip” hazard, a flammable substance or a safe tent configuration.

The debate has also been about whether it is capitalist to own an iPad or buy a Starbucks coffee, or whether a protester should take a break at night.

The Church’s own role in this has now inevitably come under scrutiny. Calls for the camp to disband peacefully have been deliberately interpreted as taking the side of Mammon, which is simply not the case.

The original purpose of the protests, to shine a light on issues such as corporate greed and executive pay, has been all but extinguished – yet these are issues that the St Paul’s Institute has taken to heart and has been engaged in examining.

The time has come to change the setting. Now that St Paul’s can function again, albeit on a limited basis, the cathedral wants to help recapture the serious issues.

If the protesters will disband peacefully, I will join the Dean and Chapter in organising a St Paul’s Institute debate on the real issues here under the Dome.

We will convene a panel from across the political and business spectrum and will invite the protesters to be represented.

The Dean and I will be available on Sunday morning, outside St Paul’s, to listen and engage. Our message will be simple: pack up your tents voluntarily and let us make you heard.

Guardian Riazat Butt Bishop of London offers debate with Occupy protesters if they disband

And another tweet from @giles_fraser: It is completely unfair for people to have a go at my colleagues. They have acted out of principle just as much as I.

Alan Rusbridger Canon of St Paul’s: church cannot answer peaceful protest with violence

Dr Giles Fraser explains why he resigned from St Paul’s video interview with Robert Pigott

St Paul’s Cathedral Canon Chancellor Giles Fraser in profile


St Paul's Cathedral: Wednesday evening reports

Riazat Butt, Sam Jones and James Ball Occupy London protest at St Paul’s faces action from City officials

Riazat Butt, Sam Jones and James Ball St Paul’s Cathedral set to reopen after Occupy London shuffles tents

Patrick Kingsley Occupy London empty tent claims based on ‘rubbish science’

Victoria Ward St Paul’s Cathedral to reopen on Friday despite Occupy London protest camp

Musical flashmob at St Paul’s protest (video)

Press Association
St Paul’s ‘could reopen on Friday’

Legal action mooted over protesters

Press release from St Paul’s Cathedral
Statement from the Dean of St Paul’s (26 October)

26 October 2011

The Dean of St Paul’s, The Right Reverend Graeme Knowles, said tonight that he was optimistic that St Paul’s Cathedral would be able to reopen to the public on Friday afternoon (28 October) following significant changes to the layout of those dwelling in tents outside of the Cathedral which was achieved this afternoon.

“The staff team here have been working flat out with the police, fire brigade and health and safety officers to try to ensure that we have confidence in the safety of our worshippers, visitors and staff which will allow us to reopen.” said Dean Knowles this evening.

“We have wide statutory obligations to ensure the safety of our staff, congregation, visitors and pilgrims and final checks will be made tomorrow. A passageway allowing evacuation procedures to be improved has been created; the kitchen providing food for those in the camp has been moved from close proximity to the building; bicycles chained to the railings have been shifted and a clear pathway restored”, said the Dean tonight.

He added: “We have alternative arrangements in place to safeguard the evacuation of the crypt and floor areas but, for the time being, the galleries and dome will remained closed. Our continued dialogue with the fire brigade, police, and our own fire safety advisors has been encouraging.”

Dean Knowles said that the Chapter would reach a final decision tomorrow on the re-opening: “We will revisit the risk assessment in the light of any overnight developments and subject to us getting the green light we hope to reopen in time for the 1230 Eucharist on Friday to which everyone is welcome.”

On the question of the future of the campsite, the Dean explained: “We reiterate our basic belief in the right to protest as well as requesting that those people living in the tents now leave the site peacefully.”

He added: “We want the site to be fully open to members of the public to have open access over the area as well as for those wanting to visit St. Paul’s. The mission of the cathedral is committed to the Christian Gospel message of justice, dignity and peace. The debate about social justice and economic policy will remain at the heart of the work of the St Paul’s Institute.”

As regards any other action the Dean said “We have been and continue to take legal advice on a range of options including court action. Chapter very much hopes that we will achieve a peaceful solution.”

1 Comment

St Paul's Cathedral: analysis of Health and Safety issues

David Allen Green has published a detailed and lucid analysis of the situation at the New Statesman.

Read it in full at Closing the doors at St Paul’s Cathedral.

How seriously is the Cathedral taking health and safety concerns?

…The worrying refusal by the Cathedral to share the details of its supposed health and safety concerns with the protesters after Wednesday would seem to undermine the sincerity of its reliance on those concerns to close the Cathedral. Whatever one’s views as to the merits of the protesters, there can be no good reason for these details not to be shared, especially as it is claimed that the health and safety concerns are so serious as to mean that the Cathedral should be closed down completely.

This is a particularly depressing notion, given the Dean said expressly that the decision was taken “because of the legal requirements placed upon us by fire, health and safety issues”. So I asked the Cathedral for a full description of these health and safety issues, and this list was provided in response:

  • Presence of unknown quantities of flammable liquids.
  • Smoking/drinking within the tented areas.
  • Potential gas safety within the catering facility.
  • Compromised free fire exits, usually open now closed but manned.
  • Slips, trips and falls exacerbated at night with cover of darkness.
  • Due to the darkness issues on North side, use of naked flame lighting.
  • Sleeping risk within the tented area, if fire should break out.
  • Public heath issues
    a Sanitation
    b Food hygiene
    c Rodent/pest issue
  • The issues of rope/guy-lines attached to trees, bollards, lamp standards possibly causing injury to face/neck/upper limbs and trips on low level guy-lines.
  • VIP security due to camp protest.
  • All of the above are representative of the possible injury to life and limb.

This prompts an obvious question, and so I asked the Cathedral what it was actually doing now to manage these risks, other than closing the Cathedral. What had it done since the closure, if it thought these risks were serious? But the Cathedral was not able to say.

I asked who compiled this list of issues. The vague response was “health and safety advisers”. Who were these advisers? The Cathedral would not say. What are their qualifications and expertise? The Cathedral would not say. Are they external or internal? The Cathedral would not say…

And there is a great deal more, including a very full response by the protesters. Read it all.