LONDON & EDINBURGH, January 17, 2012: The beliefs and values thinktank Ekklesia is today drawing attention to a quiet u-turn by St Pauls Cathedral, which has joined in the moves to evict the Occupy Protest Camp.
It comes as Christians and those of other faiths prepare to defend the camp against imminent eviction with a 'ring of prayer', in the event of forced removal by baliffs or police.
Labour MP Helen Goodman and Church of England priest Chris Howson are among those who have declared their intention to join the ring of prayer. People of all faiths have been invited to participate.
Christianity Uncut - a network of Christians campaigning against the UK governments' cuts – has also launched an online pledge for people wishing to join the ring of prayer.
A court ruling on the City of London's request for eviction is expected imminently. St Paul's Cathedral has chosen to offer support to the City of London's attempt to have the camp evicted. Senior cathedral staff gave evidence in favour of the City's legal action.
Over twenty Christian organisations have already signed a statement of solidarity with Occupy London Stock Exchange.
Symon Hill, associate director of Ekklesia, who plans to join the ring of prayer, said:
“In recent months, the public have seen starkly different images of Christianity. On the one hand, there is the image of a church institution concerned with order and routine. On the other hand, there are Christians backing 'Occupy' and planning a ring of prayer. They are witnessing to an understanding of Christianity that does not seek to impose power on others but to stand alongside those who are resisting the injustices of the powerful.
“Despite the good work that is no doubt done by St Paul's Cathedral, many Christians will be disappointed that some seem more concerned with the inconvenience of a campsite than with the much greater damage done by the City of London and global financial systems.”
The pledge made by those committed to joining a ring of prayer reads as follows:
“I stand in solidarity with people of all religions and none who are resisting economic injustice with active nonviolence. In the event of Occupy London Stock Exchange being evicted, I intend to go to the camp to worship and to join with others in forming a ring of prayer. I will seek to act in a spirit of love towards all concerned.”
Supporters of the ring of prayer are showing their support on Twitter, by using the hashtag #Mark1115, in reference to Jesus' nonviolent direct action in the Jerusalem Temple.
Notes to editors:
1. Founded in 2001, Ekklesia examines politics, values and beliefs in a changing world, from a Christian perspective in dialogue with others. More information here: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/about
2. The pledge for those wishing to join the ring of prayer can be found at http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/ring-of-prayer-at-eviction-of-ocupy-....
3. Further comment: Symon Hill (symon DOT hill AT ekklesia DOT co DOT uk)