Christians prepare for night-time ring of prayer at Occupy eviction

By staff writers
22 Feb 2012

Christians are continuing plans for a ring of prayer at the eviction of Occupy London Stock Exchange, even if the bailiffs are sent in at night-time. The Court of Appeal today (22 February) ruled in favour of the eviction of the camp, meaning it could now take place at any time.

Occupy London Stock Exchange are meeting this evening to consider their response to the ruling. They will discuss the options of leaving voluntarily, or nonviolently resisting eviction.

They have expressed disappointment that the City of London Corporation have refused to rule out an eviction during the night. Earlier in the year, the Bank of Ideas was evicted shortly after midnight. There were widespread accusations of violence by bailiffs.

Christianity Uncut say that they will form a ring of prayer at the camp if the occupiers decide not to leave and a forced eviction goes ahead. They say they have receieved a very positive response to the idea so far, and that participants in a ring of prayer will be there as guests of the camp.

It is likely to be a multifaith event, as people of other faiths have pledged to join Christians in prayer, meditation or worship. Others have said that they will be unable to join the ring of prayer in person but that they will pray simultaneously at home or work.

Supporters have sent their phone numbers and email addresses to Christianity Uncut, who will contact them by email and text message as soon as the hear from the camp that eviction is about to happen. Over 300 people have signed up to join the ring of prayer, and many have said they are prepared to do so at night.

Christianity Uncut are still appealing for supporters to email their mobile phone numbers and/or email addresses if they wish to be notified when the eviction is about to happen.

In a statement this afternoon, Christianity Uncut said that the Corporation seem to "have no shame in attempting to deter media coverage by carrying out their violence in darkness. In reality, both the light and the media interest are likely to be sufficient to ensure that the public see the truth."

In an email to supporters, the group suggested that "The Corporation may be hoping that a night-time eviction will reduce both the size and the visibility of the ring of prayer".

They added, "But even a relatively small number of people praying during the eviction will be a significant witness to the power of God's love. This is a subtle but stronger power than the powers of money, markets and violence on which the City of London relies. "

Meanwhile, the Chapter of St Paul's Cathedral have replied to a letter by clergy, theologians and commentators, who called on them to oppose forcible eviction of the camp. The letter was initiated by the group Church Peace and supported and promoted by Ekklesia.

In his reply, Michael Colclough, Canon Pastor of the cathedral, says that he and his colleagues are continuing to engage with the Occupy movement. But they failed to respond to the question about forcible eviction, asking only that all those involved to "behave peacefully in respect of the law".

Christianity Uncut, which is based on principles of active nonviolence, emphasise that the ring of prayer will be entirely peaceful. It is expected that some participants will move if requested to do so by police, but others will refuse, without using violence. Participants have pledged to seek to act in a spirit of love towards all concerned.

Individuals who aim to join the prayer circle include Chris Howson, a Church of England priest based in Bradford and Helen Goodman, the Labour MP for Bishop Auckland. Others planning to join include Symon Hill and Jonathan Bartley, two of the directors of the Christian thinktank Ekklesia.

For more detail on plans for the ring of prayer, please visit the Christianity Uncut website: http://www.christianityuncut.wordpress.com.

[Ekk/1]

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