The complicated situation with Occupy Wall Street and Trinity Wall Street Episcopal Church
Since the eviction of the Occupy Wall Street protesters from Zuccotti Park in New York City, Trinity Wall Street Episcopal Church has been under pressure from people of faith to open their doors and provide sanctuary to the displaced protesters. With the situation increasingly tense, a retired Episcopal bishop was recruited to engage in what he terms “shuttle diplomacy” between the Occupy movement (and supportive churches) and the staff of Trinity Wall Street.
This weekend, that bishop, Bishop George Packard, posted this to Trinity Wall Street’s Facebook page:
I have this great worry that this venerable parish will be on the wrong side of history in a few weeks. Surely there’s some consummate wisdom in the leadership that can offer Occupiers a chance to express their prophetic destiny in these days. It’s a matter of record that the church is good with the provision of service and succor for the neighborhood; they are unable, it seems, to understand their dynamic needs. Plainly said, this means looking afresh at lease arrangements for a season regarding the Duarte property. Think of it as offering hospitality to travelers from our future who bring the message of “no injustice, no more.” If we really saw OWS for who they are rather than putting up roadblocks in their path we’d truly delight in their coming!
Bishop Packard alleges that the staff at Trinity Wall Street subsequently deleted the comment, prompting his blog post wondering about the church’s involvement and noting that Occupy Wall Street has a “deep bench and a very long attention span.”
The situation appears to have taken a slight turn for the better, with news that protesters worshiped and took communion at Trinity Wall Street on Sunday.
I hope that the Trinity clergy, while serving the Eucharist and worshiping alongside those fighting for economic justice through the Occupy movement, listened and reconsidered their decision to put roadblocks up instead of providing the public gathering space the movement needs. We’ll keep watching as things unfold.
Photo via Flickr, sfcityscape
UPDATE: Per the comments, a staffer at Trinity disputes Bishop Packard’s assertion that his comment was deleted from the Trinity Facebook page. We’ve updated the post language to reflect that as well.