In efforts to restore full access to St. Paul’s Cathedral, Bishop Richard Chartres has promised protesters that he will help organize a meeting between them and political figures if they leave the building’s grounds.
“Pack up your tents voluntarily and let us make you heard,” the bishop urged protesters. He assured that he and the Right Rev. Graeme Knowles, the cathedral’s dean, would be waiting Sunday morning to meet with the Occupy movement and talk to them about the issues in hand.
He went on to describe the movement as “having lost its original purpose”, and that the cathedral was the wrong place for the people to make their point. The bishop promised he would help establish communication between the protesters and the business and political figures they hold responsible for the economic crisis.
The church is trying to get the Occupy the London Stock Exchange movement to disband the camp they have set up outside the building, which has forced the cathedral to close its doors to the public for a number of days. According to St. Paul’s, this has resulted in significant lost revenues in terms of donation money.
Despite protesters ignoring persistent pressure to get them to move out, cathedral members have been understanding of the people’s dissatisfaction with corporate greed and have spoken out against police plans to evict protesters by force.
Giles Fraser, a canon chancellor from St. Paul’s who had earned recognition for his support of the left wing, resigned in protest over those plans, and has said he could not support any violence in the name of the church. Members of the Occupy movement have been appreciative of his support, and have said they are sad to see him leave.
The Occupy movement protesters, who were forced to relocate to the cathedral after they were barred from setting up their camp at Paternoster Square, have so far refused to listen to Mayor Boris Johnson, who wants them to make plans to relocate as soon as possible.
Although tensions are still running high, St. Paul’s is planning to partially reopen its doors and allow access to the public, after the protesters agreed to at least rearrange the camp’s layout.