St. Paul’s suspends action against Occupy London

UPDATE: The City of London has issued an eviction notice.

The City of London Corporation, the civic body responsible for the capital’s financial district, is today set to serve eviction notices on anti-capitalism protesters camped outside St. Paul’s Cathedral.

The corporation is giving the Occupy London protesters, who also have an encampment in Finsbury Square, 48 hours to move away from land it owns in the vicinity of the cathedral, the financial district’s most famous church, where more than 200 tents have been put up.

The Diocese of London has issued this statement:

The Chapter of St Paul’s Cathedral has unanimously agreed to suspend its current legal action against the protest camp outside the church, following meetings with Dr Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London, late last night and early this morning.

It is being widely reported that the Corporation of London plans to ask protesters to leave imminently. The Chapter of course recognises the Corporation’s right to take such action on Corporation land.

The Bishop has invited investment banker, Ken Costa, formerly Chair of UBS Europe and Chairman of Lazard International, to spearhead an initiative reconnecting the financial with the ethical. Mr Costa will be supported by a number of City, Church and public figures, including Giles Fraser, who although no longer a member of Chapter, will help ensure that the diverse voices of the protest are involved in this.

The Bishop of London, Dr Richard Chartres, said:

“The alarm bells are ringing all over the world. St Paul’s has now heard that call. Today’s decision means that the doors are most emphatically open to engage with matters concerning not only those encamped around the Cathedral but millions of others in this country and around the globe. I am delighted that Ken Costa has agreed to spearhead this new initiative which has the opportunity to make a profound difference.”

The Rt Revd Michael Colclough, Canon Pastor of St Paul’s Cathedral and a member of Chapter, added:

“This has been an enormously difficult time for the Cathedral but the Chapter is unanimous in its desire to engage constructively with the protest and the serious issues that have been raised, without the threat of legal action hanging over us. Legal concerns have been at the forefront in recent weeks but now is the time for the moral, the spiritual and the theological to come to the fore.”

More on this action from The Guardian:

The bishop of London has broken ranks with the City of London Corporation over planned legal action to evict the tented encampment outside St Paul’s Cathedral in London.

The move could strain relationships with the City of London, but is seen by the bishop as an attempt to rescue the Church of England from the damaging publicity surrounding its stance towards the Occupy London protest.

h/t to Thinking Anglicans

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