Comments: St Paul's must change direction

May I respectfully offer a 10-step proposal to turn around the sorry state of affairs that has come to pass through the stand-off between Cathedral and protestors, though both sides can find common ground?

My proposals would be phrased with introductory comments along the lines of "we have met and we have listened."

And also, "It has never been the intent or desire of the Cathedral to get to a stage where physical force had to be used on peaceful demonstrators, and we now want to categorically wipe the slate clean, and find common ground, especially over ethics and the world of finance."

10 ways for St Paul's to turn around their tarnished reputation: (contd in next post...)

Posted by Susannah at Monday, 31 October 2011 at 6:13pm GMT

10 ways for St Paul's to turn around their tarnished reputation: (contd from previous post...)

1. Immediately welcome the protestors to continue highlighting the issues of financial irresponsibility and the price paid by the poor.
2. Welcome the protestors to remain, on cathedral ground, in negotiated numbers of tents.
3. Immediately publish the suppressed report which is critical of practices in the finance sector.
4. Re-instate Giles Goddard as Canon Chancellor as his position has been vindicated.
5. Invite the protestors to install up to three tents INSIDE the cathedral as a symbolic presence and act of solidarity.

(contd in next post...)

Posted by Susannah at Monday, 31 October 2011 at 6:14pm GMT

10 ways for St Paul's to turn around their tarnished reputation: (contd from previous post...)

6. Organise a series of public debates, some Christian-led and some not, involving churches throughout the Region to send participants.
7. Provide supplies of soup and sandwiches for protestors and offer indoors first aid facilities and toilet facilities.
8. Order a review of the Cathedral's dependency on donors from the City, to create clear and transparent guidelines and accountability.
9. Arrange for clergy to regularly attend protest discussion groups outside, and challenge MPs to do the same.
10. Seek to promote an alliance of voices, aiming to press for ethical controls on the finance sector, and do this through collaboration with the protestors, instead of trying to drive them out.


Posted by Susannah at Monday, 31 October 2011 at 6:16pm GMT

In my opinion, the Bishop, by taking a radical control over this situation, would find media support (and witness to our faith) hugely turned round, and in my opinion he would demonstrate his own ability to 'connect' and 'be in touch' and 'be decisive' which are qualities of leadership.

Even the ability to listen and change course, actually, communicates humility rather than arrogance. Overnight, St Pauls would find itself portrayed in an entirely different light.

I hope this helps.


Posted by Susannah at Monday, 31 October 2011 at 6:18pm GMT

Judging by the statement at the news conference which I have just seen, he is determined to throw them out. God help St Paul's.

Posted by Richard Ashby at Monday, 31 October 2011 at 6:26pm GMT

Nice Freudian slip from Susannah there. Giles Goddard would make an admirable Canon Chancellor (although he has only recently moved to his current parish), but for re-instatement it would have to be Giles Fraser.

Posted by Wilf at Monday, 31 October 2011 at 9:12pm GMT

Thank you Wilf, I did indeed mean Giles Fraser. Giles Goddard is my own priest. He is lovely but I think we should keep him at Waterloo :)

Posted by Susannah at Monday, 31 October 2011 at 9:51pm GMT

Susannah. Thank you for that. That is exactly what should have happened. The Cathedral could have taken control of the situation right at the beginning. Giles Fraser was right in what he did, asking the police to get away from the building. That was a good beginning since it began to open ways for the cathedral and camp to talk and engage with each other. But that immediately came to a stop, it wasn't followed through. As a result the Cathedral lost the initiative and has been on the defensive ever since. The threats of legal action and eviction are a reaction to something the church can no longer control and a disaster in PR and Christian terms. It also seems to indicate that the offensive has been taken over and is directed by the City of London and the Cathedral is following along and aquiescing in these actions. Pius expressions of hope for a peaceful solution are just that now.

Posted by Richard Ashby at Monday, 31 October 2011 at 9:59pm GMT

Here's someone who pitched his tent in a Cathedral: as an act of public witness.

Posted by Andy at Monday, 31 October 2011 at 10:53pm GMT

So who's left making the strategic decisions in Chapter?

Dean - Vacancy
Canon Pastor - The Right Reverend Michael Colclough, former Area Bp of Kensington
Chancellor - Vacancy
Treasurer - The Reverend Mark Oakley (interests in faith, poetry & literature; author of The Collage of God) - n.b. staying put
Precentor - The Reverend Michael Hampel (interests in music & am dram)

Lay Canon (Finance) - Gavin Ralston (Global Head of Product and leading international asset manager at Schroder Investment Management)
Lay Canon (History) - Peter McCullough (leading expert and widely published writer on the religious history of early modern England)
Lay Canon (Visual Arts) - Lucrezia Walker (was galleries correspondent for the Tablet, and lectures and write on artists and art history)

Oh to be a fly on the wall....

Posted by Andy at Monday, 31 October 2011 at 11:20pm GMT

Brava Susannah. Too bad it won't happen because it's too d@#$ obvious.

Posted by evensongjunkie at Tuesday, 1 November 2011 at 12:51am GMT

I appreciate that the Church had no policy in place for dealing with matters like this and that it was completely surprised by what was developing on its doorstep.
That's still not a real explanation why, at every corner, it appeared to take the wrong decision.

The St Paul's Institute was poised to present a report that is said to be critical of the current economic and financial situation and that appears to be supporting many of the concerns the protesters are voicing.
St Paul's heart already seems to be in the right place.

So why did common sense hospitality and a common sense facilitation of conversations between the various groups in society not win the day?
As Giles Fraser said, his colleagues are all people of principle and integrity, and one assumes people of faith.

I can see that they were overwhelmed by the situation and had to take decisions on the hoof. That does not explain why pretty much all the decisions taken appear to have been disastrous.

Posted by Erika Baker at Tuesday, 1 November 2011 at 8:21am GMT

I remembered that too, Andy, and noted no one sicced the police on his little sideshow! I guess wearing purple and being the right sort counts.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Tuesday, 1 November 2011 at 10:13am GMT
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