St Paul’s

With the Cathedral reopened I was due to go to St Paul’s last week with a group of students. We were planning to attend a discussion by a theologian and a psychologist was the Biblical character Judas. So I was looking forward to an upbeat evening of theological reflection about betrayal, despair, truth, friendship and suicide. I was wondering how the discussion would be handled after the resignation of Canon Giles Fraser, the regular chair of this forum, and with the context framed by the Occupy London campsite outside. However, the event was ‘postponed’. In the afternoon we heard the announcement that the Dean, Graeme Knowles, the head of the Cathedral, had resigned.

In the last week the legal process to evict protesters has been put on hold. It  seems to me that St Paul’s, the great Cathedral of the establishment Church, is now able to act like a church responding to its locality. Although rather unusually its locality includes the UK’s financial zone and now a protest camp. The first is part of the world’s financial system and the other part of a global protest movement echoed in cities around the world. Church is itself a global network of local communities many of them extremely poor and suffering from the effects of the banking crisis. Surely there is possibility for the Church, which is rich in symbolic actions and images, to find some creative and distinctive ways to engage with these issues of finance and economic justice? Especially as these issues are central to its own Gospel concerns about ending poverty and building a just future?

For an informed  and sceptical view of the ways the Church of England might be caught up in the discussion and how it might move forward see Jonathan Bartley’s blog on the Ekklesia site  http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/15643

For a view from one of the people involved see Giles Fraser’s weekly column in the Church Times http://www.churchtimes.co.uk/content.asp?id=120132  
(p.s. ‘ the lectionary’ that he refers to in the opening sentences is the three-year scheme of daily readings used for services throughout  the Church).

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