'Ring of prayer' bid to prevent St Paul's evictions
Published 20/01/2012 | 05:00
CHRISTIANS have promised to surround the tents of the Occupy protest outside St Paul's Cathedral with a "ring of prayer", in an attempt to stop bailiffs from evicting the people camped there. The plan could become an acute source of embarrassment for the Church of England, which is now faced with the spectacle of seeing praying Christians dragged from the steps of Britain's most famous cathedral.
Organisers say a multi-denominational group of more than 200 Christians, including serving Anglican clergy, are on 24-hour standby to rush to the camp if police or bailiffs arrive to evict the demonstrators, who have been ordered to leave by the High Court.
Once the call goes out they will descend on the campsite and distribute themselves among the protesters to pray.
"If people at the camp believe they are about to be evicted, the call will go out and we will try to get down there as fast as possible," said Symon Hill, from the liberal Christian think-tank Ekklesia, one of the organisers. "The idea is to show the world that people of all sorts of different faiths care deeply about the Occupy protest... Each person will make their own decision on what they want to do. Some will go if asked by police, but others will politely refuse and will have to be forcibly removed."
Senior leaders at St Paul's will view the plans with a deep sense of unease. The cathedral was thrown into turmoil when the Occupy protest first appeared, and was severely criticised for appearing to side with the City against the protesters. (© Independent News Service)