Bishop, priest convicted of trespassing in Occupy demonstration

Bishop George Packard climbs over a fence surrounding the Duarte Square property in lower Manhattan owned by Trinity Wall Street in a Dec. 17 effort to open the area to Occupy Wall Street protesters. Photo/REUTERS/Andrew Burton

[Episcopal News Service] A retired Episcopal bishop and a priest from the Episcopal Diocese of New York were among seven people convicted June 18 on charges of trespassing on property owned by Trinity Episcopal Church, Wall Street, during a Dec. 17 Occupy Wall Street demonstration and sentenced to four days of community service.

George Packard, former Episcopal bishop suffragan for armed services and federal ministries, and the Rev. Earl Kooperkamp, rector of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Harlem, had faced up to 90 days in prison on the most serious charge, Packard’s lawyer, Gideon Oliver, had previously told ENS.

An eighth defendant, Mark Adams, was convicted of trespassing and additional charges of attempted criminal mischief and attempted possession of burglar’s tools, reportedly for trying to use bolt-cutters to slice through the fence surrounding the property. He was sentenced to 45 days in prison on Rikers Island and taken from court in handcuffs, Oliver said in a telephone interview after the trial.

“We’re considering whether or not to appeal,” he said. “We have 30 days to make that decision. I think for now everyone’s focus is on supporting Mark.”

In a statement on Trinity’s website, the Rev. James Cooper, rector, said the church supported many of the Occupy movement’s underlying principles and would continue to welcome protestors to its facilities in the Wall Street neighborhood but said it did “not support the seizure of private property.”

In court on June 18, Cooper’s testimony “was focused primarily on Trinity’s position of not supporting an open encampment at Duarte Square or giving permission,” said Linda Hanick, Trinity chief communications officer and vice president of communications and marketing.

Packard and Kooperkamp were among 65 people arrested, including Diocese of Long Island priests the Rev. John Merz and the Rev. Michael Sniffen, on Dec. 17 after entering the property in Duarte Square in Lower Manhattan as part of an Occupy Wall Street event marking the end of the third month since the movement’s launch.

Livestream video Dec. 17 showed Packard climbing a ladder that protesters had erected against the fence and dropping to the ground inside the property, the first to enter the site.

OWS had been lobbying Trinity to use the property for a winter encampment, following the movement’s Nov. 15 eviction from Zuccotti Park near the church. Trinity had refused, citing a lack of facilities at the site and its lease agreement allowing the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council to use it for periodic art installations. Packard had been trying to mediate an agreement between OWS members and Trinity.

On June 18 Oliver said, “Bishop Packard testified about his experiences with Rector Cooper and with Trinity around trying to act as a go-between between Occupy Wall Street and the church.”

“He testified that he had a belief that Rector Cooper and Trinity would exercise forbearance, and we argued that in legal terms that translated into an honest, good-faith belief that he had license or authority to enter the premises,” Oliver said. “The judge rejected that legal argument.”

Oliver said he was “disappointed more than surprised” that Judge Matthew Sciarrino convicted the eight defendants in the nonjury trial. “The legal system is set up to defend private property.”

“In some ways, the convictions make the moral arguments even stronger,” he added.

Packard said he was surprised, disappointed and saddened by the trial’s outcome. He spoke to ENS via cell phone while attending a post-trial conference about how to support Adams, who he said had “become the fall guy” for the Dec. 17 Occupy action. The prosecutor recommended a 30-day sentence, but Adams received 45 days, he said.

“The eight of us [defendants] feel sort of bonded in brotherhood,” he said. “We’re feeling like a member of the family has been torn out from among us.”

Trinity did not have to pursue the charges, but it opted to “protect fiduciary interests,” Packard told ENS. “It’s pretty sad. I mean, this is what our church has come to. You don’t have enough pledging units to sustain many places. So we depend on the cash flow of corporate investment. It’s a caricature of what the gospel is.”

Other court action

Merz, priest-in-charge at the Episcopal Church of the Ascension, Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and Sniffen, priest-in-charge of the Episcopal Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew in Brooklyn, accepted a six-month adjournment in contemplation of dismissal (ACD) on Feb. 28, which means the charges against them were dismissed and they would have no criminal record if they were not arrested again in the next six months, according to a court official.

Packard told ENS in March that he chose not to accept an offered ACD because he wanted the chance to respond to the charges in court.

“I also probably will be arrested again,” said Packard, who has continued to participate in the Occupy movement and blogs about his experiences. “I’m not looking to be arrested, but the chances are pretty high.”

He subsequently was arrested with other military veterans during a May 1 demonstration at New York’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial Plaza. As of June 12, he had not yet been arraigned in that case, Oliver told ENS.

The trespassing trial was delayed June 14 after one of the defendants, Jack Boyle, who has been on a hunger strike and stopped taking his HIV medicine over the charges, was arrested the night before and hadn’t been processed yet. When the trial resumed that afternoon, about 40 people – including Merz and Sniffen and a Roman Catholic nun – came to observe.

In a June telephone interview, Packard had expressed surprise at the trespassing charges and the manner of his arrest.

When he entered the property Dec. 17, he said, “I felt that we were entering into a protected area and that it was closed for the season. I had visited hunger strikers on the perimeter of that space … three or four times. I have visited that location with Jim Cooper.”

“Trespass is a word that I’m not used to hearing as it’s related to church property,” Packard said. “I hear expressions like ‘refuge’ and ‘sanctuary,’ and even … in the Trinity newsletter they talk about ‘radical hospitality.’”

“It’s bewildering to me that Trinity has gone ahead with prosecuting these arrests. I fully thought they would just drop the charges,” Packard said. “I don’t put ‘trespass’ and ‘church property’ in the same sentence, somehow. Maybe I’m just naïve. I have a long history with Trinity Church.”

As bishop suffragan for armed services ministries, he spent time with Trinity clergy near Ground Zero after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Towers near Trinity’s St. Paul’s Chapel. “Those were horrid, awful days, and Trinity really showed forth to the world what a classy and wonderful institution it was. They offered refreshment and rest.”

On Dec. 17, “we weren’t even warned that we were going to be arrested,” he said.

At other protests that he has watched as chaplain, he said, “there’s always this big, fancy announcement over a bullhorn” warning people they face arrest.

“There was none of that,” Packard said.

In the June 18 statement, Cooper said that Trinity had “a long and active history in addressing social and economic inequities.

“While we are sympathetic to many of the OWS protestors’ stated goals, we do not support the seizure of private property,” the statement said. “Trinity urged the District Attorney’s Office to offer noncriminal dispositions before trial and to request nonjail sentences for those defendants who chose to proceed to trial. All protestors received sentences of four days of community service, except for one defendant who was convicted of additional crimes and had several open cases unrelated to Duarte Square. We continue to support the basic principles underlying the Occupy movement and will continue to welcome protestors, as we welcome all others in our community, to our facilities in the Wall Street neighborhood.”

As the trial continued, so did protests and “actions” in New York and elsewhere as part of the nine-month-old Occupy movement. Inspired by the Arab Spring, the Occupy movement, intended to protest what participants saw as rampant greed and inequality in the financial world, was launched Sept. 17 with Occupy Wall Street. Demonstrators set up camp in Zuccotti Park (formerly Liberty Plaza Park) and created a community with everything from an onsite lending library to working groups planning actions and statements on various social and economic concerns. Participants organized using “horizontal” rather than hierarchical leadership and made decisions at democratic “general assemblies.”

Other camps arose in cities and towns across the country and around the world, including an encampment outside St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. Within months, authorities broke up most of the encampments.

Some Episcopalians and other people of faith have supported the movement from the beginning. Harvard doctoral candidate Marisa Egerstrom organized a group called Protest Chaplains that participated in the launch at Zuccotti Park and has supported Occupy Boston. In New York, Episcopal clergy, including Diocese of Long Island Bishop Lawrence Provenzano and those arrested Dec. 17, spent time with occupiers at Zuccotti Park and have been involved with Occupy Faith NYC.

Packard’s lawyer is president of the New York City Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, which has offered free legal representation to those arrested in connection with OWS protests, Oliver said. “I’ve handled a few hundred cases myself.”

Oliver — who described himself as an agnostic raised as a “liberal Jew” — said in a June 12 interview that he was inspired by Packard and religious affinity groups to OWS such as Occupy Faith. “I feel a political affinity and inspiration from what they’re doing … in the context of their own faith communities. It really sort of embodies the concept of ‘Occupy everywhere,’ which post-the Liberty Plaza eviction took on a different and more urgently literal meaning.”

— Sharon Sheridan is an ENS correspondent.

Comments

  1. Indie Pereira says:

    Trinity did not have to pursue the charges, but it opted to “protect fiduciary interests,” Packard told ENS. “It’s pretty sad. I mean, this is what our church has come to. You don’t have enough pledging units to sustain many places. So we depend on the cash flow of corporate investment. It’s a caricature of what the gospel is.”

    This quote says it all.

  2. Tony Price says:

    The name of the plainiff says it all: Trinity “Wall Street”

  3. Art Hawley says:

    Am I the only one who sees the irony of being sentenced to community service for doing what is essentially a service to the community?

    • Brad Ems says:

      Since when is trespass considered “community service?” I don’t think you’d be quite so supportive if this rabble hoisted their ladders to your windows and engaged in community service in your house. Why is TWS any different?

      • REN Stiefel says:

        Your use of the word “rabble” reveals that you know little if anything of the people you are writing about or, given your would-be parallel example, the nature of the situation. On the other hand, throughout the ages most of those who have followed the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth have been considered “rabble” – and often decried as such by the authorities of the institutional churches.

        • Charles Smith says:

          All that can be done is judge them on their actions. Rabble, law breaking mob and violent gang all seem fitting. There is a right to free speech, but not a right to force others to listen, and not a right to trespass to make political statements.

      • Jack Boyle says:

        An empty lot, with no structure on it Brad. Don’t twist what was done. No one entered a home! And, watch your mouth describing ppl you don’t know as rabble!

        • Charles Smith says:

          Trespass is trespass. Was clear a fence had to be climbed. Property rights are very clear in the law, there does have have to be a house, building or wishing well for it to be trespass.

  4. Susan Ashland Crowson says:

    Really? George Packard doing community service ?? The man was born doing community service ! So sad it’s comical. WAKE UP TRINITY. smell the roses will you ??

    Time to stop acting like a corporation or shut the doors. You tarnish the concept of church of any kind. I realize that you’re called trinity wall street there’s no church In your name yet you let people with collars work for you. Bleck!

  5. I am, on the one hand, ashamed that Trinity Wall Street values private property and fiduciary interests more than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. On the other, I am grateful to Trinity and its rector James Cooper for breathing new life to the flickering flame of this veteran of Occupy, bruised and disenheartened by the silence of our church. You have have sparked that flame anew and given those of faith strength to carry it forward. As we do, we will keep in our prayers Mark, George, and all who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.

  6. Russell Graham says:

    As a lifelong Episcopalian, all I can say to you, Trinity Church WALL STREET, is shame, shame on you, because in effect, what you did, all your verbal gymnastics aside, was put Jesus in jail. Following on Vicki’s astute comments, this is not a flame you will find so easy to extinguish. Thank God for the voices of so many of the faithful calling for justice here in the Diocese of Los Angeles.

  7. And here comes Jesus, together with his friend George Packard, filled with sorrow and fury at what his church has become, ready to overturn the stalls of the moneymakers. Shame on Trinity; thank God for the George Packards of our church.

  8. Harlan Bemis says:

    I mourn for the Trinity Church of old: The super-rich church that responded to the Gospel of God with power. Trinity has stood with the disenfranchised and the poor against the forces of mammon. It has been an exemplary witness to the love of Christ and continued as a standing offense to ‘Wall Streets’ for more years than any of us have lived.

    Has it finally sold out to the power of wealth? Or has it just ‘gone native’ and been sucked into the world that surrounds it? Thank God for our brothers and sisters George Packard, Earl Kooperkamp, Mark Adams and the many other members of Occupy Faith NYC and Occupy Wall Street, who have stood up to Temporal Power and woken us up to this situation.

    I pray that the Rector of Trinity Church, The Rev. James Cooper, and his vestry and deputies may wake up and choose to turn around to do the will of God.

    Harlan Bemis

  9. Chris Thompson says:

    I am amazed, the Episcopal Church having it own people arrested. What happened to sanctuary, support for the least of these and comfort for the oppressed? Bishop Packard and others of many faiths are following the reality of being Children of God. Trinity Church, Wall Street should look in the mirror and ask, who do we “really” serve?

    • Deborah Barwise says:

      They didn’t ask for sanctuary or support when they climbed a fence clearly intended to keep people out of that area. Their previous requests for that specific form of support were not granted, though other support was acknowledged. It is not up to Packard, or you, or anyone else to judge Trinity’s reasons – it was and is their decision to use their resources as they see fit, and they made it clear that use of that property at this time is not acceptable. What part of “No” is so bewildering to Packard? Why would anyone NOT expect to be arrested for doing something illegal? And, yes, it is sad that ‘trespassing’ is now a word associated with churches, but that is the fault of a rampant society entreched in a mindset of entitlement, not the church. It is difficult to be open and generous when people just take what they want and feel they deserve it.

      • Tess Taylor says:

        I don’t think that it was a surprise that there were arrests made. What is sad is that this went all the way to convictions. Trinity Episcopal could have backed down at any time.

      • Jack Boyle says:

        Deborah, Do you want to explain to God that ppl can own land that was created for all ppl!

  10. Acts 2
    [44] And all who believed were together and had all things in common;
    [45] and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need.

    While very few of us do this in our own lives, at least most of us try to have compassion on the poor and refrain from putting people in jail who try to help them. Shame on those in authority at Trinity.

  11. Wayne H. Kempton says:

    I really wish everyone would just get over this. None of you who have responded to this article would like it if some group stormed your church (or home for that matter) and seized a piece of your property, cutting your locks with bolt cutters and climbing your fences without your consent. Just because Trinity is a wealthy parish doesn’t make them any different from the rest of us when it comes to protecting what is rightfully theirs. And believe it or not, every Episcopalian does not necessarily support ALL of what Occupy Wall Street claims to stand for.

    • Joan Barnwell says:

      Egad! A voice of reason (over emotion)! What IS the Episcopal Church coming to?

      Thanks for saying what I was thinking and hadn’t the courage to say myself.

    • Dorothy Royal says:

      Thank God someone said what I was wondering why the other people didn’t see!! I would welcome anyone, but not someone trying to take what my husband and I have worked so hard for. And I don’t want someone trashing my church. Does anyone remember what Trinity did for everyone during 9/11?

      • Brad Ems says:

        Indeed, Dorothy, and does anyone remember what OWS has done in Oakland, Cleveland, Baltimore, etc? The wave of crime, filth, disease and violence? Is there some reason TWS wants that within its gates?

    • Joe Brewer says:

      Disclosure: Wayne is an employee of the Diocese of New York and an apologist for its bishop and Trinity Wall Street.

    • Thomas Andrew says:

      “Disclosure: Wayne is an employee of the Diocese of New York and an apologist for its bishop and Trinity Wall Street.”

      Big deal, he’s still a voice of reason amidst a cacophany of hyperventilation. Disclosure: I’m NOT associated with DNY.

      • Joe Brewer says:

        Hello, Thomas. Since Wayne works at the communications department of the Diocese and seemingly made this statement on company time, can we assume that this statement is made on behalf of the Diocese? One person’s reason, by the way, is another’s heartlessness.

        • Wayne H. Kempton says:

          No, I speak only for myself. I do not work for the Communications Department, I am the diocesan Historiographer.

        • So Wayne should not be allowed to express an opinion that differs from your own because of where he works, Joe? Interesting.

          • Joe Brewer says:

            Christopher, my point is that he should be careful that his opinion is not seen as the Diocese’s. I’m not allowed to express opinions on company time or using company resources that take one side or another in my field. No, not really that interesting.

    • Beth Ann Maier says:

      “…protecting what is rightfully theirs…”? Whose is it? In whose service should it rightfully be used?

    • Gray Maxwell says:

      With all due respect to Mr. Kempton’s comment above, the OWS protesters weren’t “storming into the church”. They were entering a vacant lot.

      Matthew 19:21
      21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

      Acts 2:44-46
      44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
      45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
      46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart.

      Acts 4:32-35
      32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.
      33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
      34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,
      35 And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.

      • Jack Boyle says:

        For those of you who denigrate Occupy Wall Street will experience love for OWS when you drop your body and meet up with God. God is nothing but LOVE! We humans do the judging!

  12. GlorIa Moy says:

    They were trespassing plan and simple. If I recall correctly Trinity Church had denied them access and use of the space and they tried to gain access after being denied.

    • Brad Ems says:

      Which, of course, gives the lie to the Bishop’s claim of “good faith” in the invasion of the property.

  13. Ann Post says:

    I am an Episcopalian in the NY diocese and have participated intermittently in Occupy.

    I believe that beyond the particulars of this painful case, what Trinity Church is missing is the big symbolic nature of these events. The world is watching and is judging!

    We in the church understand the power of signs and symbols to communicate : and herein lies the true tragedy of this event is that we again have missed an opportune moment in history to symbolically align ourselves in solidarity with the greater good and have degenerated into squabbling among ourselves and punishing each other in civil court!

    The trespassing Bishop and clergy have acted prophetically!

  14. Geof Bard says:

    I have pretty much given up on Anglicanism, despite its occasional attempts to be relevant and progressive. It is structurally reactionary, and individual heroics do little to change that.

  15. Mike Conoveer says:

    Give to Caesar that which is Caesar’s. Give to God that which is God’s.

    If you believe you might have a conflict with one of your brothers, go to him and work to resolve it, before you go to lay your sacrifices & ceremony at the temple (a somewhat twisted paraphrase)

    Wayne, or anyone else on this thread who supports Trinity Wall Street’s actions & expressions- can you help me understand what that Body of Christ has accomplished and gained by & with those actions & expressions?

    • Brad Ems says:

      TWS, in pressing charges, is standing with civilization, order and peace against an anarchic mob. Justice, surely a pillar of the Christian ethic, was done upon the members of said mob. Shame on George Packard for siding with the side of wickedness, anarchy and violence.

      • Mike Conoveer says:

        Since when has order, dominant culture (civilization,) and the justice dispensed by those in civil control & authority (those standing in for & representing Caesar; then and now)) been Christian pillars? Those were certainly not the model & teachings of the Jesus I see in scripture, or the Christ of my experience.

        I hear fear, hatred, and condescension in the comments about rabble.

        • Brad Ems says:

          Civilization =/= “dominant culture”

          Justice is a pillar of the Christian ethic, and justice was done to Packard and his OWS pals. TWS is private property, a concept that absolutely pervades the Old and New Testaments. Even the passages cited here in support of OWS presume the existence of private property….after all if you don’t own your possessions, how can you ethically sell them? If there is no such thing as private property, what sense does the injunction to not steal make? If there is no private property, how can one possibly covet one’s neighbor’s things?

          • Joe Brewer says:

            The Gospel should win out. It did not. It’s amazing when Christians are parroting property law and non-Christians are speaking about the Gospel.

  16. Brad Ems says:

    I liked this passage most:

    “Bishop Packard testified about his experiences with Rector Cooper and with Trinity around trying to act as a go-between between Occupy Wall Street and the church.”

    If this is accurate, then Packard’s “good faith belief” claim is utter rubbish and the Bishop is bearing false witness. Being in contact with the Rector, he would have known that Trinity objected to the commandeering of its property by OWS, a condition reinforced by the fact that the rabble had to scale fences and cut locks to invade the premises. Had they been welcome, I think the Rector would have preferred to have them enter through a gate.

    Indeed, the world is watching. Will TWS align itself with a nihilistic mob to burnish its progressive bona fides? Or will it defend the truly liberal order by opposing the mob’s violence and anarchy? I’m happy to say that, despite a nod or two in the direction of the barbarians, TWS seems to have chosen civilization over savagery.

  17. Ann Willis Scott says:

    Good for you, George. I’m glad you didn’t break your neck climbing over that fence in a cassock. You continue the legacy of clergy from Grace Church, Hastings-on-Hudson, who have taken stands when it seemed necessary for the Gospel’s sake.

  18. Brad Ems says:

    I wonder…does Bishop Packard draw a pension? Where does he think the funds that back that regular check come from?

  19. Charles Smith says:

    I very much not only favor enforcing the law when it comes to maintaining order and bringing an end to acts such as trespass, blocking streets and other acts of so called civil disobedience, but very much support making the penalties harsher. Jail isn’t a particularly a good solution, as it means the law abiding public must pay their upkeep. Things like civil forfeiture – both individuality and to the organizations represented would go a long way to stopping this sort of hooliganism. People have a right to fee speech, but they do not have the right to force others to listen, which seems to be what OR is all about.

  20. Joe Brewer says:

    Letter from a Birmingham Jail:

    ‘I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.’

    • Brad Ems says:

      I think the last place on Earth any sane person would want to live is a land where the OWS idea of justice prevailed.

    • Charles Smith says:

      I remember cities burning in the sixties and the more recent riots in LA, I would much rather have order that that sort of “speech” and whatever force is needed to achieve it, up to and including deadly force. Your right to be heard does not supersede my right not to listen, nor does your crime of trespass to block roads and transportation trump my right to move freely. If that requires an armed response, so be it. With an apology to Jerry Pournelle, let it be an example of evolution in action.

      • Mike Conoveer says:

        My memory of those divisive, unstable and violent times in the 60’s were it being backlash by folks who did not feel heard, respected, appreciated at all — whose efforts at being heard & having some control over their destiny was treated harshly by the powers & cultures in and of power. We have come a loooong way since then. “Law & Order” by those who can; is a step back towards those scary, divisive times. Daley in Chicago ordered ‘shoot to kill’. History has seldom looked kindly back at those maintaining civil order principally by force and increasingly harsher penalties.

        • Charles Smith says:

          Singapore has very strict laws about littering and such; you might remember the american teen who got a caning for violating their laws. Regardless, Singapore is a very clean place. Draconian laws work.

          • Mike Conoveer says:

            Is the point about Singapore a support of the concept of order & civil justice above all else? Cleanliness is next o godliness? Or, be careful for what you wish for- you can get clean sidewalks, and pay for it with beaten youth.

  21. Joey Parker says:

    Good for Trinity! I wish Mark had gotten more time, to be honest. Breaking & entering is wrong. Period.

  22. Ann Post says:

    Didn’t St. Paul himself warn the early Christians NOT to drag each other into civil (Roman) courts in order to resolve their conflicts? Didn’t he advise them that it would be better to suffer loss rather than put other fellow believers under the judgment of secular/courts?

    How sad; what kind of a witness to the world is this!

    No wonder the Church has lost so much of its moral authority in the eyes of the secular world!

    Also, despite the distortion of the mainstream press OWS is NOT filled with hooligans and anarchists; to the contrary it is filled with everyday people who like myself have become frustrated and dismayed at the rampant greed that has destroyed the American economy and largely with impunity!

    • Thomas Andrew says:

      You are aware aren’t you Ms. Post of all the litigation the Episcopal Church has filed at the direction of the current administration against fellow Christians aren’t you? Seems that ship has sailed.

      • Charles Smith says:

        This is why a some number of folks find the victory on the property disputes amusing.

        Great, ECUSA got the property. Now, let’s see how well you afford the upkeep. Will be even more fun with many jurisdictions searching for dollars and seeing the church exemption on property taxes as something as possibly politically viable to revoke.

    • Charles Smith says:

      OWS is judged on what gets reported. Mass breaking and entering and trespassing is an act of hooligans and criminals.

  23. Michael Siebert says:

    Very pleased to see that these lawbreakers were punished. They and their anarchist, socialist ilk are trying to destroy our free society, replacing it with a Bolshevik dictatorship. Good for Trinity in defending its property.

  24. P.J. Cabbiness says:

    I am pleased to see that the church in question had the courage to pursue prosecution of these theologically confused Marxist criminals. A collar does not give one the right to create and promulgate a false socialistic reinterpretation of the faith. Shame on them.

    • Charles Smith says:

      I’d even be more pleased to see this individual have their orders inhibited or revoked as this lack of respect for the law is not a useful leadership example.

  25. Ann Post says:

    Yes, I guess that is exactly what the religious and civil authorities of His time said and did to Jesus! Why, that rabble-rousing insurrectionist leader of such a motley crew! How dare he challenge the religious/political status quo!!

    I guess some things never change…

    Ann Post

  26. Mike Conoveer says:

    Where your treasure is, that is where your heart will be.
    I hear a lot of hearts tied up in property rights, civil order, status quo. Storing up earthly treasure?

    • Mike Conoveer says:

      This one was unkind of me. Right and riotousness, over empathy and an effort at Unity within the Body of Christ (and ideally that Body holds all of humanity, aware & unaware).

      Let me go back to my hearing of fear in many opposed to the Occupy movement.

      I see fear (and fear mongering) as a tool of the Darkness. It turns us from the face and experience of God.

      What can we do to, together, to reduce fear; promote empathy, compassion, and unity; and find more of that “Liberty and Justice for all”?

  27. Steven Long says:

    This is comical. What fuster cluck.

  28. John Morrison says:

    This discussion misses a salient and important point. Winter (which turned out to be mild in NY, but who knew?) was coming on. OWS was NOT content with occupation of Duarte Square. The unstated but real object was to play on TEC liberal guilt and have Trinity fund a canteen, shelter, and heaters for a winter encampment. In short, to make TWS the piggy bank of OWS. No responsible vestry and wardens, much less the rector, could agree to that. It was a blatant attempt to turn TWS into an unlimited credit card at a time when the funds of OWS were melting away. Follow the money, as they say on Wall Street.

    • Joe Brewer says:

      Where on earth did you come up with that, Mr. Morrison? The purpose of Duarte Square was to use the land for winter and to be self-sustaining. No one was meant to LIVE there, rather, it was to be a sort of community center and offices for Occupy; they were sleeping in shelters run by churches other than Trinity, which doesn’t have a shelter. At any rate, TWS has $1bn in real estate by the grace of a monarch of England 300 years ago. I don’t know that a heater, a tent, and some soup over a winter would break the bank that is their empire…

      Even if you don’t agree with Occupy, some of the comments here are so uncharitable and rude that it makes me think that maybe the institutional church deserves to die the death it is already dying. I hope this doesn’t represent the majority of opinions.

      • Steven Long says:

        Morrison is on spot, Joe Brewer, and no, its not just the cost of a heater and a couple of cans of soup. It’s the legal liability that puts the parish at huge risk, thanks to your friends at the tort bar. These protesters are nothing more than hulligans who don’t even know what they are protesting about (other than a hand-out). If someone is harmed at the hands of these so called protesters on church property, Trinity will be a co-defendant in the personal injury litigation that will surely follow.

        • Mike Conover says:

          And continuing to press charges as this went to trial months later was principally to limit the church’s tort liability?

  29. Mike Conover says:

    I want to make clear that I do NOT defend the actions & expressions of the Occupy folks in what happened. I do not know the realities of the situation, and have seen plenty of situations in Occupy Chicago that were at the least involving very questionable judgments. When I asked, early in the thread, what Trinity has & is gaining by its actions & expressions on this, I was sincere. I remain sincere. Is this principally about property rights for that Body of Christ? Tort liability? Control? Some individuals in authority feeling disrespected? Class warfare? Fighting against anarchy? Fear? Some other stuff (probably at least in part)? I am sincerely interested, and have not gotten much clarity from this discussion about that.
    Does Trinity consider itself a Christian Body? Is the term Body of Christ a relevant one here? What are the lines of authority? How are its decisions made?

  30. Rita Walpole Ague says:

    Thanks so much for the education re. truly Christain peace and justice activists among today’s clergy. Big ray of hope !

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