Support the Café

Search our Site

Bishop Packard arrested at Duarte Square (and now released)

Bishop Packard arrested at Duarte Square (and now released)

Updated 10:58 pm: Bishop George Packard has been released from jail. His release was expedited because as the retired bishop of the armed forces, he had military clearances.

UPDATED BELOW with statement by the Rector of Trinity Wall Street, additional video footage and reports

Bishop George Packard and the Rev. John Merz were arrested this afternoon at Duarte Square.


Twitter reports regarding the arrest are showing up here. You can read all about the reports from Duarte park here.

Here is a photo of Bishop Packard being arrested.


And here’s video of the arrests:

Bishop Packard wrote on his blog this morning about what he intended to do this afternoon:

Brook and I travel down to Duarte in a few minutes and what awaits us I do not know. I do know that for me and the OWS I know no violence is intended, only peaceful disobedience if it comes to that. You can follow the live stream from noon to five on WBAI radio.

And speaking of “coming to that” I am still baffled that the Episcopal Church of which I have been a member all my life could not–through Trinity–find some way to embrace these thousands of young people in our very diminishing ranks. (Every year for the last five years we have lost 14,000 members.) Just as we pioneered an awareness of the full membership for the LBGT community what’s happening here? How hard would it have been for Trinity to convene legal counsel and say, “Give us some options so that a charter could be granted over the winter months?”

I had proposed that to the Rector and I still think it was a solution. Occupy Wall Street gets a home over the winter (one that would offer food for the Homeless and a clinic–truly bring alive dead space) and Trinity would have the assurance that the lease would return to them safe and sound come Spring. Everybody wins.


Trinity Wall Street has since posted this statement by the Rector, The Rev. Dr. Cooper on it’s webpage.

We are saddened that OWS protestors chose to ignore yesterday’s messages from Archbishop Tutu, from the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori, and from Bishop of New York Mark S. Sisk. Bishop Tutu said: “In a country where all people can vote and Trinity’s door to dialogue is open, it is not necessary to forcibly break into property.” The Presiding Bishop said: “Other facilities of Trinity continue to be open to support the Occupy movement, for which I give great thanks. It is regrettable that Occupy members feel it is necessary to provoke potential legal and police action by attempting to trespass on other parish property…I would urge all concerned to stand down and seek justice in ways that do not further alienate potential allies.” Bishop Sisk said: “The movement should not be used to justify breaking the law nor is it necessary to break into property for the movement to continue.”

OWS protestors call out for social and economic justice; Trinity has been supporting these goals for more than 300 years. The protestors say they want to improve housing and economic development; Trinity is actively engaged in such efforts in the poorest neighborhoods in New York City and indeed around the world. We do not, however, believe that erecting a tent city at Duarte Square enhances their mission or ours. The vacant lot has no facilities to sustain a winter encampment. In good conscience and faith, we strongly believe to do so would be wrong, unsafe, unhealthy, and potentially injurious. We will continue to provide places of refuge and the responsible use of our facilities in the Wall Street area. We are gratified by the support we have received from so many in the community.

-The Rev. Dr. James H. Cooper, Rector of Trinity Church

Mother Jones has eyewitness accounts of the arrests here.


Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Rudolf Rassendyll

It doesn’t hurt to remember it’s still >Ptheir

Priscilla Cardinale

Mr. Robison, it might be easier for people to swallow the cautious responsibility spin if TWS weren’t sitting on billions of dollars of Manhattan real estate and an endowment that dwarfs many municipal budgets. There’s hardly a danger of the church being sued into oblivion because someone loses a toe to frostbit or if a a schizophrenic homeless person commits a crime.

TWS could easily afford to donate the property in whole to OWS and hardly see a ripple in their portfolio.

No one whose eyes are open and whose ears are listening is buying the self-defensive nonsense of one of the wealthiest parishes in NYC. Their concern is for their Wall Street vestry members and the neighborhood businesses and not the OWS revolutionaries.

John Robison

JC Fisher: There is such a thing as a legitimate concern for health and safety that are apart of both government and the Church in it’s legal responsibilities. Or do you think that some sort of anarcho-syndicalism is somehow sustainable?One of the chief issues here is that the concerns raised by the Rector were either being dealt with or the Parish could have assisted in the implementation of work around. Part of living in a civels ociety is that people make decisions by the consent of those involved. This part of the 99% wants to have more say over who and how decisions are made, but wants no part of some direct democracy pipe dream. Athens should serve as a warning, not an example.


The vacant lot has no facilities to sustain a winter encampment. In good conscience and faith, we strongly believe to do so would be wrong, unsafe, unhealthy, and potentially injurious.

Could the Rector be right?

Of course he could.

However, this “Don’t worry your pretty, radical heads—in loco parentis, we, the Wall Street Established, have decided” ‘tude fairly DRIPS w/ 1% privilege.

“Occupy Wall Street” is about occupying our own lives: making our own mistakes, if need be.

The 99% is sick and tired of having decisions made FOR them!

JC Fisher

Clint Davis

God bless you, good Bishop. Where’s those Anglo-Catholic Socialists? Will this bring them all out of the woodwork? Is this the beginning? I hope so.

Support the Café
Past Posts

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café