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.
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.