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Retired Armed Forces bishop and Occupy Wall Street

Retired Armed Forces bishop and Occupy Wall Street

More news of Trinity Wall Street and the Occupy Wall Street movement from Episcopal News Service (ENS):

Supported by members of the faith community, Occupy Wall Street is calling upon Trinity Episcopal Church, Wall Street, in New York to allow protestors to establish a winter camp at property it owns at Sixth Avenue and Canal Street, about a mile north of the movement’s original encampment at Zuccotti Park in Manhattan.

Trinity released a statement on its website offering its continued support of the movement – including providing meeting space at church buildings – but not the use of its enclosed vacant lot at the city-owned Duarte Square that it leases to the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. The property, Trinity said, is unsuitable “for large-scale assemblies or encampments.”


George Packard, retired Episcopal bishop for the armed forces and federal ministries, has been mediating between OWS representatives and Trinity staff.

Packard said he would like to see Trinity make the space available during the winter for the protestors, who say they need to a space to “occupy” in order to build their community and carry their movement forward.

Negotiations are complicated by past events, including the arrest of protestors who broke into the locked and fenced space at the square Nov. 15 while other OWS members were meeting with Trinity about possible use of the space, Packard said. “I’m trying to get one group to acknowledge the other and put salve on hurt feelings and re-establish relationships.”

Packer’s first contact with OWS was periodically providing jugs of water from Costco for protestors. Late one night, he was wearing his clerical collar and dropping off water for the kitchen “working group” at Zuccotti Park when a police officer detained and nearly arrested him. In that moment, he said, “I was converted from a casual observer to a committed supporter of this movement. I think these young people are onto something. I think there is an anger in all of this for justice, that aches for some justice.”

“Something clicked in me” that night, he said. “These kids aren’t being heard. … This is no unemployed bunch of deadbeats. These are folks who are focused about the lack of fairness and equity and the ache for justice.”

Packer subsequently became involved with the movement’s direct action working group and began fostering negotiations between protestors and Trinity about the Duarte Square property. He also agreed to speak at the Dec. 3 event, scheduled as an Advent service.


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“This is no unemployed bunch of deadbeats.”

And what if they were?

The very language here disturbs me. It’s dehumanizing.

JC Fisher, “Unemployed Deadbeat”


Some time ago, I suggested negotiations with the holders of the lease to permit the protestors to use the park until the spring, when the Cultural Council installs their exhibit.

June Butler

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