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St. John’s Lafayette Square has good news

St. John’s Lafayette Square has good news

St. John’s Lafayette Square has a two-part announcement regarding the city-installed fencing surrounding the church. It’s good news.

We have a two-part update!

Posted by St. John's Church, Lafayette Square on Thursday, August 13, 2020

Added: Several excellent clarifying comments below. See especially this one.

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Helen Kromm

An argument can probably be made that the fence should have been in place even earlier.

I may be mistaken, but the only harm that I am aware that was inflicted on any Episcopal staff occurred when cheeto Mussolini and his lap dog Barr unleashed their jack boots and storm troopers upon church property. We know as fact that the Rev. Gina Gerbasi was lawfully upon church property and was forced from that property so that tRump could have his photo taken on Episcopal property holding a bible upside down.

So it's logical to assume that had the fence been in place, our Amerikan fuhrer could not have occupied our property unlawfully and uninvited resulting in harm to our clergy.

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B. D. Howes

I don’t understand why the windows are boarded up. Are they offensive?

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B. D. Howes

Confused and not hearing from anyone, I found a letter from St John’s Rector (Rev. Robert Fisher) and Wardens that explains the fence and boarded up windows which I will share with anyone who also wants to know.

Apparently, the fence was put up and the windows were boarded to protect the church; it has nothing to do with anything offensive in the stained glass. The letter to the parishioners of St John’s says:

“Our historic buildings have been damaged by fire and graffiti. Individuals have built encampments on the church grounds, pitching tents, cooking on open fires in close proximity to the buildings, and relieving themselves in inappropriate places, resulting in a risk to the health and safety of protesters and others. At times, our staff have not felt safe traveling to and from work, or in their offices.

“After renewed violence on Monday evening, the City contacted us on Tuesday and offered to provide fencing around our buildings. After a thorough discussion, and in consultation with Bishop Mariann [Budde], we reluctantly agreed to the fencing. While we hate both the fencing and the boarded-up windows, one of our main responsibilities as rector and wardens is to protect the buildings.”

This clears up a lot of confusion for me.

First, I’d been told the protests in the square were peaceful but according to the Rector and Sr Warden they were not and the “staff did not feel safe.”

I’d also been led to believe none of St John’s Rector, its vestry, nor Bishop Budde approved the fence. To the contrary, according to the Rector and Wardens, not only did the parties approve the fencing but, doing so was exercising “one of [their] main responsibilities as rector and wardens.”

I hope this helps others who might have shared my confusion.

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Eric Bonetti

I’ve been following this situation closely, and have joined the protesters outside the church several times.

At one point, some windows were broken by rioters in the area, although I’ve only seen three or four such cases. Boarding up the windows at St. John’s made good sense, especially after the attempted arson in the parish house.

I’ve also not seen anything that made me fear for my safety on the part of the protesters. That said, one of the great challenges they face is access to bathrooms; almost everything remains closed and boarded up, and many restaurants have closed their public bathrooms. Thus, one way St. John’s might welcome the stranger and the oppressed among us is to see if there is a way to provide bathroom facilities. There are plenty of masks and lots of ice water to go around, but finding a comfortable, appropriate place to use the bathroom is the real issue.

Apropos the fencing, the church agreed to it, but allegedly under false pretenses. The church was under the impression that the whole area was to be closed off, but that turned out not to be the case. That said, in the fog of a situation such as this miscommunication is inevitable, so I’m not prepared to find fault on either side.

Lastly, in talking with the protesters, many believe that St. John’s has been supportive, and I believe it would be helpful for all sides to meet with the protestors and listen to them. Indeed, many I have talked to say they feel safer around the church than they do in more open areas. So this is a tremendous opportunity for the parish to engage with the world around it and support those struggling for freedom from oppression.

PS If anyone does make it down to BLM Plaza, there are some wonderful street performers and advocacy groups there. I hope you’ll be able to enjoy some time with them.

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