Monday, February 27, 2012

Bishop Sisk and OWS Update

After heartily encouraging the OWS movement, Episcopal Bishop Mark Sisk is bummed that, given an inch, the OWSers have taken a yard.
December 16, 2011

As many of you know, Trinity Wall Street is being challenged to provide a small parcel of parish-owned land, Duarte Square, to the Occupy Wall Street movement for encampment or other undefined use.

Trinity has clearly shown its support for the wider goals of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and has aided protesters directly through pastoral care and extensive use of parish facilities. They have said "yes" to requests for meeting space, bathroom facilities, private conference rooms, housing referrals, and pastoral care, and continue to look for ways to provide direct support to those who identify with the movement in Lower Manhattan. Providing private land without facilities for indeterminate usage, however, poses significant health and safety concerns, and is beyond the scope of Trinity's mission. To this, the parish has reasonably said, "no."

In and of itself, a request for use of a parish space by an outside group would not necessitate a Bishop's involvement. But alarmingly, some clergy and protesters have attempted to "take" or "liberate" the space without Trinity's consent, and have clearly indicated their intent to engage in other attempts to do so in the coming days.

While many tactics of the Occupy movement have proven effective and creative, I feel it necessary now to reiterate our Church-wide commitment to non-violence. The movement should not be used to justify breaking the law, nor is it necessary to break into property for the movement to continue.

Together, let us pray for peaceful articulation, in word and deed, of the issues of justice and fairness that have brought the Occupy movement into the national conversation.


The Rt. Rev Mark S. Sisk, Bishop of New York
I just don't know how to be charitable to Bishop Sisk after his ill-conceived profession of love for this reprehensible social movement, so I won't go further than to say that he has committed the fundamental mistake of church stewards since the dawn of man - he has gone fad-chasing. By chasing the latest appealing social wave he has degraded the permanency of the moral standing
of the church. This drives people away. I am no Rick Santorum fan, but he is right, the Episcopal Church is in shambles. I know, because I've spent the last ten years attending one, and the pews are empty, the coffers are empty, and the ministries are shrinking.

It's sad. The Episcopal Church had alot to offer, there are many things I enjoyed about it. But the Christian faithful aren't fad-chasers...clearly they shop around for institutional stewardship and practice of the Christian message, but the moment an institutional manifestation of Christian belief goes flakey, the believers go elsewhere.

As I imagine Yoda might say..."Educated, Bishop Sisk, now is."


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