Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Clergy, laity support nonviolent protests at Occupy Wall Street

By Sharon Sheridan, October 25, 2011

Episcopal News Service] In the early stages of the Occupy Wall Street protests, the Rev. Michael Sniffen and some clergy colleagues from the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island traveled to Manhattan's Zuccotti Park to observe what was happening. He's returned regularly since, talking to protestors and offering pastoral care.

"I see myself as part of the movement," said Sniffen, 31, priest-in-charge of theEpiscopal Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew in Brooklyn, New York. "I really feel like this is my generation's plea for a just society. I think the Gospels make it quite clear in Jesus' teachings that there can be no justice without economic justice."

Sniffen is among a number of Episcopal clergy and laity who are visiting and lending support to protesters at the birthplace of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) campaign. Begun Sept. 17 and inspired by the Arab Spring movement, OWS protests against greed and economic inequality have spread to more than 2,100 locations across the country and around the world, including other major cities such as Denver, Miami, Berlin, London and Tokyo.

On Oct. 23, the Episcopal Church's Executive Council issued a resolution affirming "that the growing movement of peaceful protests in public spaces in the United States and throughout the world in resistance to the exploitation of people for profit or power bears faithful witness in the tradition of Jesus to the sinful inequities in society" and calling upon "Episcopalians to witness in the tradition of Jesus to inequities in society."

Read the rest here.

Protesting greed
The Rev. Elizabeth Kaeton of Delaware said she heard a distinct message when she spent the 25th anniversary of her ordination to the priesthood at Zuccotti Park on Oct. 18.

"Everybody is really, really clear that what they're protesting is greed. It's not about luxury, it's not about capitalism," said Kaeton, who is canonically resident in the Episcopal Diocese of Newark. "People are really angry about greed, and I think that's absolutely right. … That's what made Jesus turn over a few tables in the temple, was greed and corruption. That's the moral problem that I think the church needs to speak to."

Read the rest here.  You can also click on Elizabeth's name above and go directly to the story also on her blog.

-- Sharon Sheridan is an ENS correspondent. ENS editor/reporter Lynette Wilson contributed to this article.

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