Bp Sisk's Statement on Duarte Sq.

December 16, 2011

The following statement was issued today by Bishop Sisk concerning the pressure being applied to Trinity Wall Street to give Occupy Wall Street access to Duarte Square.

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

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