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8:00am Eucharist
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5:00pm Choral Evensong

Statement regarding protest inside St Paul's

The service of evensong at St Paul’s Cathedral on 14 October was planned to incorporate prayers by Occupy Faith and a sermon which spoke clearly of the need for partnership between Occupy, St Paul’s and others in addressing the need for financial and political change which Occupy highlighted.

During the service a group of four women chained themselves to the pulpit and shouted out a list of grievances against St Paul’s as well as reading part of the bible. The Dean of St Paul’s, The Very Reverend Dr David Ison, who was about to preach, allowed them to speak, following which the rest of the service continued without interruption.

Afterwards the Dean said: "After working constructively together with Occupy Faith on this act of worship, we regret the abuse of the Cathedral’s hospitality and its daily worship. We also disagree with the way in which some protesters are continuing to pursue the agenda of conflict with St Paul’s, rather than consulting with us about how together we might better achieve the reforms which many people including Occupy are looking for."

The four protesters remained chained to the pulpit during the organ recital and communion service which followed Evensong. At the close of the Cathedral after worship at 7pm, everyone remaining in the Cathedral was asked to leave (as is usual) so that the building could be locked for the night. The protesters and their supporters refused to leave, and the Dean engaged in dialogue with them, the outcome being that they agreed to meet with him and others from the Cathedral as soon as could be arranged. Although invited to do so, the protesters refused to give permission for their chains to be removed. The normal procedure for when people refuse to leave places of worship was then followed: the police were called to assist in moving those people on, and after half an hour of further discussion the protesters cut themselves free and left peacefully of their own accord.