Church leaders to meet with Occupy protesters

Occupy Sheffield camp outside the Cathedral ' See Story Martin Slack Picture by Chris Lawton'Nov 06  2011

Occupy Sheffield camp outside the Cathedral ' See Story Martin Slack Picture by Chris Lawton'Nov 06 2011

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CHURCH leaders are to meet protesters from the Occupy Sheffield camp which has been on the cathedral forecourt for more than three weeks.

The meeting will be on Monday at the United Reform Church and campaigners have been invited to send six representatives.

Cathedral general manager Carl Hutton said the aim would be to understand more fully the nature of the protest and to respond to issues being raised by the Occupy camp.

“Sheffield Cathedral has been clear that the camp is there without permission and has needed to alert protesters to a number of practical concerns which have arisen since the camp has arrived,” he said.

“Nonetheless, there is a desire to listen, to understand, and to reflect theologically on the camp and the issues it is raising.”

The Bishop of Sheffield Dr Steven Croft and other church leaders in the city centre are due to attend.

They are expected to point out the churches in Sheffield city centre have a long history of speaking out for the poor, vulnerable and marginalised and have initiated a number of significant responses to those challenges, including the Cathedral Archer Project.

The Dean of Sheffield, the Very Reverend Peter Bradley, has already said the cathedral would take no action against the camp at present.

He said: “I would prefer it if the protest wasn’t outside the cathedral. My real concern is that the work we do, caring for the homeless and serving the city, should be able to continue uninterrupted.”

An Occupy Sheffield spokesman said: “I think the church as an organisation and all Christians out there should actually support us in this.”

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