Today George began community service for the audacity of trespassing on Trinity Wall Street’s vacant lot. The other 7 defendants were all assigned to picking up trash in parks despite gifts as teachers, medics, counselors, one master carpenter, (Will Gusakov) one excellent comedian (Ted Alexandro), and a talented young artist (John Carhart). Asking activists to perform community service is like throwing Brer Rabbit in the brier patch.
During these times of crushing heat and financial ruin I wonder how the local churches are serving their communities. One of the local parishes was shut up tight all day Sunday – the floor show was over – and all I could think about was how the clergy lobbied to get air conditioning in the sanctuary so they wouldn’t be so hot under their robes. How cool – thermally and spiritually – it would have been if the sanctuary was indeed that during this heat wave. A place for those who have no air conditioning could take a time out and experience mutual aid. Put in some books, board games, have a few volunteers to share their skills. Why isn’t the institutional church more concerned with doing community service rather than “doing church”?
With Trinity Wall Street inhabiting a capacious expensive booth touting its good works, General Convention continues, the attendees getting heady about the Marks of Mission (remember how excited the Episcopalians got about 20/20?), New York City goes through a record-breaking heat wave, and Mark Adams serves his time behind bars on Rikers Island. We have received phone calls from retired clergy – people who have nothing to lose had they spoken out during the exactly 6 months after D17 and the sentencing date of June 18th – telling us not to judge the church based on James Cooper’s behavior. He is an embarrassment – they are outraged at the persistence of the prosecution and Trinity’s overt collusion with the DA, Bloomberg, and the NYPD.
Yet this is one of those rare times when had the TEC leadership had been as persistent as Trinity and released statements regarding Occupy, the prison and legal system, worked the “cocktail party” social circuit, it might have made a difference in a young man’s life. Mark will always have a criminal record. 80% of those who go to Rikers return.
James Cooper and his staff are intentionally spreading disinformation by telling the handful of Trinity Wall Street parishioners that Mark is not serving time for trespassing and criminal mischief committed on December 17, 2011 as related to Duarte Square but for priors. This is not the case and all those who attended the trial can tell you the real story. John and Molly’s show on Breakthru Radio offers an accurate assessment.
Trinity Wall Street and James Cooper – preserving the sanctity and rights of chain link fence. Solidarity!
Posts from the fans of General Convention and TEC through email networks, on Facebook, and Twitter indicate the institution is just not getting the point. The answer is more program, look to the mitres for wisdom and training that is not necessarily there, lobby for a piece of the budget pie. It is all unsustainable, insular, and delusional.
So what gives this Episcopalian hope? Some of the extraordinary seminarians who acknowledge that they are the precipice of a new era, self-train, “skill-up”, and don’t plan on working their way up the company ladder of promotion. The members of Occupy who work the streets, share skills, stand in solidarity with the poor, and put their energy behind mutual aid. The plans of Occupy Faith who know this is it – either the church goes down in a hospice/spa environment or it goes out fighting, dying in order to be reborn. (Now where have we heard that story before?)
And the entries in the blog Support Mark Adams which shows us all how we can BE church to each other without a single resolution passing the House of Deputies.