Friday, June 5, 2015

Pre-Occupied (the Cross and the Dome)

I was listening to a podcast while on just about the 7th mile, when suddenly the speaker mentioned St Paul's Cathedral. St Paul's Cathedral! I love to hear about that wonderfully iconic spot where so many times I have gone to worship in that domed edifice. What is always the most striking to me is the humble way the ministers invite us all to the service, saying that the church is not theirs but Christ's. I turned up the volume. 

"..and St Paul's was closed for the first time since the Blitz of World War II." This was interesting. I didn't know it had been closed, and certainly hadn't heard of the reason for the closure. I listened closely, as the speaker explained.
"Occupy London Stock Exchange protestors encamped around the Cathedral from 10 October 2011 to 28 February 2012, telling the world that the financial situation was 'unsustainable' and 'unfair'. At first, the Canon of St Paul's asked the police to leave the protesters there, because he was 'happy for people to exercise their right to protest peacefully.' Things immediately became more difficult however, as the crowds grew from 250 to 2,000. For health and safety reasons, St Paul's Cathedral was forced to close its doors for services."

Consecrated in 1708, St Paul's had welcomed millions of worshippers over the centuries and withstood the bombs of the Luftwaffe. It has stood strong and opened its doors no matter the difficulty. It had to be closed briefly during the 1940 bombings, then staying open until 2011 when the doors closed due to the hazards caused by those who wouldn't go home. Eventually the protesters were moved, and the Cathedral opened once again.

The Rev. Jiles Fraser, canon of St Paul's had said, "With so many stoves and fires and lots of different types of fuel around, there is a clear fire hazard. Then there is the public health aspect, which speaks for itself." The 'health and safety aspect', which that gentleman was too kind to clarify, was left to our imaginations. 
But it doesn't really take much imagination to come up with an alarming scenario, does it? Midnight, in a tent on the asphalt, pitch black, no toilets, trying to sleep, when suddenly just outside your tent you hear...
(Sir Christopher Wren would turn over in his grave.)

the SconeLady

photo credit: <a href="">IMG_8613_</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license)</a>

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