The latest sermon:
Grace and peace to you,
Thank you to all of you who have assisted over the last couple of days at CMM – making sure that the people who have sought refuge in the sanctuary since Wednesday 30th October have been cared for. (I am sure by now you have seen many of the reports – there are a few links below.) The wounded, injured, traumatised and sick have been attended to with respect and kindness.
CMM’s gratitude to the many individuals and a number of different organisations, both religious and civil society who have responded generously and thoughtfully. Gift of the Givers have been amazing. Health services have been coordinated and stabilised. CMM is grateful for the donations that people have made, enabling us to provide necessities.
But please note: Though we are grateful for the initial response of generosity we want to be clear that CMM is not asking for any donations and nor are we raising any money on behalf of anyone or any organisation. For the moment we have what we need due to the fact that the load is shared among a number of different organisations. We must also be careful not to be naïve “do-gooders” removing agency from people and creating unhelpful dependency. This can be a fine line to hold. As we offer solidarity and support, we must respect people enough to carry the struggles of their own lives.
As CMM we are also very clear that this is a temporary “safe place” and we hope and encourage all role players to seek a solution that will include vacating CMM. We are very aware that we are not the solution to this crisis. At best we offer a moment of calm in which we hope people can find one another to talk, listen and negotiate. As I said on Sunday, it takes courage to protest, but it also takes courage to negotiate. This is needed at all levels of this dispute. Refusing to talk and negotiate is never helpful.
Together with the leadership of CMM I am very concerned that though CMM may have been a safe place last Wednesday from the police violence – it is increasingly becoming unsafe, mainly due to the health risks naturally associated with an over-crowded and under-ventilated space – not to mention our complete lack of adequate toilet and bathroom facilities. The health risk is especially high among the young children, including many babies, as well as pregnant mothers. And of course fire risk is heightened by the over-crowding. For this reason, it has been clearly stated that no one is allowed to sleep in any of the upstairs areas of the sanctuary and there is strictly no cooking or smoking allowed inside the sanctuary at any time. It has also been repeatedly made clear that the doors of the Sanctuary on the Longmarket Street side must remain open at all times.
We are trying as best we can to listen carefully and respond thoughtfully to the many concerns and challenges. These matters are never simple. There are layers within layers being played out. We must be able to hold more than one truth at a time. In short, we need the gift of discernment to navigate it all.
Sunday services and all other church activities continue as usual. For the sake of people’s dignity, we ask again that you please do not take photographs or videos.
Thank you for your willingness to be on this journey as we seek to do to others as we would have them do to us.
6th November 2019
Evictions from the Waldorf Arcade