To support OWS's demand for a sliver of unused Trinity space, activists presented a crèche in a tent to Trinity's pastors, who had no choice but to accept it—for a while. This video by the Meerkat Media Collective tells the whole story.
To publicize the dilemma of Occupy's demand for space from Manhattan's wealthiest church, here's the video and below's the press release we sent out. Many of the original links are broken.
December 15, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WILL TRINITY CHURCH TEAR DOWN OWS NATIVITY SCENE?
Church and lay activists install guerrilla gift in front of Wall St. church
Today at 2pm, prominent New York religious figures along with Occupy Wall Street activists will erect a nativity scene outside Trinity Wall Street Church. The scene—which activists are calling a "peace offering" in advance of this Saturday's planned occupation of a sliver of unused Trinity land—will feature Joseph, Mary, and Jesus within an Occupy Wall Street tent adorned with relevant scripture.
"The story of Christmas starts with Mary and Joseph's search for a home," said Reverend Michael Ellick of Judson Church. "It's thus especially ironic, and tragic, that Trinity Church—one of the largest landowners in New York City—refuses even a tiny, unused piece of its vast land to OWS, which points to the same spirit of transformation that Jesus represented."
"This is truly a theological line in the sand," added Ellick. "The gospel is about real-world transformation, not cosmetic charity. How is it that Trinity's real estate is worth over 10 billion dollars, and all they can do for Occupy is hand out hot chocolate?"
Rev. Ellick and other participants will also deliver a petition from over 12,000 Faithful America members urging the church to offer sanctuary to the protesters. Faithful America is an online community of people of faith taking action for social justice.
"Trinity is faced with a choice: are they a church or are they a real estate company with a religious storefront?" said Andrew Huckins, one of the organizers of this Saturday's planned occupation. "We truly hope that Trinity moves beyond charity and joins the Occupy movement in its quest for social and economic justice."
According to Max Page, author of The Creative Destruction of Manhattan, in the early 20th century Trinity "offended the sensibilities of elite New Yorkers by ignoring the squalor over which it was landlord... and unjustly redistributing the wealth of the church to its uptown parishioners." In short, the book notes, Trinity acted "like a big business and not a religious institution."
"Trinity can use this opportunity to act according to the beliefs we all espouse," said Ellick. "We deeply hope that they do so."
Rev. Michael Ellick (Judson Church): 646-734-0162
Andrew Huckins (OWS): 413-522-1129
Sean Devlin (Yes Lab): firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information: http://occupyfaithnyc.com/