'Ring of prayer' bid to prevent evictions

  • @jerometaylor

Christians have promised to surround the tents of the Occupy protest outside St Paul's Cathedral with a "ring of prayer", in an attempt to stop bailiffs from evicting the people camped there.

The plan could become an acute source of embarrassment for the Church of England, which is now faced with the spectacle of seeing praying Christians dragged from the steps of Britain's most famous cathedral.

Organisers say a multi-denominational group of more than 200 Christians, including serving Anglican clergy, are on 24-hour standby to rush to the camp if police or bailiffs arrive to evict the demonstrators, who have been ordered to leave by the High Court. Once the call goes out they will descend on the campsite and distribute themselves among the protesters to kneel or stand in prayer.

"The idea is to show the world that people of all sorts of different faiths care deeply about the Occupy protest and the issues it is trying to raise," Symon Hill from the liberal Christian think tank Ekklesia, one of the movement's organisers.

So far, more than 260 people have signed up to a petition to form part of the ring of prayer. Among the Christian groups supporting the Occupy camp are the Fellowship of Reconciliation – one of Britain's oldest Christian charities – the Student Christian Movement, Christianity Uncut and the evangelical Christian magazine Third Way.