English priest who stood with Occupy London to teach, preach, visit protestors
Fraser, a media figure known both for his trenchant criticisms of and affection for the church, is now priest-in-charge at St. Mary's Newington in inner-city south London and a columnist for The Guardian. He plays a major role in Love Free or Die, the 2012 Sundance-award winning documentary film about Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay partnered bishop in the Anglican Communion.
“Giles is not only a gifted preacher and teacher, he is also a priest who has deep personal experience of the tension between the Gospel message and the institutional church,” said the Very Rev. Joy Rogers, dean of St. James. “The Bible has a lot to say about money, about fear and about violence. So when those issues are in the news, as they are during the G-8 and NATO summits, the church must be part of the conversation. We have to look division, deprivation and inequality in the eye, and we have to respond. We’re grateful to Giles for helping us do that.”
On Sunday, May 20 after the 11 am service, Chicago Bishop Jeff Lee will walk with Fraser to Trinity Episcopal Church, 125 E. 26th Street, where NATO protestors will be encamped.
“As Christians, we follow a savior who spent much of his time among the poor, marginalized, and victims of injustice. As his disciples, we are called to do the same,” said Lee. “Prophets often come to us in ways that we find disconcerting. Jeremiah wore a yoke. John the Baptist ate locusts. We might not be entirely comfortable with the ways that protestors and activists express themselves or the messages they send, but we need to pay attention.”
During his visit to St. James, Fraser will:
- Hold a gathering of preachers at St. James on May 17 from 10 am-3 pm. Preachers will spend the day with Fraser discussing how to preach and proclaim economic justice in churches and communities that are home to people from all walks of life and all political persuasions. Cost $20; register at www.stjames.org
- Give a free public lecture, "The Call to Social Justice and the Constraints of Institutions," at the University of Chicago’s Brent House, the Episcopal campus ministry, 5540 South Woodlawn Avenue on May 18 at 7 pm
- Preach at St. James Cathedral on Sunday, May 20 at the 8, 9 and 11 am service
- Visit the encampment of NATO protestors at Trinity Episcopal Church with Bishop Lee to on the afternoon of May 20
- Host an Occupy St. James community conversation about how faithful people can seek economic justice at 5:30 pm on May 21.
To learn more, visit www.saintjamescathedral.org.
St. James Cathedral, founded in 1834, serves the city of Chicago and all of Northern Illinois as the cathedral of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago. The congregation is passionate about the twin Episcopal traditions of service and advocacy for those in need and music and art that lift the soul to God. St. James’ dean is the Very Rev. Joy E. Rogers. To learn more, please visit www.saintjamescathedral.org.