Church: Occupy JP is not occupying our lawn

November 29, 2011
By

The Unitarian Universalist church in Monument Square is shooting down Occupy JP’s report that it would set up camp in the church’s lawn as soon as this weekend.

Andrea Clardy, chair of First Church in Jamaica Plain Unitarian Universalist’s standing committee, said that there appears to have been a misunderstanding within Occupy JP. The church is considering allowing a single, empty tent on its lawn to signify support for Occupy protests. But it has not had any discussion about more than one tent or any activity with Occupy JP, she said.

“The church is extremely supportive of the Occupy movement,” Clardy said. But Occupy JP’s claims of a Monument Square “symbolic occupation” as early as Saturday caused “a lot of surprise and consternation,” she said. A craft fair is slated to run at the church that day, and vendors were upset to hear of a possible occupation, she said.

As the Gazette reported earlier today, Occupy JP spokesperson Michael Russell said that the group would have multiple tents as an occupation on the lawn with the church’s permission. A march is also possible this weekend, he said. He said the Occupy JP camp would be called “Camp Alex” in tribute to Alexander Arredondo, a Jamaica Plain-raised soldier killed in Iraq. A Camp Alex tent has appeared at Occupy Boston.

“There are going to be some tents out there,” Russell told the Gazette earlier. “I think it will happen this weekend.”

Clardy said the church indeed has discussed allowing the Camp Alex tent from Occupy Boston to be pitched on its lawn, though permission has not been granted. That discussion took place with Arredondo’s father, she said. But there have been no discussions with Occupy JP. Arredondo’s father and stepmother are involved in Occupy JP as well, Russell told the Gazette. That kind of overlapping interest in different versions of the Occupy movement may have caused confusion, Clardy said.

  • Ryan

    Robin, something is rotten, but it isn’t this progressive church.

    OWS has organic protests set up in front of the FED in Boston, on Wallstreet in NYC, and in front of government buildings, state houses and town halls all over the country.  Is there any plausible, smart reason to camp out at a progressive, private church?

    This smells of the whosfood failure re-branding itself and trying to remain relevant by hijacking the OWS message.  It’s loony.

    If JP wants to form a faction of OWS, and god (or spaghettimonster) bless them if they do, their efforts would better be with coordinating with those down in Dewey square and petitioning Menino, the state house, and their local representatives in JP.

    Setting up a separate encampment on private property that has little to do with the grievances of the 99% is just head scratching.  Especially after the church moved to make a real gesture of support.

  • http://twitter.com/RobinEdgar Robin Edgar

    Why am I not surprised to hear that Unitarian Universalist “support” for the Occupy Movement is limited to a single symbolic tent being displayed on its front lawn, and that even this minimalist symbolic support is by no means a sure thing yet? How is it possible that First Church Jamaica Plain can, on the one hand, publicly claim to be “extremely supportive of the Occupy movement”, while on the other hand engage in hand-wringing dithering over whether a single symbolic tent can be displayed on its front lawn. How can First Church Jamaica Plain be “extremely supportive of the Occupy movement” yet, so far. . . “there have been no discussions with Occupy JP” at all? 

    Something is rotten in First Church Jamaica Plain, and it smells a lot like self-serving empty posturing and grandstanding seeking free publicity for The Tiny Declining Fringe Religion by talking the talk of support for the Occupy Movement but doing little or nothing to walk the walk. . . Par for the course for many if not most UU “churches” AFA*I*AC. God forbid that this “extremely supportive” UU “church” should have to make a few compromises to show its self-proclaimed *extreme* support for the Occupy Movement.

    • Anonymous

      From the story, it looks like Occupy JP dropped the ball, not the church.  If Occupy JP didn’t ask for permission, then it was wrong of them to claim that they had permission.  If Occupy JP wants to occupy private property without permission, that’s something else entirely.

      • RozzieX

        So I assume YOU have contacted OccupyJP and asked them to camp in YOUR yard?

        • Anonymous

          I’m sorry, RozzieX, I don’t understand what you’re saying. I was trying to make the point that Ryan made much more eloquently in the comment above.  I’m not advocating that Occupy JP occupy private property without the consent of the owner — I’m just saying that if that’s what the group has decided to do, that’s on them, not the Church.

          • staycalm

            I thnk RozzieX intended to respond to Robin, and just landed below you in error. 

  • ugh jp

    hahahahahhahahhahahaha

  • OccupyJP

    These dirty hippies are complete morons. Why not take your iphones and tents down and “occupy” across the street from Whole Foods?

    I figure every one of these wannabe spoken word poets will be scooping ice cream at JP Licks once the novelty of “protesting” wears off.

    • 6andst1s

      I am saddened, though no longer surprised, to see how many have responded to the article above. I almost feel like this article about what sounds like a misunderstanding was not really newsworthy, and most of the above comments seem to be making a tempest out of a teapot. This division sounds contradictory to the underlying message of both the UU church (whose minister has attended many pro-people/anti-corruption rallies and has been a loyal member of a group of religious leaders for peace protesting our never-ending wars weekly), and the Occupy movement. Would it be so wron gfor us to let them work it out and to save our energy for such things as saying hi to one another on the street?