Church: Occupy JP is not occupying our lawn

November 29, 2011
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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.

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