Bishop would welcome protestors to city

ANTI-capitalist protestors outside Ely Cathedral would be given a chance to discuss their aims for a better society if they chose to take their campaign to the city.

The Bishop of Ely, The Right Reverend Stephen Conway, admitted that he would have a “quite straight conversation” with any activists who gathered in Ely in the same way as those outside St Paul’s Cathedral in London.

But in a radio interview he said: “If they come, I would be there to talk to them and welcome them.

“I would be welcoming anybody who wants to come and express their hopes and fears for a flourishing community.”

The Bishop praised the actions of Dr Giles Fraser during the controversial protests, saying he had “behaved extremely honourably” throughout the period.

In a sermon following Dr Fraser’s resignation, he said: “His decision to resign rather than to be associated potentially with a violent removal of protesters further down the line is a fine demonstration of integrity.

“But I wonder, does such an action have any impact beyond seeing a clergyperson on the front page of newspapers for something well done? Do you think that you can make any difference to the world?”

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However even though he said the protests were “not the ideal way for them go about it”, The Rt Rev Conway said it had “raised the ante” on the discussion about a fairer society.

“People are reflecting on the radical nature of the gospel and asking questions about the figure of Jesus in all of this and what he would do,” he said in his interview.

“That can only be a good thing for the profile of the gospel if people are thinking deeply about these issues and that people of faith might have a contribution in this debate.

“Nobody is saying that we don’t need entrepreneurs and gifted business people who are going to get our economy started again.

“We’re wanting something that is fairer but still about the flourishing of our whole society and we know that needs to be led by people who know how to build business and create confidence.”