Despite the fact the incident at the Church of the Holy Trinity last week was deeply disturbing on a very personal level, I am trying to look at the positive side. Perhaps, if the church is merciful, this will be a good first step in making things right…
I have hand-delivered my letter to the Archbishop Hiltz’s office this afternoon, and have been assured it will be delivered to him personally. And, considering the people involved are challenging the Queen’s soverignty, and the incident took place in Her Majesty’s church, I have also sent a copy of the letter to the Governor General’s office.
I will, of course, keep you update with the situation as it progresses. Thank you to everyone who has come to me with your kind words of support. Eventually we will sort-out this situation for once and for all…
Here’s the letter:
Archbishop Fred Hiltz
Anglican Church of Canada
80 Hyden Street
Toronto, Ontario M4Y 3G2
cc: His Excellency The Right Honourable David Johnston
1 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A1
Dear Archbiship Hiltz,
I’m writing to request your help with a situation that occured when I attended a meeting called ‘Occupy & Faith’ at Toronto’s Church of the Holy Trinity on Thursday, May 10th. Where, after I arrived at your church, soon after I went inside, I was approached by Maggie Helwig and was immediately asked to leave.
I asked her why she was asking me to leave and she began reciting a list of accusations that had been made towards me by a few (minority) of the members of Occupy Toronto. She said I had been stalking people, harassing them and I was not welcome because she wanted the meeting to be a ‘safe space’. I must say that I certainly didn’t feel safe at that moment…
I explained to her how the accusations were not true, how I and my family are long-term members of the Anglican church, that I’m an Englishman, and how I was shocked she would behave this way based on people’s unfounded allegations. She refused to listen and insisted that I leave immediately (I have this incident on video). This is hardly the treatment I would have expected in a house of god.
For the first time in my life as a (rather new) activist I was ready to firmly stand my ground. I politely explained how I wasn’t ready to be thrown-out of my family’s church, and she would have to call the police if she wanted me removed. I did this because I wanted this incident to be on-record.
I quietly went and sat-down on one of the chairs, without interrupting anyone or causing any harm. Maggie Helwig then went to speak to the people who told her the lies about me. At the beginning of the meeting, Reverend Alexa Gilmore (who was standing beside Maggie Helwig) made an announcement that there was someone in the room who ‘makes people feel unsafe and has harassed other people’ she then pointed her finger towards me and said “and it is him, Greg, who is doing this”.
I cannot tell you how humiliated it was to be bullied like this in my own church. Never in my life did I imagine I would be discriminated against this way, without a shred of truth in what they were saying. Three of the people in the meeting came up to me and asked if I wanted them to speak-out on my behalf- I thanked them, but said that I didn’t want to create any interruption to the meeting and that I would deal with the matter at another time.
How did I end up in this situation?
I’m one of the founding members of Occupy Vancouver. While we were setting-up our organization we quickly noticed there were people who joined us who were intent on using violence in the movement. Most of the people who were involved with Occupy knew that the only way we would be successful was with love, not with violence.
The people in our movement who believe in the use of violence are part of a radical Marxist/Trotskyist organization called No One Is Illegal. Not only do they support the use of violence, but it is one of their key beliefs that they must discredit and crush anyone who could affect their ability to exercise their plan to use violence. Recently they were discussed on the floor of Parliament in reference to being a terrorist organization.
I’m a journalist for the Occupy movement, and have been researching and writing about the people and organizations who have been promoting this violence. I only write about things I have confirmed through multiple sources and that I solidly believe are the truth.
Beyond the verbal attacks, and the public slandering on the internet, I’ve twice been physically attacked by people in this group for my writing. These attacks have been registered in formal complaints with the police. Unfortunately, I am unable to afford the costs of taking them to court for the attacks on my character.
This group is also vehemently anti-monarchist, and are in the process of trying to re-name the Occupy movement to ‘Decolonize’. I have no idea if Maggie Helwig is cognizant of this fact- but, in essence, she humiliated me, and tried to have me removed from the Queen’s church on behalf of a group of people who are working towards a goal of removing Her Majesty from our country’s government.
Additionally, it is this same group of people who are planning to interrupt Prince Charles’ visit to Toronto next week. They are organizing a march on behalf of student fees/debt and are looking to re-enact the incident where students attacked the Prince in London last year- blocking him inside his car on Regent Street. The police are currently aware there is risk of an attack.
I would like to ask for your assistance in resolving this situation, and clearing my name from the cruel slander and abuse I have received. A good-sized majority of people inside the Occupy movement understand the accusations against me are untrue- but, due to the continuing attacks against me, and my good character, there are many people who have accepted these lies as being truth.
I believe, that with assistance from someone within the church, it will be possible to clear-up these mistruths and show the world that I am not the person others have tried to label me as. Having an independent 3rd-party investigate would ensure I am treated fairly, and would expose all of the ad-hominem attacks I’ve received for what they are.
I hold no animosity towards the church, nor for Maggie Helwig. It appears to me that she got lost in all of the ambiguity of the situation. That said, after being publicly humiliated like this, I do strongly believe the church now has some responsibility to help make things right.
Thank you for your attention to this situation, and thank you in-advance for helping me reach a resolution. I have gone through incredible anguish & pain over the past few months due to this situation, and your assistance would be invaluable to helping me get past the issues I have been experiencing.
- How I Occupied Toronto’s Church of the Holy Trinity (or, Bullied at the Pulpit!) (genuinewitty.com)
- Will Occupy Toronto Occupy Prince Charles? (genuinewitty.com)
- @OccupyStasi! (or, the group formerly known as @OccupyBayStreet…) (genuinewitty.com)