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South Side church offers camping for NATO protest group

WGN Radio 720 By Manya A. Brachear and David Heinzmann Tribune reporters LINK

9:22 p.m. CDT, May 3, 2012

GLN permalink 5-3-2012

Map of where church offered camping for NATO protesters (Photo Illustration, Chicago Tribune / May 3, 2012)

An Episcopal church on the South Side will serve as a sanctuary for protesters coming to the NATO summit later this month.

Trinity Episcopal Church's small fenced yard at 26th Street and Michigan Avenue is to serve as a campsite for a group of about 40 demonstrators planning to ride bicycles from Madison, Wis., to Chicago for the NATO summit the weekend of May 19.

Andy Thayer, a lead organizer of the May 20 march against NATO, said the campsite will be public and, per the priest's request, a team will keep an eye out to make sure campers treat the church and property with respect.

On Thursday, Chicago Episcopal Bishop Jeffrey Lee told the Rev. Errol Narain that he should not be present when the camp site is on the property.

Narain, the church's rector, was placed on restrictions after a woman made what church officials believe to be credible allegations that he forced himself on her inside his family's home in 1994, then-Bishop William Persell told the Tribune in 2005.

The Rev. Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows, director of networking for the Chicago Episcopal Diocese, said that after a Tribune inquiry Thursday, Lee spoke to the accuser and told her Narain would not be present the same time as protesters.

Narain denied the allegations. No criminal charges or civil lawsuits were ever filed in the matter.

Narain is no longer under restrictions, Baskerville-Burrows said.

Contacted Thursday, Narain said the congregation was hosting the protesters, not him.



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Copyright © 2012, Chicago Tribune

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