Bishop Thomas McMahon from the Catholic Diocese of Brentwood and Bishop Stephen Cottrell of the Anglican Diocese of Chelmsford paid a pastoral visit to the Dale Farm site last Tuesday. They talked and prayed with some of the Travellers who face imminent eviction from the site by Basildon Council. Both Bishops also talked to the significant numbers of journalists on the site about their concerns.
The Bishops subsequently issued the following statement: ‘The Travellers’ community at Dale Farm, near Basildon, invited us to visit them today. An eviction notice is due to take effect at 12 midnight tomorrow. We prayed with Christian and non-Christian families and children who are under extreme stress, and expressed our solidarity with them.
‘This is a desperate situation. It is important that people should know that it is a humanitarian crisis, whatever they make of the legality and politics of the situation. The travellers are frightened and anxious people. If elderly and infirm people were shown on TV being forced out of their homes, we wouldn’t think we were watching something happening in England, but that is what will happen here….