Lead Us Not Astray, Reverend James Cooper

In August 2011, Trinity Church's rector was asked to leave. He stayed with a vengeance.

In front of the cast-iron fence on either side of Trinity's front doors, a dozen people in worn sleeping bags spread out across the sidewalk. This group has been camped outside the church for months. Some consider themselves activists and believe Trinity has been corrupted by its wealth; many are just people who don't have homes to go to.

A hand-drawn cardboard sign on the sidewalk reads "Wall Street Temple of Greed: Trinity Real Estate Church Inc."

Spilling out onto the street, congregants step over the huddled group and walk swiftly into the city.

The first Trinity church was erected in 1698 (this Gothic facade dates to 1846). Until recently, it seemed unshakable.
Voice Media Group
The first Trinity church was erected in 1698 (this Gothic facade dates to 1846). Until recently, it seemed unshakable.
Trinity hired Reverend James Cooper to serve as the church’s rector in 2004. “We had our doubts about him,” said one former vestry member.
Leo Sorel; Source: trinitychurch.org
Trinity hired Reverend James Cooper to serve as the church’s rector in 2004. “We had our doubts about him,” said one former vestry member.

npinto@villagevoice.com

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8 comments
adpaniagua
adpaniagua

I am extremely proud to write that i am a former, sr. Social worker of the john heuss house, in addition to also being a baptized member of Trinity church proper.

I left jhh to become dir of social services of a transitional housing program

stevenmitchell1
stevenmitchell1

It sounds more like Reverend James Cooper has become the poster boy for out-of-control greed. Especially, in the context, that he has out-manipulated what I consider astute and sophisticated Manhattanites in their own backyard. In particular, he has according to the article, through various strategies gained control over the process of his own appointment. As the article author points out, that is akin to appointing your own jury for a criminal trial or in an instant probably more familiar to Trinity parishioners, where a CEO gains direct control over the appointment of its Board of Directors. But very clearly, he now owns Trinity Church, and if he ever does leave as pastor, he will most assuredly secure a large buyout package and undoubtedly sabotage much of it before he leaves. At this point, the only hope that the parishioners have to regain control over the Church’s sovereignty is to involve the hierarchy of the regional and national Episcopal Church. But by far, the greatest threat that Trinity Church (and I have a special fondness for this church and its constituency) faces, is that this man, James Cooper, will undermine its future continuity as an institution. It is very apropos that someone like James Cooper would emerge at the forefront of this Church in 2012 at the time that he has. His story is easily equatable with the metaphor for America's economic decline. If there is no other barometer for the depth of his self-centeredness, its deepest indication is the change in the Church’s expenditure and focus on charity, which now centers on what  benefits Mr. Cooper most personally. It is a genuine shame that another great American institution has been acquired by a schemer with narrow goals and a short-term horizon.

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BestWatches007

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elphberg
elphberg

Cooper is complex fellow.  He is caught in a classic cognitive dissonance situation, and elects not to grow past it, but to selectively ignore those concepts, events, people &c. who challenge his — somehow rather pedestrian — view of things.

owsspawg
owsspawg

OWS Spag Update on occupy trinity, just found out that a women from trinity church, most likely Linda Hamlin, from there PR department came out to the protest today, to ask who the medic was then proceeded to take copies of the village voice article about Rector Cooper, and toss them into the trash bins on trinity church grounds, also all the village voice news bins were empty around trinity church when only a few hours earlier thy had copies in them we suspect that the same women from trinity and others went to them took them and throw them out also I guess the Village Voice article hit home with it truth, score one for Truth, Justice and the Village Voice.PS, if anyone from the village voice see the post please drop off copies to protesters at trinity church, we will be more then happy to make sure the public see the paper, so the public can fourm there own opinion.Apollo OWS Special Projects Affinity Group and OWS Outreach Work

LorenHart
LorenHart

Even with all the criticism I've heard of Reverend James Cooper and other decision-makers at Trinity Wall Street, I was shocked to read that, "In recent years, spending on the church's music programming has exceeded its charitable giving. The church spends nearly twice its philanthropy budget on publicity alone." What!? I'd like to hear Trinity's response to those who suggest their priorities are upside down. It's unfortunate that Cooper and Trinity chose not to offer their perspective for this article. Thanks to Nick Pinto and the Village Voice for this eye-opening look into the inner workings of Trinity Wall Street.

Michael
Michael

Everybody lighten up. Lets get a couple of WASPY looking women, some cosmopolitans & scotch and party.  Do a couple of lines of coke.  Mass orgy.  Everybody will feel better. America is going down the toilet anyway.

Cassidy
Cassidy

Disgusting.  And the congregation knows nothing -- or approves, even if just tacitly??

 
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