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MA United Church of Christ passes divestment resolution

We’re excited to announce that just a few weeks ago, our friends at the Massachusetts conference of the United Church of Christ passed a resolution calling for divestment from fossil fuels. Led by Rev. Jim Antal, the group will bring this resolution to a vote at the UCC National Synod this July. 

Here’s a quick note from Rev. Antal to give this resolution some context: The UCC polity is such that we have little hierarchy, but the plus side of that is that every one of our 5,200 or so congregations can engage this conversation and express an opinion, and their conversation (I hope) might cause them to ENDORSE our resolution before our national gathering in June. Unlike universities, each congregation does NOT have an endowment (although many/most do). In terms of organizing, what I’m up to is trying to spark as many conversations throughout our 5,200 churches as possible. I’m engaged with a few folks (investors and scholars) on whether the scientific consensus around climate change compels investment managers to factor into their fiduciary responsibility an obligation to divest, since retaining the investment is not to the benefit of their clients.

Below is an article cross-posted from the MACUCC website outlining the announcement

Board of Directors votes to bring resolution to Synod calling for divestment from fossil fuel companies

12/11/2012

The Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Conference voted Monday night to bring a resolution to General Synod calling on all settings of the United Church of Christ and its 1.2 million members to divest from fossil fuel companies.

“Humanity is ready to take action. The UCC is ready to lead,” said Conference Minister and President The Rev. Dr. Jim Antal. “We can’t continue to profit from wrecking God’s creation – not through our pensions, not through our endowments, not by our personal investments. As Jesus said: ‘where your treasure is, there is your heart also.’”

Antal believes the Board’s vote makes the Massachusetts Conference the first religious body to join a fledgling divestment movement that has begun to gain traction on college campuses, including at Hampshire College in Massachusetts and Unity College in Maine.

The movement has largely been inspired by the climate change organization 350.org and its leader, Bill McKibben, who urged divestment in a Rolling Stones article this summer and has just finished touring the country and speaking to sold-out halls, working to spark divestment initiatives.

The effort is modeled on the successful work in the 1980s that led colleges and other institutions to divest themselves of the stocks of companies doing business in South Africa under apartheid. The United Church of Christ was part of that movement, with national General Synods passing four related resolutions between 1983 and 1989.

Antal said McKibben’s article inspired him to write this resolution and bring it to the Conference Board of Directors. He is confident that other UCC Conferences will sign on as co-sponsors before the resolution is brought to the General Synod in July, 2013. More….