Oxford Diocesan Synod has passed a resolution urging the Church of England’s National Investing Bodies to divest from fossil fuel companies. The resolution was passed with a majority of 52 in favour, with 37 against and seven abstentions.
Speaking just after the resolution was passed, Revd Darrell Hannah said:
“I’m overjoyed. We had a good debate with good points on both sides. People recognise the ambiguities of the issue, the importance of the issue, the urgency of the moment, and I’m very pleased the vote went the way it did. Oxford Diocese, true to its history, is challenging the Church of England as a whole to take seriously the threat of climate change and what we as Christians do about it.”
Operation Noah’s Vice-Chair, Mark Letcher, said:
“This resolution demonstrates how seriously local churches and dioceses are taking the issue of disinvestment. Following recent commitments from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, a national pension fund in Sweden, and the University of Glasgow, the decision today increases the pressure on the Church of England – which still has over £60 million invested in fossil fuel companies – to disinvest.”
The resolution was a private member’s motion moved by the Revd Dr Darrell Hannah and seconded by the Revd Hugh Lee, and was based on a similar motion passed by Bracknell Deanery earlier this year. The resolution calls for disinvestment from coal and tar sands ‘at the earliest opportunity’, from oil in three years, and from natural gas in five years.
The Diocese has also expressed its commitment to reviewing its own investments. Revd Darrell Hannah said:
“It was made clear in the debate by the diocesan officers that the Diocese of Oxford could not call on the Church of England to disinvest and not do the same itself. The Diocese will thus in the coming weeks and months begin the process of deciding how best to do this.”
The Diocese of Oxford joins a growing number of fossil-free Churches and faith communities around the world, now including the World Council of Churches, the Church of Sweden, Quakers in Britain, the Uniting Church of Australia, the Presbyterian Church in New Zealand and the United Church of Christ in the US. Three Australian and five New Zealand Anglican dioceses have also disinvested, while the Anglican Church in Australia has passed a motion recommending divestment to all its member churches.
Ellie Roberts, divestment campaigner for Operation Noah said:
“We are delighted that Oxford has joined faith communities from all regions of the globe in refusing to profit from or provide finance to the fossil fuel industry. Fossil fuel companies continue to base their business strategies on ever greater expansion and use of fossil fuel reserves, despite the fact that the vast majority of existing reserves must remain in the ground to preserve the viability of our planet. By disinvesting, Churches are sending the clearest possible signal to fossil companies that they need to completely rethink their business strategies now. They also demonstrate their commitment to stand with the poorest and most vulnerable communities, who are already suffering the impacts of climate change.”
For more information about Operation Noah’s campaign to divest UK churches from fossil fuels, visit: brightnow.org.uk
Updated on 17th November