Portland, OR—49 scholars, both United Methodist and teaching at United Methodist-affiliated institutions, have released an open letter to General Conference delegates, calling them to support legislation to add fossil fuels to the church’s socially responsible investment screens. The list of signators will be updated if others respond.

Delegates at General Conference 2016 will consider legislation adding coal, petroleum and natural gas to the socially responsible investment screens in the Book of Discipline and Book of Resolutions. This legislation is supported by the General Board of Global Ministries and 10 annual conferences.

The full text of the letter is below. For more information, contact Rev. Jenny Phillips, Fossil Free UMC Coordinator at fossilfreeumc@gmail.com.


Dear Delegates to General Conference 2016:

We write to you as scholars who are United Methodist and/or teach or have taught at United Methodist schools. Two years ago, many of us signed a statement calling for faith communities to divest from the fossil fuel industry. The statement noted that when an industry causes massive harm while intractably resisting calls for change, faith communities have moved beyond education, engagement and advocacy to divestment. Because of the grave threat of climate change and the fossil fuel sector’s unyielding refusal to change, the church must stop profiting from companies that are creating ecological destruction and human suffering on a titanic scale.

As we approach General Conference, we reaffirm the call for religious institutions—including The United Methodist Church—to stop investing in the fossil fuel industry. In the two years since religious scholars first called for fossil fuel divestment on moral grounds, our colleagues in the scientific community have underscored the deep urgency of the climate crisis. From the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report of unprecedented agreement among scientists that continued warming will dramatically impact all life on this planet, to the journal, Nature’s recent prediction that without dramatic action, there will be massive sea level rise by the end of the century, it’s clear that religious scholars must again sound the moral alarm and call for action.

Despite clear scientific evidence of the dangers of business as usual, the fossil fuel industry continues to invest in exploration and new infrastructure while blocking policy that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and obscuring the facts about climate change.

Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart shall be also” (Matthew 6:21). As a matter of life, and because we believe in a just and loving Creator, we urge you to support legislation to add fossil fuels to The United Methodist Church’s socially responsible investment screens.

In Christ,

(See blog post for up-to-date list of signators.)

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