Letter-writing campaign

Hope not smoke: letter-writing campaign to Church investment decision-makers

Operation Noah is calling on supporters to write directly to the Church Commissioners in the Church of England who are responsible for decision making on Church investments. We are aiming for a large number of letters to be sent to demonstrate the growing support for fossil fuel disinvestment among church members. A review of investment policy is currently underway by the Church of England’s Ethical Investment Advisory Group, although this is not due for publication until late 2015. We would like the Church of England to act sooner than this, and most urgently to commit to disinvest from coal and tar sands, the most polluting fossil fuels, without delay.

This decisive act would send a powerful message to governments, investors, companies, shareholders and the general public, that continuing to invest in activities that undermine our future is no longer morally acceptable. It pushes governments to develop tighter legislation to limit the expansion of fossil fuel extraction and to put more resources towards development of renewable clean forms of energy.

We know from other campaigns that letter writing can be a very effective way of bringing about change and conveying a personal message. We are encouraging Christians of all denominations to write as individuals, as groups, or as churches with your church leaders signing. It is best to write your own letter and you can use and adapt our template letters below.

Template letter for a church or group

Template letter from an individual

There is also an alternative letter writing campaign to the Methodist Church in Britain for Methodist supporters.

The letter will have a more powerful impact if it comes from your church, so you can take the draft along to your church committee to discuss and sign. You could also organise a letter-writing workshop after a church service or event to encourage other members of the church to take part. You could also persuade an influential person, such as your bishop or a high-profile person in your area, to send a letter and speak out publicaly about this issue. For further ideas please see our resource on building support.

As part of this campaign there is also an online petition to the Church of England investment bodies calling for disinvestment from fossil fuels. We are encouraging supporters to sign this in addition and to spread the petition widely through their networks and church community as an easy way for people to demonstrate their support and to reinforce the letter-writing campaign.

We also encourage people of other faiths or no faith to take part in this campaign because the Church of England has major influence and can speak for justice and morality in this country. Please sign the petition and you can adapt the template letter accordingly.

Who to write to

There are 33 Church Commissioners and they include the two Archbishops, clergy, laity and state office holders, who together manage a diverse investment portfolio that produces money to support the Church of England’s work across the country. Please address your letter to the Chair of the Assets Committee of the Church Commissioners, Andreas Whittam Smith, at Church House, Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3AZ.

IMPORTANT: To enable us to monitor numbers taking part in the letter-writing campaign please keep us informed about actions you are taking. Please either send in a copy of your letter, or email us to let us know you have sent one. We are aiming for a significant number of letters to be sent by 1st November 2014 when we will be reporting back, although there is no cut-off date and you can still send a letter after this date.

Email: campaigns@operationnoah.org or write to Operation Noah, The Grayston Centre, 28 Charles Square, London N1 6HT.

Letter-writing tips

Here is some further guidance on effective letter writing:

  • Keep your letter short and to the point to ensure that it is read fully.
  • Always be polite and respectful, and highlight the positive aspects.
  • Introduce yourself or your group and where you fit within your church organisation.
  • Clearly state your key request.
  • State why you are really concerned about this issue and why it is important to you as a Christian.
  • Provide key facts to support your issue of concern. You can refer to current reports, articles, research, etc that is available in our resources section.
  • Explain the benefits of acting upon your request, or possible repercussions if no action is taken.
  • Thank the recipient and anticipate a positive response.
  • Remember to send a copy of your letter to Operation Noah or let us know you have sent one.

Thank you for taking part in this campaign.