Blog Archive: Methodist Church Archives - Bright Now




Methodist Church takes a step closer to divestment

The annual Methodist Conference has this week voted for the principle of withdrawing investments from fossil fuel companies whose plans are at odds with the Paris Agreement on climate change. Read more




Scale & pace of divestment grows following latest commitments

Welcome news this month as the pace of fossil fuel divestment continues to quicken. In September pledges to divest passed $2.6 trillion, and People and Planet have just announced that 8 new higher education institutions have divested. In all commitments to divest have increased more than 50 fold over the last year. Read more




Methodist Conference votes overwhelmingly to disinvest from coal and tar sands

Today, the Conference of the Methodist Church in Britain voted unanimously to disinvest from coal and tar sands by 2017. The Conference also asked the Church’s ethical investment body to report back on possible further disinvestment from other fossil fuels by 2016.

This follows a revised policy on climate change and investment published by the Methodist Church earlier this year, which set criteria for disinvesting from coal and tar sands but did not make an explicit commitment to take immediate action.

Those speaking during the debate argued for disinvestment from an industry that has failed to respond to climate change for more than 20 years, threatening to push the global climate beyond 2 degrees C warming. One representative from West Yorkshire Methodist District, which earlier this year voted overwhelmingly for the Church to disinvest from coal, oil and gas, said, ‘The argument for disinvestment is based on the gospel imperative to love our neighbour. How can we love God if we fail to halt the threat to the Earth he created?’

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Urge your Church of England and Methodist Church representatives to support disinvestment this summer!

In June and July this year, the Church of England General Synod and Methodist Conference will debate fossil fuel investments. You can strengthen this debate and encourage the Churches to make progress towards disinvestment by asking your representatives to vote and speak in favour of disinvestment.

You can also support the campaign by praying, on Thursday 2nd July (Methodist debate) and Monday 13th July (Church of England debate), for those speaking in the debates and for a positive outcome.

Church of England

Over the last year, the Dioceses of Oxford and Birmingham have passed resolutions urging the Church to disinvest. In response to these and other calls from local churches, the Church recently published a new policy on climate change. This includes disinvestment of £12 million from coal and tar sands, but also states that the Church will continue to engage with, and invest in, other fossil fuel companies. On 13th July, General Synod will debate this policy. They will also vote on an amendment asking the Church to strengthen this policy by making further progress towards disinvestment. You can support disinvestment by asking your General Synod representatives to vote and speak in favour of this amendment.

Please also invite your Synod members to come along to our fringe event on Sunday 12 July from 1 – 2.15pm, where we’ll explore the case for disinvestment from fossil fuels. Download the flyer here – Fossil Fuels – Is there a case for disinvestment. Read more




Methodist Church edges towards fossil fuel disinvestment but fails to commit

In a new climate change policy, the Methodist Church has set criteria for excluding tar sands and thermal coal companies, but fails to join a growing list of fossil free churches, public bodies and leading charitable trusts by sending a clear signal that it will disinvest.

The policy, ‘Climate Change – Ethical Implications for Different Fuels’, suggests that the Methodist Church is considering the possibility of disinvestment, stating that it may exclude companies devoted to tar sands or thermal coal production, as well as those exploring new reserves which, if burned, will reduce the likelihood of reaching emissions reduction targets. However, it also suggests that the Church will continue to engage with fossil fuel companies, despite shareholder engagement strategies over the last several decades failing to convince companies to make major changes. Companies such as Shell have explicitly committed to increase their exploration and extraction of fossil fuels, and to continue developing unconventional extraction methods such as Arctic drilling.

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US United Methodist Church’s Pension Fund screens coal from its investments

The United Methodist Church’s (UMC) General Board of Pension and Health Benefits has decided to screen coal from its investments.

Revd Jenny Phillips, coordinator of Fossil Free UMC, commends the decision: ‘Creating a coal investment screen is more than an act of fiduciary duty. It’s a bold expression of the United Methodist Church’s values. As a denomination, we can’t continue to say we’re against climate change while saying we’re for fossil fuel profits. The General Board of Pension and Health Benefits is taking the first step in acknowledging that investing in fossil fuels undermines the United Methodist Church’s ministries with the most vulnerable among us. Our denomination is on the front lines of climate change mitigation and recovery efforts worldwide. It doesn’t make sense for our pensions and ministries to depend on the flourishing of the companies that are wreaking this havoc’. Read more