26

Jun

2020

100+ Methodist ministers call for divestment ahead of Methodist Conference

 

A group of 260 Methodists, including 114 ministers and 146 lay people, have signed a letter calling on the Central Finance Board of the Methodist Church to complete divestment from fossil fuels.

The letter was written and coordinated by Michael Pryke and Martha Rand on behalf of Methodist youth (3Generate) representatives. Signatories of the letter include Revd John Howard (former Chair of the Methodist Church’s Joint Advisory Committee on the Ethics of Investment (JACEI)), Revd Dr Inderjit Bhogal and Revd Mark Wakelin (former Presidents of the Methodist Conference), Jennifer Carpenter (former Vice President of the Methodist Conference), Revd Ian Howarth (Chair of Birmingham District) and Revd Mark Slaney (Chair of Scotland District).

Methodist Central Hall, Westminster  (Photo credit: museumsandheritage.com)

The letter has been published in the Methodist Recorder today, coinciding with the start of the 2020 Methodist Conference. It follows the publication of a report from the Church’s Joint Advisory Committee on the Ethics of Investment (JACEI), in response to a Notice of Motion on fossil fuel divestment passed at the Methodist Conference in 2017.

The 2017 Conference passed a Notice of Motion asking JACEI to report to Conference, with the expectation that ‘if any [fossil fuel] company in which the Church invests has not aligned their business investment plans with the Paris Agreement target of a global temperature rise well below 2 degrees, there would be a recommendation that the Church disinvest from such a company by the 2020 Conference’.

Earlier this month, the Central Finance Board of the Methodist Church announced its decision to divest from BP and Total, but continue investing in four oil companies: Shell, Repsol, Eni and Equinor.

In its report to the 2020 Methodist Conference, the Joint Advisory Committee on the Ethics of Investment (JACEI) concluded that these four companies ‘are aligned, or are close to being aligned, with the Paris Agreement’.

The letter signed by the group of 260 Methodists highlights that JACEI has not fully implemented the Notice of Motion passed by Conference in 2017, which called for divestment from oil and gas companies that are not aligned with the Paris Agreement targets by 2020. It mentions that the Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI), a project supported by the Central Finance Board, published a new report last month showing that none of the oil and gas companies are aligned with the Paris Agreement targets.

Michael Pryke, former Methodist Youth President and coordinator of the letter, said: ‘It’s brilliant that 260 people have signed this letter calling for divestment, including former Presidents and Vice Presidents of the Methodist Conference. The Methodist Church cannot afford to lag behind in our response to the climate emergency, and clearly many Methodists want the Central Finance Board to take action and divest now.’

Full letter: Methodist Conference and JACEI paper on climate change and fossil fuels

To the Editor of the Methodist Recorder

Madam,

Earlier this month, the Central Finance Board of the Methodist Church announced that it had divested its shares in the major oil companies BP and Total, following advice from the Joint Advisory Committee on the Ethics of Investment (JACEI). This is a welcome step forward. However, the decision to continue investing in four oil and gas companies – Shell, Repsol, ENI and Equinor – means that the Notice of Motion on divestment passed at Methodist Conference in 2017 has not been fully implemented.

The JACEI report to the 2020 Conference states that ‘there is still a lack of sufficient urgency in tackling climate change’. However, it places no ethical restriction on investment in Shell, Repsol, ENI and Equinor, arguing that these companies ‘are aligned, or are close to being aligned, with the Paris Agreement’.

The Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI), a project launched by the Church of England, and supported by the Central Finance Board of the Methodist Church, published a new report last month which found that none of the major oil companies are aligned with the Paris Agreement targets. It found that only four companies are aligned with the ‘Paris pledges’ (or nationally determined contributions, NDCs) made by governments ahead of the UN climate talks in 2015. The ‘Paris pledges’ would lead to between 2.9°C and 3.4°C of human-induced warming – thus triggering feedback loops such as melting permafrost and leading to further, potentially unstoppable warming.

Between now and 2030, major oil companies plan to increase fossil fuel production and spend huge sums on exploration and extraction of new reserves, some of which are supported through subsidies by governments. Carbon Tracker’s 2019 Breaking the Habit report shows that all major oil companies – including Shell, Repsol, ENI and Equinor – continue to sanction projects that are not Paris compliant. This has continued even at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. For instance, Shell approved a massive $6.4 billion fossil gas project in Australia in April.

3Generate (The Methodist Children and Youth Assembly) has consistently brought the issue of the climate crisis to the attention of the Methodist Church and we have seen the concern of young people across the world on this key issue. Young people have led the way in calling for action and we believe now is the moment for the Methodist Church to respond.

Methodist Conference in 2017 voted to support a motion asking JACEI to report to Conference, with the expectation that ‘if any [fossil fuel] company in which the Church invests has not aligned their business investment plans with the Paris Agreement target of a global temperature rise well below 2 degrees, there would be a recommendation that the Church disinvest from such a company by the 2020 Conference’.

In order to implement this resolution, the Central Finance Board of the Methodist Church must now fully divest from all fossil fuel companies, since no oil and gas companies have aligned their business investment plans with the Paris Agreement goals. We urge the Methodist Conference to support full divestment when it meets later this month.

This letter has been written and signed by:

Martha Rand & Michael Pryke (On behalf of the 3Generate Representatives)

It has been signed by the following Presbyters, Deacons & Lay people:

Revd Dr Inderjit Bhogal, Former President of the Methodist Conference, Birmingham District

Revd Dr Mark Wakelin, Former President of the Methodist Conference, London District

Jennifer M Carpenter, Former Vice President of the Methodist Conference, Sheffield District

Revd John Howard, Former Chair of the Joint Advisory Committee on the Ethics of Investment (JACEI), Darlington District

Revd Mark Slaney, Chair of Scotland District

Revd Ian Howarth, Chair of Birmingham District

Revd Dr Neil Johnson, Deputy Chair of Birmingham District

Revd Andy Fyall, Deputy Chair of Northampton District

Phoebe Parkin, Youth President Designate, Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury District

Ruth Parrott, Vice President of Methodist Women in Britain, Chester and Stoke-on-Trent District

Revd Donald Eadie, Former Chair of Birmingham District

Revd John Churcher, Beds, Essex & Herts District

Revd Rosemary Fletcher, Beds, Essex & Herts District

Revd Andrew Hollins, Beds, Essex & Herts District

Revd Peter Hudson, Beds, Essex & Herts District

Revd Dr David H Mullins, Beds, Essex & Herts District

Revd Mark Pengelly, Beds, Essex & Herts District

Revd Colin Rowe, Beds, Essex & Herts District

Revd Jenny Spouge, Beds, Essex & Herts District

Revd David Winwood, Beds, Essex & Herts District

Revd Linda Atkin, Birmingham District

Deacon Angie Allport, Birmingham District

Revd Mary Austin, Birmingham District

Revd David Butterworth, Birmingham District

Revd Helen Caine, Birmingham District

Revd Peter Grimwood, Birmingham District

Revd Caz Hague, Birmingham District

Revd Dr Gary Hall, Birmingham District

Revd David Haslam, Birmingham District

Revd Caroline Homan, Birmingham District

Revd Katherine Pickering, Birmingham District

Revd Alison Richards, Birmingham District

Deacon Kerry Scarlett, Birmingham District

Revd Stuart Wild, Bolton and Rochdale District

Revd Andrew Biggs, Bristol District

Revd Naomi Cooke, Bristol District

Revd Margaret Crawshaw, Bristol District

Revd Jill Flowers, Bristol District

Revd John Hellyer, Bristol District

Revd Rachel Leather, Bristol District

Revd Deborah Mallett, Bristol District

Deacon Sue Peat, Bristol District

Revd Stuart Radford, Bristol District

Revd Noel Sharp, Bristol District

Revd Richard Sharples, Bristol District

Revd Sally Spencer, Bristol District

Revd Phil Summers, Bristol District

Revd Simon Topping, Bristol District

Revd Wendy Tucker, Bristol District

Revd Jayne Webb, Bristol District

Revd Linda Catlow, Chester and Stoke-on-Trent District

Revd Tim Cooke, Cumbria District

Revd Ian Parker, Cumbria District

Revd Jo Rand, Cumbria District

Revd Graham Ransom, Cumbria District

Revd Keith Borwick, Lancashire District

Revd Steve Charman, Lancashire District

Revd Kara Cooper, Lancashire District

Revd Michael Fielding, Lancashire District

Revd Geoffrey Hays, Lancashire District

Deacon Kathy Hays, Lancashire District

Elaine Morphet, Lancashire District

Revd Rick Ormrod, Lancashire District

Revd Marian Taylor, Lancashire District

Revd Phil Taylor, Lancashire District

Revd Jane Wild, Lancashire District

Revd Nichola Jones, Lincolnshire District

Revd John Barnett, Liverpool District

Revd David Copley, Liverpool District

Revd John Hayes, London District

Revd Dr Andy Lyons, London District

Revd Steve Penrose, London District

Revd Cathy Bird, Manchester and Stockport District

Deacon Michelle Goddard, Manchester and Stockport District

Revd David Hardman, Manchester and Stockport District

Revd George Hardman, Manchester and Stockport District

Revd Will Hunter, Manchester and Stockport District

Revd Raj Patta, Manchester and Stockport District

Revd Ian Rutherford, Manchester and Stockport District

Deacon Annette Sharp, Manchester and Stockport District

Revd David Warnock, Manchester and Stockport District

Revd Dr Caroline Wickens, Manchester and Stockport District

Revd John Anderson, Northampton District

Revd Robert Anning, Northampton District

Simeon Mitchell, Northampton District

Revd Richard Byass, Nottingham and Derby District

Deacon Hilary Smith, Plymouth and Exeter District

Revd Ian Anderson, Scotland District

Revd Walter Attwood, Scotland District

Revd Clare E.M. Burl, Scotland District

Revd Chris Jackson, Scotland District

Revd Stephanie Njeru, Scotland District

Revd Elizabeth Oliver, Scotland District

Revd Mary Patterson, Scotland District

Revd Julia Reid, Scotland District

Revd William Seymour, Scotland District

Revd Tim Thorpe, Scotland District

Revd Martin Williams, Scotland District

Revd Joy Adams, Sheffield District

Revd Tim Crome, Sheffield District

Revd Debora Marschner, Sheffield District

Revd James Morley, Sheffield District

Revd David Willie, Sheffield District

Revd Liz Wills, Sheffield District

Revd Peter Clark, Southampton District

Revd Cecil King, Southampton District

Revd Andy Lowe, South East District

Revd Dan Woodhouse, South East District

Revd Marty Presdee, Synod Cymru

Revd John Newbury, Synod Cymru

Deacon Gwenllian Knighton, Wales Synod

Revd Jo Cox-Darling, Wolverhampton & Shrewsbury District

Revd Liam Dacre-Davis, Wolverhampton & Shrewsbury District

Revd Dr Peter Levitt, Wolverhampton & Shrewsbury District

Revd Rosie Coles, Yorkshire North and East District

Revd Sarah Jemison, Yorkshire West District

Revd Dr Roberta Topham, Yorkshire West District

Revd Andrew Webb, Yorkshire West District

Dr Mary Groves, Beds, Essex & Herts District

Ros Hancock, Beds, Essex & Herts District

Geoff Joels, Beds, Essex & Herts District

Sheridan Pengelly, Beds, Essex & Herts District

Mark Boulton OBE, Birmingham District

Dr Gillian Chowns, Birmingham District

Jane Collett, Birmingham District

John Cooper, Birmingham District

Andrew Coulson, Birmingham District

Judy Coulson, Birmingham District

Carolyn Evans, Birmingham District

Charlotte Hambly, Birmingham District

Evelyn Ho, Birmingham District

Dr Lim Ho, Birmingham District

David Oldham, Birmingham District

Helen Oldham, Birmingham District

Ian Pickering, Birmingham District

David Richards, Birmingham District

Aaron Smith, Birmingham District

Karen Burridge, Bristol District

Matthew Flowers, Bristol District

Mark Mallett, Bristol District

Margaret Marshall, Bristol District

Rachel Hinchliffe, Channel Islands District

Terry Green, Chester and Stoke-on-Trent District

Leanne Lovatt, Chester and Stoke-on-Trent District

Dr Euan McPhee, Cornwall District

Wynona Wright, Cornwall District

Dorothy Coxon, Cumbria District

Keith Coxon, Cumbria District

Barbara Crompton, Cumbria District

Hazel Edmondson, Cumbria District

Irene McKay, Cumbria District

Sue Millard, Cumbria District

Paul Rand, Cumbria District

Ruth Webster, Cumbria District

Penny Sunderland, Darlington District

Becca Ainsworth, Lancashire District

Prof Gordon Blair, Lancashire District

Dr Lynne Blair, Lancashire District

Gill Burgess, Lancashire District

Elizabeth Davis, Lancashire District

Mary Gregson, Lancashire District

Neville Gregson, Lancashire District

Alan L Hackett, Lancashire District

Matthew Hays, Lancashire District

Ronan Hays, Lancashire District

John Livesey, Lancashire District

Marie Livesey, Lancashire District

Alison Love, Lancashire District

Ian Love, Lancashire District

Deborah Macnamara, Lancashire District

Jenny Mayor, Lancashire District

Susan Pye, Lancashire District

Olive Rackley, Lancashire District

Jan Rainford, Lancashire District

Alison Ransome, Lancashire District

Simon Skidmore, Lancashire District

Simon Stewart, Lancashire District

Verity Wild, Lancashire District

Roxanne Bromley, Lincolnshire District

Michael Joyce, Lincolnshire District

Naomi Dyer, Liverpool District

Anthony Boateng, London District

Pamela Coles, London District

Marion West, London District

Sandra Dutson, Manchester and Stockport District

Mary Sharples, Manchester and Stockport District

Fiona Kendall, Mission Partner

Howard Burchell, Newcastle District

Margaret Burchell, Newcastle District

Gwyneth Robinson, Newcastle District

Gillian Smith, Newcastle District

Jenny Ayres, Northampton District

Gemma Curtis, Northampton District

Jo Kay, Northampton District

Naomi Prince, Northampton District

Ruth Pryke, Northampton District

Paul Spray, Northampton District

James Carver, Nottingham and Derby District

Alice McGregor, Nottingham and Derby District

Ray Sutton, Nottingham and Derby District

Mike Dennis, Plymouth and Exeter District

Abigail Hardiman, Plymouth and Exeter District

Steve Hardiman, Plymouth and Exeter District

Sophie Phillips, Plymouth and Exeter District

Anne Baird, Scotland District

Brian Baker, Scotland District

Bill Greasley, Scotland District

Barbara Harrison, Scotland District

Allan Henderson, Scotland District

Hilary Henderson, Scotland District

Graeme Johnson, Scotland District

Annette Kupke, Scotland District

John Lindley, Scotland District

Rachel Martin, Scotland District

Elisha Njeru, Scotland District

Jack Peer, Scotland District

Jane Peer, Scotland District

David Rogerson, Scotland District

Ruth Rogerson, Scotland District

Ann Seymour, Scotland District

Lyn Smalridge, Scotland District

Genevieve Ashton, Sheffield District

Sean Ashton, Sheffield District

Edwin Brown, Sheffield District

Dr Jenny Bywaters, Sheffield District

Mark Carrick, Sheffield District

Vivian Chikaviro, Sheffield District

Sue Donner, Sheffield District

Catherine Ellis, Sheffield District

Michael Ellis, Sheffield District

Dr Anne Hollows, Sheffield District

Gail Hurt, Sheffield District

Judith Jessop, Sheffield District

Paula Jones, Sheffield District

Anne Lawley, Sheffield District

Gillian Moore, Sheffield District

Michael Moore, Sheffield District

Maureen Moulson, Sheffield District

Dr Roger Neale, Sheffield District

Emily Roe, Sheffield District

Margaret Spooner, Sheffield District

Marÿke Turvey, Sheffield District

Nick Waterfield, Sheffield District

David Winkley, Sheffield District

James Jenkins, Southampton District

Beatrice King, Southampton District

Roxanne Bainbridge, Wales Synod

Denis Beaumont, Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury District

Liz Green, Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury District

James Peterson, Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury District

Janice Clark, Yorkshire North and East District

Suzanne Allsop, Yorkshire West District

John D Anderson, Yorkshire West District

John Marshall, Yorkshire West District

Grace McAloon, Yorkshire West District

Christine Peacock, Yorkshire West District

Nic Richardson, Yorkshire West District

Diane Bentin

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