Baptist Union overwhelmingly votes for divestment from fossil fuels


Operation Noah joyfully welcomes the decision of the Baptist Union to divest from fossil fuels.

Today, Baptist Union Council members overwhelmingly passed a divestment resolution with a 98.5 per cent majority.

The proposal had been brought to Council by Revd Dr Dave Gregory, Convenor of the Baptist Union’s Environmental Network, and was co-authored by John Levick, the Baptist Union Treasurer, as a practical commitment towards climate justice ahead of COP26.

Revd Dr Dave Gregory, Convenor of the Baptist Union’s Environmental Network

Following the debate, the updated wording of the Baptist Union investment policy now reads: “We will therefore avoid investment in companies with significant trading in: the extraction, production and refining of oil, gas, tar sand and coal.”

The Baptist Union had previously already divested from coal and tar sands in March 2019. It becomes the fourth UK Church denomination to commit to full divestment, following similar steps by Quakers in Britain, the Church of Ireland and the United Reformed Church.

When proposing the resolution, Revd Dr Gregory emphasised that this step ‘enables us to walk more firmly with our partners in the gospel in light of the climate crisis which affects the whole ‘community of creation’, both human and others, across the world today and threatens the order of creation into the future.’

He added that it would also be a significant step to achieving net zero carbon as a movement, as well as giving Baptists a stronger voice in encouraging others in the UK and across the world to rise to the challenge of the climate crisis in this decade.

Lucy Tiller, intern for the Joint Public Issues Team, spoke powerfully in support of the resolution: ‘Today I’m asking you to use your financial resources and your moral leadership to stand alongside young people and groups already affected by climate chaos.’

Following the presentations many Council members spoke passionately in support of divestment. Several highlighted how churches in their Associations had asked them to support the motion. A number of Baptist churches have already divested, including Devonport Baptist Church in Plymouth and High Street Baptist Church in Tring.

Revd Dr Gregory, a former meteorologist at the Met Office and the European Weather Centre, said: ‘It was inspiring to hear so many voices from across the generations and different parts of the Baptist Together family recognising the importance of the decision to divest from fossil fuels, and agreeing that this was the way we need to walk with Jesus together in the face of the climate and environmental crisis which for many in our world is an immediate climate emergency.’

James Buchanan, Bright Now Campaign Manager at Operation Noah, said: ‘We are delighted that the Baptist Union has decided to divest from fossil fuels. As the UK prepares to host COP26, the Baptist Union’s leadership and support for a just and green recovery is hugely welcome. We hope that other UK Churches will also divest from fossil fuels and invest in the clean technologies of the future.’

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