Church divestment

church divestmentOne of the most encouraging things going on as far as climate change is concerned is church divestment from fossil fuels.  Despite the lack of interest of the ordinary member in the pew in the environment (and lets be honest there isn’t much), church leadership worldwide is getting more concerned.  Concerned enough to lead to church divestment by selling their (normally very profitable) stakes in oil, gas and coal companies.

There are analogies here to slavery.  Whilst they are not exact, they are there.  Like slavery the church has been both slow on the uptake and leading the charge.  A small number of Christians (initially) wanted to abolish slavery seeing the immense human damage it caused.  Again there are a small number of Christians who have led the way on the environment.  Climate change will cause huge damage to humanity.  However, as with slavery there are huge vested interests lined against change.  Those who opposed change used the same arguments of economic dependence used today.  We couldn’t manage economically without slaves and we cannot without fossil fuels.  Those in the 1800’s had got used to cheaper clothes and sugar due to the use of slaves.  The analogy is obvious.  It took a lot of guts to oppose the economic system then and it does now.

Church divestment in fossil fuels seems to me an act of faith as was Christian opposition to slavery.  It seemed like madness at the time but was the right thing to do.  There is one major difference though, the number of slaves seemed infinite.   Fossil fuels will run out one day.


Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Heb 11v1

Church divestment so far (not exhaustive).

Church of Sweden
Church of England
World council of churches
URC Scotland
Uniting Church in Australia
United Church of Christ

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