Divesting Your Congregation – Resource
Thanks to our friends at Trinity-St. Paul’s United Church for putting together and sharing this great resource about their Fossil Fuel Divestment experience:
Welcome to the story of Trinity St. Paul’s United Church’s journey of divestment of our congregational funds from fossil fuels. We hope you’ll learn from our reflections on our story and our activities!
To put this resource together, we reflected on the challenges we faced, as well as the questions we asked ourselves and those we heard from others, as we moved towards divestment. Are any of these questions also YOUR questions? We’ve described the actions we took and the lessons we learned, with the hope that you can adapt our learnings to your own context.
Just click on your areas of interest to get started!
|We’re a small congregation. Can we do this?
Learn how TSP’s Climate Justice Group spread tasks among ourselves to ease the load.
|We’re committed to helping our congregation take a stand, but we’re not experts in divestment. How do we build the knowledge we need?
We share how we drew on numerous external resources to build our knowledge.
|How can we help our congregation understand the faith and justice rationales for divestment?
Explore TSP’s engagement of our broader congregational community to address climate justice.
|What is a realistic timeline for the divestment process? What do our Board and financial officers need to know?
Learn more about the key stages in TSP’s divestment and reinvestment process.
|The church across town has asked us for advice. How should we respond?What is our role in the global climate movement?||What are some other climate actions we can take as individuals? As a congregation?
Learn about other green initiatives at TSP.
See the original resource on the TSP website by clicking below.
Anglican General Synod faces Divestment Vote
“You Are My Witnesses” (Isaiah 43:10)
At the 41st General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada from July 7-12, 2016 the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa will bring forward an invitation to all General Synod Delegates to be witnesses through direct and immediate action by supporting resolution C001-Fossil Fuel Divestment.
The time is now.
Climate change is destroying the integrity of God’s creation. It is negatively impacting people, families, youth, industry, agriculture, employment and community throughout Canada and the world.
The situation is urgent.
To maintain a liveable planet 80% of all known fossil fuel deposits must be left in the ground, undeveloped, never burned.
Our church, at this integral point in history, has an opportunity to contribute to the fulfillment of our baptismal promise to safeguard the integrity of God’s creation by divesting in the fossil fuel industry and beginning to actively invest in renewable energy. Such publicized divestment not only witnesses to people of faith but also aims to press governments to implement strong policies to shift our economy off fossil fuels and in to industry and workforces that are founded on environmental sustainability.
The time is now.
VIDEO: It’s time to Break Free
It was such a great honour to host this training with Salal and Cedar Watershed Discipleship Community, at Canadian Memorial United Church and Centre For Peace.
Find out more at: http://fossilfreefaith.ca/spiritually-rooted-direct-action…/
Join us to Break Free from Fossil Fuels: http://canada.breakfree2016.org/
Spiritually Rooted Direct Action Training
The training is being hosted by Salal and Cedar and Fossil Free Faith, at Canadian Memorial United Church and Centre for Peace. With training being provided by 350.org and Greenpeace.
Anglican Diocese of Quebec Divests
DIOCESE OF QUÉBEC: DIVESTMENT REPORT: 23 November 2015
Some aspects of the Governance of the Diocese of Québec differ from that of most or all other dioceses because of its time and place in pre-Confederation history. Within this Diocese, responsibility for investments rests within the mandate of an entity called Church Society of the Diocese of Québec. Church Society exercises this part of its role through an Investment Committee of professionals who volunteer their time and expertise.
Following the direction of motions passed at the annual general meeting of Church Society, the Investment Committee began four years ago to divest from its mining holdings, given the serious ethical concerns raised around environmental and human rights issues.
In 2014 a motion passed at the Church Society called on the Investment Committee to review its fossil fuel holdings and present back to Church Society. (This motion was forwarded to the CMWG earlier this year.)
During that year, extensive documentation on the impacts of fossil fuel exploration, extraction, transformation and transportation were forwarded to the chair of the Investment Committee, Central Board (which governs Church Society) and the Diocesan Executive Council. Documents collected came from such diverse sources as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, Governor of the Bank of England, World Council of Churches, The Anglican Consultative Communion and the writings of Pope Francis. (This is but a small sampling of the total research made available from international and national environmental, financial and church bodies.)
At Church Society’s annual general meeting of 2015 Diocesan Bishop Dennis Drainville, President of Church Society, issued a letter in follow up to the various motions, review of holdings and research. (This letter was forwarded to the CMWG earlier this year.)
On 23 September 2015, the Investment Committee of the Diocese of Québec was pleased to report that divestment from fossil fuels and mineral extraction was almost complete.
On 23 November 2015, the Investment Committee was able to provide the details of the divestment process.
Over the past 4 years, $525,000 dollars in gold and copper mining operations have been divested.
Over the past 2 years, $1.4 million dollars in oil and gas have been divested.
$320,000 remain in fossil fuels as that financial instrument has not reached maturity. By year end, the committee expects to be 100% divested.
On 26 November 2015 Bishop Drainville shared this good news within his charge to Synod.
The Diocese will continue work on this critical issue as part of its commitment to the Fifth Mark of Mission.
From COP21 – The Local and the Global
Paris is a long way from the places that I call home. Trying to schedule phone calls with my partner and kids back home, with a 9-hour time difference, has served as a regular reminder of this.
During graduate school, one of my favourite theologians was a Brazilian Catholic nun named Ivone Gebara. An eco-feminist and liberation theologian, Gebara lit fires and connected dots for me.
In her book, Longing for Running Water, Gebara talks about God as relatedness, and she talks about relatedness as a human and earthly condition. She says,
“My initial relationship with the earth is not with Earth as a planet that is part of the solar system, but with the earth on which I took my first steps; on which, in time, I took firmer steps; and on which I jumped, rolled, and shed tears. My initial relatedness with the earth is with the soil upon which I was born and through which all my other relationships have been mediated.”
Before this trip I spent a lot of time considering what value my localized climate work had at a global meeting like the COP. Here where we’re talking about:
- Long-term climate reduction targets (Canada needs to get back on track to meet our 2020 targets, and make ambitious but achievable plans to decarbonizes by 2050)
- Mechanisms to limit global warming levels (nearly all countries have committed to a max 2-degree increase, but the combined plans that they have submitted amount to a 2.7-degree increase, and the reality is that anything over 1.5 degrees is fatal for large, climate-vulnerable regions)
- Billions of dollars to support mitigation and adaptation efforts globally (the additional call from impacted regions is for increased funds for ‘loss and damages’ for the climate impacts that they, with their low carbon footprint, didn’t cause but are feeling most)
- Legally binding commitments, 5-year commitment periods, adequate assessment, and a progression clause to ensure commitments scale up over time.
None of this is familiar language to me. It feels worlds away, not just 9 hours away, from the earth on which I took my first steps. World away from, but related to, our fights at home to block risky pipelines on Indigenous lands, and reduce tanker traffic on pristine coast, and prevent massive investment in infrastructure projects that lock us into the old economy, and make clear that fracking natural gas is not a climate solution.
At a Monday panel on faith-based engagement on the climate crisis, Fazlun Khalid, from the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences (IFEES), spoke about how the world’s water supplies are limited and constantly recirculating. And he said for him the poignant realization out of that reality is that you and I have probably drank the same water, swam in the same water, bathed in the same water.
I am in Paris to protect my beloved Pacific Coast, and to amplify the voices of the Indigenous people whose land I call home, to defend the future for my children. And I am in Paris to protect your coasts, to listen to the voices of impacted communities everywhere, to defend the future for your children too.
If I am homesick, it is amplified by the depth of love that activists and advocates here have for their own homes, their own earth and soil. It is a reminder of why this, and all of our climate justice work, matters.
Christine Boyle is one of the United Church of Canada’s delegates to COP21. She is the Director of Spirited Social Change, and a co-founder of Fossil Free Faith. She is based on unceded Coast Salish Territory. You can follow her COP21 tweets @christineeboyle or see pictures here.