Fossil Free UMC Commends GBOPHB Decision to Screen Coal from Investments

gbphb_stackedFossil Free UMC commends the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits’ decision to screen coal from its investments. “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,” says Rev. Jenny Phillips, coordinator of Fossil Free UMC. “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,” says Rev. Phillips. “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.”

Fossil Free UMC is a movement of United Methodists who want to add coal, petroleum and natural gas to the list of United Methodist socially responsible investment screens in the Book of Discipline and Book of Resolutions. In 2014, Fossil Free UMC supported successful legislation calling for the study of fossil fuel divestment in the Baltimore-Washington, California-Nevada, Pacific Northwest, and Virginia annual conferences. Now Fossil Free UMC is working with and seeking leaders in other annual conferences and central conferences to ask their 2015 conferences to endorse legislation for General Conference 2016 adding coal, petroleum and natural gas to the denomination’s investment screens. To learn more, contact Rev. Jenny Phillips at, and visit

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5 Comments on "Fossil Free UMC Commends GBOPHB Decision to Screen Coal from Investments"

The United Methodist Reporter wants to encourage lively conversation about The United Methodist Church and our articles in the belief that Christian conversation (what Wesley would call conferencing) is a means of grace. While we support passionate debate, we cannot allow language that demeans or demonizes others, and we reserve the right to delete any comment we believe to be harmful or inappropriate. We encourage all to remember that we are all broken and in need of Christ's grace, and that we all see through the glass darkly until that time we when reach full perfection in love. May your speech here be tempered with love, and reflection of the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. After all, "There is no law against things like this." (Galatians 5:22-23)
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Richard Hicks

Oil is down by half from a year ago. The price of coal is falling also. Dropping exposure to fossil fuel is not a courageous act today. Who paid for this move? The natural gas industry? Always follow the money. Thank you.

I love this quote. “As a denomination, we can’t continue to say we’re against climate change while saying we’re for fossil fuel profits.” As a denomination we talk from both sides of our collective mouth on a wide variety of topics. Gay marriage and abortion come to mind. What makes coal so special? If they want to divest then divest why make a big deal of it? Of course they will still expect the lights to come on when they hit a switch and today’s lower gas prices benefit all of us and the less developed world where we have… Read more »
George Nixon Shuler

Well, as Ken Lay, the late felonious Enron CEO, was a United Methodist Lay Servant, while under indictment, he was asked to resign his leadership positions, but not expelled from the church as a whole. So should we as well opt for radical inclusion. Even white collar crooks and pension fund looters, even those in the disgraced fossil fuel energy sector, are beautiful children of God.

Paul W.

Great comment!

Tying in with this, the annual March for Life was held today in D.C. with the unofficial United Methodist LifeWatch group both participating in the March and holding two services/meetings at the United Methodist Building. So far, I haven’t seen anything about these events on the UMC website. How did our priorities get so messed up?

George Nixon Shuler

Except it’s not. The inaccurate understanding of people’s capacities to love expressed therein is not relevant to anything of value. UMC leadership is wise to try to get it small enough to be drowned in the bathtub.

Are climate change deniers also heterosexist?

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