Recently Read: Bid to Divest from All Oil and Gas Companies Fails

Barbara Boigegrain, General Secretary of UMC Pension Board. Photo By Maile Bradfield, UMNS.

Barbara Boigegrain, General Secretary of UMC Pension Board. Photo By Maile Bradfield, UMNS.

By Walter Fenton-

A somewhat overlooked, but important message from the 2016 General Conference was the delegates’ decision to reject a petition calling on The United Methodist Church’s General Board of Pension and Health Benefits (GBPHB) to divest from all fossil fuels.

After vigorous debate, delegates voted nearly two to one against a plan pushed by the advocacy group Fossil Free UMC. The plan was also rejected in committee, with only 14 delegates supporting it and 41 opposed.

The Rev. Jenny Phillips, a representative of the group, argued that by divesting the UM Church would serve as a witness to countries that recently signed the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Barbara Boigegrain, general secretary of the pension board, countered that the more effective witness would be for the church to remain invested in the companies. Remaining so, she said, gives it a “voice at the table” to advocate that as companies extract oil and gas they do so in ways that minimize harm to the environment.

The pension board has established guidelines for responsible investing, and does not invest any funds in certain industries. It has no holdings, for instance, in alcohol, munitions, pornography, private prisons, or tobacco.

While Fossil Free UMC’s concern for the environment is laudable, its call for complete divestment from all oil and gas companies is misguided and ill conceived.

Read the rest here.


Recently Read

Recently Read

Recently Read posts are stories the editors of The United Methodist Reporter have found interesting from other sites and wanted to share with our readers. The editors do not necessarily endorse the opinions shared in these stories, and referral here should not imply endorsement of that content.

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Richard F Hicks
Richard F Hicks

The oil and gas industry just doesn’t care. Please advise me. My family’s wealth is based on oil and gas royalties. I have tithed the full 10% on the gross since 1979. Does this mean that I’m off the hook? I’ll assume so and tell my senior pastor that next pledge card time. Since my pastor sits in this board, I’ll say that I was told that the UMC doesn’t want my family’s dirty old oil money! Thank you, Richard F Hicks, OKC a proud oil patch trailer park poor white trash bubba

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