Every two years the membership of the United Church of Christ gathers. As people of faith we stop to reflect on the state of the world, and of our faith community, and where our voice and prayers are needed. This year when we gathered, the call from our congregations throughout the nation was clear. The Church needs to be an advocate for, and a protector of, God’s glorious creation.
As the leaders of this wonderful denomination, we too felt a need to respond to the call of our member’s to join in witness and action in the wake of our impending climate crisis. After a great amount of prayerful discernment, the General Synod of the United Church of Christ voted to adopt a resolution urging divestment - along with other strategies - from fossil fuel companies to address climate change.
As officers of the church we are proud and humbled by this bold stance and prophetic call to justice for the earth and all its people. And we recognize the real sacrifice involved, both by our members who wish to live out this vision, and by the many people around the world whose lives and livelihoods are threatened by the impact of climate change. We want to, and we need to be responsive to the needs of the whole church including those who faithfully advocate for decisive action to save the earth from a disastrous future and those whose investments may be affected by a call for divestment from fossil fuel companies.
We believe that God is calling the United Church of Christ to become a leading religious voice on climate change and environmental racism and, as officers of the church, this requires us to state our conviction that our church’s resources not be invested in fossil fuel companies. We state this position not as those who claim to possess all wisdom, but in humble recognition of the complexity of the issues before us.
Roy Tillerson, the CEO of ExxonMobil, said recently in Cleveland, “Climate change is a serious and complex problem that society may not be able to fix and will just have to deal with.”
As officers of the United Church of Christ, we respond by saying that climate change is a serious and complex problem that God calls the church and all humanity to address boldly and faithfully.
The United Church of Christ has 5,194 churches throughout the United States. Rooted in the Christian traditions of congregational governance and covenantal relationships, each UCC setting speaks only for itself and not on behalf of every UCC congregation. UCC members and churches are free to differ on important social issues, even as the UCC remains principally committed to unity in the midst of our diversity.