I am excited about the news of Monmouth Presbytery’s passing of the overture to divest from fossil fuels! This is the first step toward bringing this grassroots effort back to our General Assembly—for the fourth time.
It is not insignificant that Monmouth is the fourth different presbytery to originate a fossil fuel divestment overture. It’s not the project of just one region. Fifty different presbyteries have affirmed at least one of this overture’s predecessors for the last three General Assemblies.
I celebrate Monmouth Presbytery as a child of that place. While life has moved me elsewhere, I grew up in that presbytery in coastal New Jersey. The precious and unique ecosystems I call home are affected by storms of increasing strength and irregularity, like Hurricane Sandy in 2012, as well as regular coastal flooding, invasive species, and other environmental calamity.
This is the fourth attempt at categorical divestment from the exploration, extraction, and production of fossil fuels in the PC(USA). The movement to divest from fossil fuels has included the participation of hundreds of institutions around the world: universities, congregations, governments, and other organizations. It has included several presbyteries and synods in our own denomination. Divestment from fossil fuels is an idea affirmed by individuals and organizations around the world, including members of frontline communities most affected by the climate crisis and environmental destruction that we are all collectively responsible for.
We are awaiting the good news of concurrence from several presbyteries, which will officially send the overture to divest to the 224th General Assembly in Baltimore next June. In the meantime, I’m grateful that people in Monmouth Presbytery affirmed divestment as a tool we as Presbyterian Christians can use in the effort to combat climate change—a complex crisis that affects not just the communities of the Jersey coast, or the community of PC(USA), but the entire planet.
Fossil Free PCUSA Steering Committee
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