We the undersigned stand in unity with Fossil Free PC(USA) in calling on the denomination to divest fully from fossil fuel industries within our Presbyterian holdings.
Scripture calls on humanity to care for God’s creation. We are commanded to “keep,” that is, to protect and preserve, God’s garden (Gen 2:15). We are called to bear God’s image by exercising “dominion” in ways that are salutary and sustaining rather than exploitative and destructive (Gen 1:26-28; cf. Ezek 34:4). But we continue to fail. Through shortsightedness and greed, we are eroding the soil, decimating the forests, polluting oceans and rivers, destroying mountains, and pushing many of God’s creatures to extinction. Ice caps are melting and sea levels are rising as we continue to pursue an economy based on extraction and ever-growing consumption. One tragic result is the increased suffering and death of our most vulnerable neighbors around the globe, those who are the least responsible for this planetary-wide crisis. The cry of the earth accompanies the cries of the poor. By continuing our extraction and burning of fossil fuels, we are failing to fulfill the second greatest commandment (Matt 22:39; Lev 19:18) as much as we are failing to love God by honoring and caring for God’s creation.
As pastors and theologians of the Presbyterian Church (USA), we lift our voices on behalf of a ravaged and depleted earth. It is time to cry out, “Enough!” We can no longer inherit wealth at the hands of the fossil fuel industry while losing our inheritance in creation. We can no longer profit at the expense of the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the land we cultivate and share with God’s wild creatures (Gen 1:29-30). Instead, we call on the church to follow God’s lead in “making all things new” (Rev 21:5). We call on the church to remove its investments from an industry that continues to destroy rather than preserve and renew that which gives us life. We consider divestment to be both a faithful response to God’s call and an effective response to signal the church’s stance on behalf of creation’s healing.
We, therefore, concur with Hudson River Presbytery’s overture on the Board of Pensions and the Presbyterian Foundation to seek immediate divestment of our portfolios from fossil fuel industries. We also urge, in turn, that these funds be moved into a renewable-energy portfolio.
Rev. Dr. Laurie Garrett-Cobbina, San Francisco Theological Seminary*
Wendy Farley, San Francisco Theological Seminary
William Brown, Columbia Theological Seminary
Anna Case-Winters, McCormick Seminary
Dawn DeVries, Union Presbyterian Seminary (faculty)
John Carroll, Union Presbyterian Seminary
Margaret Aymer, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
Rev. Dr. Leanna K. Fuller, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
Christine Roy Yoder, Columbia Theological Seminary
Rev. Dr. Christine J. Hong, Columbia Theological Seminary
William Yoo, Columbia Seminary
Martha Moore-Keish, Columbia Theological Seminary
Rev. Dr. Tim Hartman, Columbia Theological Seminary
Jacob D Myers, Columbia Theological Seminary
E. Elizabeth Johnson, Columbia Theological Seminary
Anna Carter Florence, Columbia Theological Seminary
C. Clifton Black, Princeton Theological Seminary
Rev. Dr. Neddy Astudillo, Tampa Presbytery, GreenFaith
Matilde Moros, PhD, Virginia Commonwealth University
Rev. Dr. Jennifer R. Ayres, Candler School of Theology, Emory University
Mark Smith, Princeton Theological Seminary
Rva. Migdaleder Mazuera, PCUSA - Milwaukee Presbytery
E. Carson Brisson, Union Presbyterian Seminary
Rev. Dr. Rodney S. Sadler,Jr., Union Presbyterian Seminary
Paul Galbreath, Union Presbyterian Seminary
Samuel E. Balentine, Union Presbyterian Seminary
John Bowlin, Princeton Theological Seminary
Patricia K. Tull, Louisville Presbyterian Seminary
Helen Blier, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
Reverend Dr. Joanne Lindstrom, McCormick Theological Seminary
Hunter Farrell, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
Ken Sawyer, McCormick Theological Seminary
Robert C. Dykstra, Princeton Theological Seminary
*institution included for identification purposes only.
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