St Leonards church to join Easter Declaration for Fossil Free Churches

Press release
Divest East Sussex [1]
16 April 2019

LOCAL CHURCH JOINS EASTER DECLARATION FOR FOSSIL FREE CHURCHES
St Leonards church backs end to investments in oil, coal and gas, recognising ‘the urgency of the need to shift from fossil fuels to clean alternatives’

23 April 2019, St Leonards: A church in St Leonards (St John the Evangelist, Pevensey Road [2]) is joining churches around the UK next week in an Easter declaration in support of the ditching of investments in fossil fuel companies (so-called ‘divestment’) [2]. Burning fossil fuels (oil, coal and gas) is the main driver of global warming [3], with the UN warning last year that rapid and drastic cuts in fossil use are necessary to avoid catastrophic climate change [4].

St John the Evangelist recently became the first church in East Sussex to pass a motion in favour of the Church of England selling its investments in the giant oil, coal and gas companies like Exxon and BP [5]. A wide-range of Christian organisations from around the world have made similar commitments over the last nine years, including the Churches of Ireland and Sweden, the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne, the Archdiocese of South Africa and St Chad’s Church in Sutton Coldfield [6]. In total, over 1,000 institutions in 76 countries, managing assets worth more than $8.7 trillion, have made some form of divestment commitment since 2012 [6].

Members of St John’s Eco Church group with rector David Hill and treasurer David Atwood. PHOTO: St John’s Eco Church group

The Easter Declaration for Fossil Free Churches notes ‘the urgency of the need to shift from fossil fuels to clean alternatives and ensure a brighter, cleaner future for all’ as well as the churches’ ‘wish for our investments to be a sign of hope, contributing to the flourishing of God’s creation, both now and for generations to come’ [2].

The Rector of St John’s, David Hill said: “At St John’s we are trying to save the world in both senses.”

ENDNOTES

[1] https://divesteastsussex.wordpress.com
[2] The full text of the Easter Declaration reads: “As we celebrate the joy of the risen Christ this Easter, we the undersigned wish for our investments to be a sign of hope, contributing to the flourishing of God’s creation, both now and for generations to come. We support the campaign for fossil free Churches and, conscious of the impact of climate change on our sisters and brothers around the world – especially those living in poverty – we recognise the urgency of the need to shift from fossil fuels to clean alternatives and ensure a brighter, cleaner future for all. Our church/Christian organisation, [insert name here], therefore commits to divest any existing fossil fuel investments within the next five years (for churches with existing fossil fuel investments) and pledges not to invest in fossil fuels in the future.” See https://brightnow.org.uk/news/join-the-easter-declaration-for-fossil-free-churches/
[3] Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report Summary for Policymakers, section SPM 1.2 ‘Causes of climate change’, http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/syr/AR5_SYR_FINAL_SPM.pdf
[4] ‘We have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe, warns UN’, Guardian, 8 October 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/08/global-warming-must-not-exceed-15c-warns-landmark-un-report
[5] At its 29 October 2018 meeting, St John’s Parochial Church Council unanimously pledged ‘not to invest in fossil fuel companies.’
[6] https://gofossilfree.org/divestment/commitments/

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