Western Massachusettes takes bold environmental stand

Posted Sep 11, 2014

[Diocese of Western Massachusetts press release] The Trustees for the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts passed a resolution at their meeting on August 27, 2014, “to reduce fossil fuel exposure and to invest in renewable energy projects as objectives for our portfolio going forward.” The initial reduction of the diocese’s and parishes’ investments in fossil fuels will be immediate [November 12, 2014], and the first step in an ongoing process to align their investments more closely with their Christian faith and values.

This resolution is the fruit of an eighteen-month process that was begun in February of 2013 and that was carried out with the full support of the bishop, the Rt. Rev. Douglas Fisher. Under the leadership of Sue Ellen Lovejoy, President, the Trustees engaged in a lengthy period of research, prayer and discussion before voting to make this change to their investment portfolio.

They were aided in this dialogue by the Rev. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, Missioner for Creation Care. Deciding to redirect a portion of financial resources to renewable energy projects is a proactive, faith-based move that acknowledges that care of the earth is not an option but a moral imperative. As the resolution states in the opening paragraph, “Scripture tells us that all the world is God’s precious creation, and our place within it is to respect and care for its health.

We therefore have a spiritual and moral obligation not to profit from damage inflicted on God’s creation by the production and use of fuels that hurt the environment, and a corresponding obligation to seek out and invest in ways to promote its healing and health.”i

Ms. Lovejoy stated that the Trustees took on this responsibility in sober appreciation of their fiduciary duty, in full understanding of the responsible leadership expected of their body, and in clear devotion to their Christian role as good stewards of God’s earth.

As a diocese committed to social justice, the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts is proud to be part of the growing movement of religious groups that have declared their commitment to reduce or eliminate holdings in fossil fuel companies. With the World Council of Churches, the United Church of Christ, the Unitarian Universalist Association, the Anglican Church in New Zealand and Polynesia, the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, and many other regional and local religious groups worldwide, the diocese has made a thoughtful, prayerful decision to re-align its investments and to underscore the urgency of building a sustainable, just, and low-carbon future.

Read the full text of the resolution here.