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Prospect UCC divests from fossil fuel investments

At General Synod in 2013, participants passed a resolution urging UCC congregations to divest from fossil fuels or engage in shareholder activism with fossil fuel companies, said Meighan Pritchard, pastor of Prospect UCC in Seattle.

Meighan Pritchard tells of Prospect UCC divesting.

Prospect UCC recently acted on this resolution, moving all its endowment funds from the United Church Funds moderate balanced fund to the United Church Fund’s new Beyond Fossil Fuels moderate balanced fund ( This new fund screens out companies that extract and process fossil fuels, which are the cause of climate change.

Prospect’s treasurer, Jim Miller, provided information to the congregation about the return on investment of the new Beyond Fossil Fuels funds. Given the decline in coal and the recent low oil prices, the Beyond Fossil Fuels funds have performed slightly better than funds that include fossil fuels.

After having a few weeks to think about divestment and ask questions, Prospect members voted unanimously in favor of divesting. One email to the United Church Funds and the deed was done, just five days before Christmas.

Prospect contacted GreenFaith to add its name to a growing list of congregations and other religious bodies that have taken this action:

Although the question of return on investment arose during discussion, the main reason Prospect chose to divest was to take a stand on the issue of fossil fuels and climate change, said Meighan. Divesting was one way to do that.

“That divested funds are currently outperforming other funds was a bonus,” she said.

“Prospect members recognize that we all use fossil fuels and that it is up to each of us to reduce our carbon footprint,” she said. “We don’t want to make money from industries that are helping to destroy the planet. Divestment doesn’t necessarily affect the bottom line of the industries, because whatever shares we sell, someone else buys, but it does make a statement that we revoke the social license of fossil fuel companies to continue with a ‘business as usual’ plan that requires destruction of the planet.”

According to Fossil Free, as of September 2015, 400 institutions representing $2.6 trillion had pledged “some form of divestment commitment.”

By early December the numbers were more than 500 institutions worldwide representing over $3.4 trillion in assets. The fossil fuel companies cannot help but notice the gaining momentum of the divestment movement, she said.

Meighan invites other congregations to be the next to divest from fossil fuel companies.

For information, call 206-322-6030 or visit the Beyond Fossil Fuels Funds at


Copyright © February 2016 - Pacific Northwest Conference News


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