URC West Midlands Synod divests from fossil fuels

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resized image Promo 12The United Reformed Church’s (URC) West Midlands Synod Trust has become the latest URC body to end investments in fossil fuel companies.

At a meeting of the Synod Trust in January, a report showed how the synod had completed its divestment programme.

The Revd Steve Faber, Moderator of the West Midlands Synod, spoke about how happy he was with the action the synod had taken.

“I’m delighted we’ve removed fossil fuel from our investment portfolio as part of our ongoing commitment to reduce the impact of humanity on the climate. 

“We recognise that we all need to work harder and faster to this end, and this divestment is just one step of a programme of actions that we are taking to support clean energy.  We hope that our moves will be an encouragement not only to other investors, but also to businesses and consumers as we each bear a responsibility to act to preserve and protect the planet.”

The Synod is working towards A Rocha’s Eco synod Accreditation and hopes to complete this in 2020.

In the meantime, the Trust has committed to fitting solar photovoltaic (PV) cells to as many of its manses from an existing refurbishment programme.

Steve continued: “We are commissioning a survey of our manses to determine which will be suitable to have PV cells fitted and have agreed that the work can be funded through an existing programme. 

We will also install electric car charging points for manses wherever possible and practical. Given the urgency to act to reduce carbon emissions into the atmosphere we wanted to demonstrate some practical steps that will reduce our carbon footprint. We hope others will follow suit.”

The Synod will also investigate whether it is able to install or subsidise solar cells on church roofs and will make a further decision on this when it has information about the scale of the work that would be needed.

In May 2019, the URC Mission Council voted to divest from companies involved in the extraction or supply of oil and gas by the time of the URC’s General Assembly in 2020, following divestment from coal and tar sands in 2015. Mission Council also made the recommendation for a similar commitment to local churches and Synods.

Along with the West Midlands Synod, there are now six URC Synods which have divested from fossil fuel companies. These are the National Synod of Wales, National Synod of Scotland, Yorkshire, Wessex and South Western synods. Along with the following churches: Bush Hill Park URC in Enfield, Tavistock URC in Devon, The Vines Church in Rochester, and Vine URC in, Ilford. Also, the URC’s colleges Scottish United Reformed & Congregational College and Northern College.

Picture: A sign which reads: "Earth is more valuable than money." Markus Spiske/Unsplash
Published: 25 February 2020

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