Clergy stick to furniture, telling CoE to ‘leave Exxon’


Vigil in front of Church House

Two Anglican clergy clung to furniture at the Church House reception in London to protest the Church of England continuing to invest in Exxon Mobil despite the extraction of fossil fuels. Reverend Sue Parffit, 79, of Bristol, and Reverend Tim Hewes, a retired vicar from Oxfordshire, are currently still in the building and have been told they will be arrested …

Earlier this afternoon, Christians held vigils outside Church House in London and in the cathedrals of Chester, Sailsbury, Liverpool and Bristol. They asked and prayed that the Church would “leave Exxon” and immediately get rid of all fossil fuels. Instead, they would like to see the church invest in funds that promote the common good.

Reverend Sue Parffit also hand-delivered a letter to Church commissioners asking them to divest themselves of Exxon Mobil. The director of the building sent it to the head of the commissioner of the Church who admitted having received it and will note the contents. She said he thanked them for their respectful protest.

In a livestream of the vigil, Reverend Tim Hewes said, “I am taking this direct, non-violent action against Church commissioners and the pension council today, because of their persistence in investing in fossil fuels. .. This is blatantly irresponsible and obscenely irreverent. Use of money donated by parishioners… I am consumed with the grief of the planet and unspeakably angry that the church to which I have pledged allegiance is acting in a way which is foreign to the doctrine of the Trinity: the Trinity from which the love of God flows over all creation.

“Investing at this point in history in fossil fuels is akin to the church’s investment in previous centuries in sugar and the slave trade … Believing that sustaining investments in a way or some other providing the church with leverage for the greater good is nonsense. and simply provides these businesses with a fig leaf to cover up their continuing acts of ecocide. It is not the duty to the Church to try to guide them on a more environmentally appropriate path – market forces will. It is the Church’s duty to invest ethically, and by supporting these enterprises it is denying this fundamental principle. the time for engagement is over. Divestment must be immediate and total and I will continue to do everything in my power to achieve it. “

Maria Havey-Ashcroft, who was part of the vigil in Chester, said: “If I truly understand the immensity, depth and breadth of God’s love not only for me but for the world – then as As a Christian, I must stand up against the injustices caused by Exxon Mobil against people and the planet. That is why I am protesting today. “

In July 2018, Synod agreed to opt out unless certain conditions are met. Christian Climate Action and those who signed the letter do not believe they have been met. Synod has agreed to divest oil and gas companies that are not on track to meet the Paris Agreement target of limiting a rise in global average temperature to well below 2 ° C and that the Church would begin in 2020 to divest from companies that do not take their responsibilities seriously to help the transition to a low-carbon economy. The well-respected Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI), co-founded by the Church of England’s national investment bodies, recently discovered that no oil company is on track to align its emissions with a climate trajectory of 2. ° C by 2050.

The Church of England, as a shareholder, has sought to influence Exxon Mobil over the years in an attempt to move the company away from fossil fuels and towards the goals of the Paris Agreement. It is clear, however, that Exxon has consistently blocked shareholder resolutions calling for climate action and plans to spend tens of billions of dollars on further oil and gas exploration and extraction. Christian Climate Action does not believe that Exxon Mobil takes seriously its responsibilities to support the transition to a low carbon economy

The General Synod in February 2020 agreed that the Church would achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030. Although not legally bound by this decision, Christian Climate Action and those signing this letter would have expected that the Commissioners of the Church understand that the General Synod expressed the will of the Church and that this will must be reflected in the decisions taken by the Commissioners of the Church.

Last week, the International Energy Agency said: “If governments take the climate crisis seriously, there can be no new investments in oil, gas and coal, from now on. from this year ”. Still, Exxon plans to spend up to $ 120 billion on new oil and gas production over the next 5 years. Additionally, Exxon’s own assessment of its $ 210 billion investment strategy shows annual emissions to increase 17% by 2025, according to their internal projections.

The letter states: “We face an existential climate and biodiversity emergency on an unprecedented scale. Every organization must take the drastic action necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero if we are to have any chance of slowing the looming climate catastrophe – a catastrophe that has already happened for many people living in the south of the world. . Exxon’s behavior does not show the slightest degree of serious engagement with the truth of the situation we are facing. We therefore call on Church commissioners to stop investing in and all support of Exxon with immediate effect. “

Christian Climate Action has posted details on how individuals can write their own letter to Church commissioners on their website.


Christian climate action –
The full text of the letter-

Keywords: Climate, Rev Sue Parffit, Rev Tim Hewes, Exxon Mobil, Christian Climate Action

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