An Open Letter to Delegates to General Conference on Fossil Fuel Divestment

Dear Delegates to General Conference 2016:

We write to you as scholars who are United Methodist and/or teach or have taught at United Methodist schools. Two years ago, many of us signed a statement calling for faith communities to divest from the fossil fuel industry. The statement noted that when an industry causes massive harm while intractably resisting calls for change, faith communities have moved beyond education, engagement and advocacy to divestment. Because of the grave threat of climate change and the fossil fuel sector’s unyielding refusal to change, the church must stop profiting from companies that are creating ecological destruction and human suffering on a titanic scale.

As we approach General Conference, we reaffirm the call for religious institutions—including The United Methodist Church—to stop investing in the fossil fuel industry. In the two years since religious scholars first called for fossil fuel divestment on moral grounds, our colleagues in the scientific community have underscored the deep urgency of the climate crisis. From the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report of unprecedented agreement among scientists that continued warming will dramatically impact all life on this planet, to the journal, Nature’s recent prediction that without dramatic action, there will be massive sea level rise by the end of the century, it’s clear that religious scholars must again sound the moral alarm and call for action.

Despite clear scientific evidence of the dangers of business as usual, the fossil fuel industry continues to invest in exploration and new infrastructure while blocking policy that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and obscuring the facts about climate change.

Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart shall be also” (Matthew 6:21). As a matter of life, and because we believe in a just and loving Creator, we urge you to support legislation to add fossil fuels to The United Methodist Church’s socially responsible investment screens.

In Christ,

O. Wesley Allen, Jr., Lois Craddock Perkins Professor of Homiletics, Perkins School of Theology*

Antony Alumkal, Associate Professor of Sociology of Religion, Iliff School of Theology

Jennifer R. Ayres, Associate Professor of Religious Education, Candler School of Theology, Emory University*

Tanya Bennett, Associate Professor in the Practice of Ministry, University Chaplain, and Director of the Chapel and Religious Life, Drew Theological School

Kathy Black, Gerald Kennedy Chair of Homiletics and Liturgics, Claremont School of Theology

Elizabeth M. Bounds, Associate Professor of Christian Ethics, Candler School of Theology and Graduate Division of Religion, Emory University*

Luke Bretherton, Professor of Theological Ethics, Duke Divinity School*

Valerie Bridgeman, Associate Professor of Homiletics and Hebrew Bible, Methodist Theological School in Ohio

Katherine Brown, Associate Professor of Language and Culture in the Practice of Ministry and Director, English for Speakers of Other Languages, Drew Theological School

Presian Borroughs, Assistant Professor of New Testament, United Theological Seminary**

Joseph Bush, Director of Practice in Ministry and Mission, Wesley Theological Seminary*

Charles L. Campbell, Professor of Homiletics, Duke Divinity School*

William H. Casto, Jr., Emeritus Professor of Practical Theology, Methodist Theological School in Ohio; retired elder, East Ohio Conference

Paul Clark,  Chaplain and Director of the Multi-faith Center,  Albright College*

Philip Clayton, Ingraham Professor of Theology, Claremont School of Theology

Elizabeth W. Corrie, Associate Professor in the Practice of Youth Education and Peacebuilding, Candler School of Theology*

Karen Dalton, Associate Dean, Associate Professor of Ministry Studies, Claremont School of Theology

Mark Y. A. Davies, Wimberly Professor of Social and Ecological Ethics, Director, World House Institute for Social and Ecological Responsibility, Oklahoma City University*

Miguel De La Torre, Professor of Social Ethics and Latinx Studies, Illiff School of Theology

Timothy Reinhold Eberhart, Assistant Professor of Theology and Ecology, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and Methodist Theological School in Ohio

Fred P. Edie, Associate Professor for the Practice of Christian Education, Duke Divinity School**

Heather Murray Elkins, Frederick Watson Hannan Professor of Worship, Preaching and the Arts, Drew Theological School

David F. Evans, Assistant Professor of History and Mission, Eastern Mennonite Seminary

Danna Nolan Fewell, John Fletcher Hurst Professor of Hebrew Bible, Drew Theological School

Mary McClintock Fulkerson, Professor of Theology, Duke Divinity School**

John H. Giltner,  Professor of Church History, Emeritus

John Hart, Professor of Christian Ethics, Boston University School of Theology

Albert Hernandez, Dean of the Faculty and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Iliff School of Theology

Wonhee Anne Joh, Associate Professor of Theology, Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary

Susanne Johnson, Associate Professor of Christian Education, Perkins School of Theology**

Melanie Johnson-DeBaufre, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity, Drew Theological School

Laurel Kearns, Associate Professor of Sociology of Religion and Environmental Studies, Drew Theological School

Catherine Keller, George T. Cobb Professor of Constructive Theology, Drew Theological School

Paul Kim, Professor of Hebrew Bible, Methodist Theological School in Ohio

Jennifer Koosed, Professor of Religious Studies, Albright College

Kah-Jin Jeffrey Kuan, President, Claremont School of Theology

Sarah Heaner Lancaster, Werner Professor of Theology, Methodist Theological School in Ohio

Hyo-Dong Lee, Associate Professor of Comparative Theology, Drew Theological School

Pamela R. Lightsey, Associate Dean of Community Life and Lifelong Learning, Clinical Assistant Professor of Contextual Theology and Practice, Boston University School of Theology*

Diane H. Lobody, Professor of Church History and Director, Doctor of Ministry Program, Methodist Theological School in Ohio

Jesse Mann, Theological Librarian, Drew Theological School

Marie Friedmann Marquardt, Scholar-in-Residence, Candler School of Theology, Emory University**

Ellen Ott Marshall, Associate Professor of Christian Ethics and Conflict Transformation, Candler School of Theology**

George McClain, Adjunct Professor of United Methodist Studies, New York Theological Seminary, retired elder, New York Annual Conference**

Bill McKibben, Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Environmental Studies, Middlebury College**

Linda Mercadante, Professor of Theology, Methodist Theological School in Ohio

Mark Miller, Associate Professor of Music and Composer in Residence, Drew Theological School**

Paul Minus, Emeritus Professor of Church History, Methodist Theological School in Ohio

Mary Elizabeth Moore, Dean and Professor of Theology and Education, Boston University School of Theology*

Stephen Moore, Edmund S. Janes Professor of New Testament Studies, Drew Theological School

Kenneth Ngwa, Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible and Convener of Center for Christianities in Global Contexts, Drew Theological School

Jane Ellen Nickell, Chaplain and Religious Studies Faculty Member, Allegheny College

Elizabeth Norcross, Adjunct Faculty, Eco-theology and Eco-spirituality, Wesley Theological Seminary*

Luther J. Oconer, Assistant Professor of United Methodist Studies and Director of the Center for EUB Heritage, United Theological Seminary*

Elias Ortega-Aponte, Assistant Professor of Afro-Latinos/a Religions and Cultural Studies, Drew Theological School**

Kate Ott, Assistant Professor of Christian Social Ethics, Drew Theological School

Andrew Sung Park, Professor of Theology and Ethics, United Theological Seminary*

Joon-Sik Park, Professor of World Evangelism, Methodist Theological School in Ohio

Emily Peck-McClain, Assistant Professor of Christian Formation, Preaching, and Worship and Director of Formation, Eastern Mennonite Seminary; elder, New York Annual Conference

Joerg Rieger, Wendland-Cook Professor of Constructive Theology, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University*

Frank Rogers, Muriel Bernice Roberts Professor of Spiritual Formation and Narrative Pedagogies, Claremont School of Theology

Virginia Samuel, Associate Dean of Contextual Learning, Associate Professor in the Practice of Christian Ministry, Director of the Center for Clergy and Congregational Health and Wholeness, Drew Theological School

Robert Paul Seesengood, Associate Professor and Chair, Religious Studies, Albright College

Gary V. Simpson, Associate Professor of Homiletics, Drew Theological School

Eric C. Smith Visiting Assistant Professor of the History of Christianity and New Testament Studies, Iliff School of Theology

Ervin Smith, Emeritus Professor of Christian Ethics, Methodist Theological School in Ohio

Angella M. Pak Son, Associate Professor of Psychology and Religion, Drew Theological School

Althea Spencer-Miller, Assistant Professor of New Testament, Drew Theological School

Wanda J. Stahl, Director of Contextual Education and Congregational Partnerships, Clinical Assistant Professor of Contextual Theology and Practice, Boston University School of  Theology**

Robert C. Tannehill, Emeritus Professor of New Testament, Methodist Theological School in Ohio

Steven M. Tipton, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Sociology of Religion, Candler School of Theology

J. Terry Todd, Associate Professor of American Religious Studies, Drew Theological School

Timothy L. Van Meter, Associate Professor of Christian Education and Youth Ministry, Methodist Theological School in Ohio

Javier A. Viera, Dean, Professor of Pastoral Theology, Drew Theological School; elder, New York Annual Conference

Traci C. West, Professor of Christian Ethics and African American Studies, Drew Theological School; elder, New York Annual Conference

Norman Wirzba, Professor of Theology and Ecology, Duke Divinity School

 

indicates signatures added on May 10, 2016. 

**indicates signatures added on May 16, 2016.

If you are a professor or professor emeritus who is United Methodist or teaches at a United Methodist college or university and would like to add your signature, please email your name and title to fossilfreeumc@gmail.com.