The New York and Pacific Northwest Conferences and the Northwest United Methodist Foundation will divest from fossil fuels following decisions at their annual conference meetings in June 2016.
“These annual conferences refuse to provide moral cover for the massive ecological destruction and human suffering caused by the fossil fuel industry, and are leading where General Conference 2016 refused to go,” says Rev. Jenny Phillips, Fossil Free UMC Coordinator and Minister for Environmental Stewardship and Advocacy in the Pacific Northwest Conference. “By letting go of their financial stake in the growth of fossil fuels, they are living their commitment to a sustainable world.”
The New York Conference voted to divest during its session June 8-11, 2016. The petition calls the annual conference to divest from fossil fuels and requests that the Frontier Foundation consider divestment.
"The arguments against divesting are the same arguments made when advocates were calling for divestment in South Africa," says Ann Craig of the New York Annual Conference. "But it was not until divestment took hold that Apartheid collapsed. Staying at the table, means you are playing their game. Divestment means you are not playing the game anymore."
The Pacific Northwest Conference and the Northwest United Methodist Foundation must divest from fossil fuels by January 1, 2018, according to the legislation passed by the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference June 24-26, 2016. The conference also adopted a Statement of Lament on General Conference 2016’s Affirmation of Fossil Fuel Investments, and will submit it to the Western Jurisdictional Conference 2016.