Following the vote at the Church of Scotland General Assembly to continue with the policy of “engagement” with oil and gas companies, despite 2 years of this policy having little or no effect, Selkirk Parish Church, as an eco-congregation, has decided to withdraw its funds from the Church of Scotland Growth Fund (which currently invests in Shell, BP and Total).
In a letter to the Church of Scotland’s Investors Trust, the Kirk Session and Congregational Board states, “As an eco-congregation, we do not believe it is ethically acceptable to invest in, and gain profit from, companies whose main aim is to continue to explore for, and to extract, fossil fuels. We believe that the Church of Scotland should be leading the way for others, and should fully divest now from all companies involved in fossil fuel exploration and extraction; this would give a stronger signal to these companies than any engagement is ever likely to do.
Within Selkirk Parish Church, we are committed to caring for God’s creation. We can no longer wait for the Church or Scotland to act in this matter, so we are taking our own small steps to make ourselves “fossil free”. Withdrawing our funds is one step in this journey that we are able to make now, and therefore we are doing so. We hope that other congregations may follow our example.”
The congregation may instead invest the cash released in an ethical fund, or use it towards employing a Children and Families Worker. As their letter concludes, “we consider this to be a much better way to invest for growth in God’s Kingdom.”