Should Your Church Divest?

In the 21st century, religious congregations and committees must face the necessary integration of creation care with their commitment to stewardship. This isn’t a question of if, it’s a question of how. Simply having awareness of environmental and social issues is no longer an option for stewardship. Awareness needs to shift to tangible results by actively caring for the world in which we live.

Recently, there have been multiple opportunities for denomination leaders to consider taking their commitments to stewardship one step further in their fiduciary priorities. By divesting their investments from fossil fuel portfolios, they can then reinvest to sustainable and responsible investments. These actions often set a precedent for individual congregations to follow suit with their priorities for creation care and church finances.

On an individual congregation level, it can be challenging to serve on a finance committee when there are differing opinions and feedback on how church funds should be disbursed and appropriated. This slows the process for prioritizing investment changes to months, even years.

Finance committees have a main responsibility: to financially do what is in the best interest of the congregation.

This charge can extend beyond simple “dollars and cents” to reset the congregation’s intentions about the types of investments that are owned.

One philosophy gaining major traction in the wake of Pope Francis’s 2015 encyclical ‘Laudato si’ is the concept of selling fossil fuel investments and reinvesting in sustainable and responsible investments.

Most traditionally managed endowments only have to reallocate about 8% of their portfolios to accomplish this shift, and can still maintain competitive returns.

Our team launched ReVest to help congregations navigate this process of shifting investments so they’re more closely aligned with their 21st century priorities in creation care and stewardship. Check out this video featuring Susannah Tuttle, director of NC Interfaith Power and Light (NCIPL) and Pete Krull discussing the concept of ReVest.