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Fossil Fuels

17 April 2015

Re: Divestment of United Church funds from fossil fuel companies

Dear Trinity-St. Paul's Climate Justice Group: 

I want to thank you for your email of January 23, 2015 in which you shared the work of Trinity St. Paul’s United Church related to climate justice and concerns for impending climate chaos. I advised you at that time that I would take your request for review of the materials and for support of the two motions Trinity St. Paul’s is making to General Council to our next Board Meeting that was scheduled for April.

Over the intervening months, I shared the attachments and link to your website within our church congregation. We held an information session on February 22, 2015 for open discussion of the concerns related to climate chaos. We benefitted from Greg Powell’s understanding of the issues and he presented a power point summary on climate chaos. Then last night at the Board Meeting, we discussed the issue of divestment of United Church funds from fossil fuel companies, with the possibility of making a motion for action related to this topic.

However, in both the congregational meeting and the recent Board meeting, it was apparent that we have opposing views on this topic and have considerable work to do to further understand climate justice issues and the best way to take action. We were unable to reach any consensus last night and tabled the topic without moving forward to a motion. There are many reasons for the polarization of views in our congregation; not the least of which is that British Columbia is a resource based province and many of the congregation have worked, or have family working in the oil and gas industries or in mining. Their perspectives are thus very different from those in an urban setting. People are also making small steps to address the environment in their own way, and are not as comfortable with a collective approach.

We have made links with the local Eco Society and are offering our Church for meeting space and hoping to participate in a six week series of discussions. Your email with attachments has started us on a road to further exploration of climate justice issues. That is a good beginning. We will watch with interest the activities at General Council and how your motions are received.

Blessings to all at Trinity St. Paul’s United Church,


Sandra Foster
Board Chair
Castlegar United Church