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Church urged to ditch fossil fuel investments

Ministers and members of faith communities gathered on the steps of St Paul's cathedral at the weekend to urge UK churches to divest from funds with holdings in the fossil fuels industry.

So far, 49 churches and faith communities, including those in Sweden, Australia and the US, have committed to stop investment in the non-renewable energy sources.

Brighthelm United Reformed Church in Brighton was the first UK church to divest.

Trustee Geoff Barnard says they accepted that the practice was clearly 'not sustainable'.

He said:"We divested from fossil fuels because we don't want our money to support an industry that is destroying the planet.

"We were surprised to be the first church to take this step and hope other churches will soon join us by divesting from fossil fuels."

Christian Climate Action also delivered an invitation to a divestment party to the headquarters of the Church of England, along with balloons, to encourage the Church Commissioners, who are responsible for deciding CofE investments, to join them.

Hannah Martin, who delivered the invitation, said: "The Church has a historic precedent for supporting divestment campaigns, as it did to support the end of apartheid in South Africa.

"The fossil fuel divestment movement is growing and the Church needs to be on the right side of history. We want it to be the prophetic voice for those affected by climate change that Jesus called it to be."

Figures from 2012 show that the Church of England had £60 million invested in major fossil fuel companies, while the Methodist Church has around £58 million invested. Both say they are currently reviewing their investments in relation to climate change and will report back next year.

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