Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Support the Fossil Fuel Divestment Overture

Act Now for a Fossil Free PCUSA
by rev. abby mohaupt, Moderator Fossil Free PCUSA

Fossil fuels are the greatest contributor to the current climate crisis and there are many ways to reduce/eliminate their use. As a denomination, an effective way for the PC(USA) to curtail the production and use of fossil fuels is to send a message to corporations by selling the Church’s investments in fossil fuel stocks – a strategy called divestment. Presbyterians for Earth Care advocates for Fossil Free PCUSA’s divestment overture to the 224thGeneral Assembly. This overture is circulating and already in process in several Presbyteries. Along with FossilFree PCUSA, PEC invites you to support this overture in your Presbytery by doing the following:
  1. Take it to your church’s session. Any member of session may bring an overture. If you aren’t on session, talk to the leadership of any relevant committees, or your pastor or stated clerk. The session can consider and pass an overture.
  2. After your session passes the overture, the session’s stated clerk sends it to the presbytery’s stated clerk, who will add it to the agenda for the next presbytery meeting.
  3. At that presbytery meeting, someone from your session presents the overture, and will usually be given time to share why they support it and are asking the presbytery to pass it.
  4. The presbytery will discuss and vote on the overture. If it passes, the stated clerk will send it to the General Assembly.
  5. If the overture has at least one concurrence*, it will go before the General Assembly
  6. Let Fossil Free PCUSA know where the overture is in your process on our tracking sheet
  7. Act soon! The deadline for Presbyteries to submit overtures without constitutional implications, including this one, is May 6, 2020.
*Since the 2016, GA all overtures that are approved by Presbytery and sent to the General Assembly must have at least one other presbytery who concurs, or also votes “yes” on that overture. The recommendation of the overture must be exactly the same, although the rationale can differ. Each overture that goes to the General Assembly must have at least one concurrence (i.e. the original presbytery + one more), but there is no limit to the number of presbyteries that can concur. In fact, if an overture has many concurrences from many different presbyteries it shows a wide support for the issue. Each presbytery that sends the overture may also send an Overture Advocate to speak on behalf of the overture to the committee, so overtures with many concurrences get more time in committee. 

abby mohaupt is a Teaching Elder in San Francisco Presbytery, PhD student at Drew University in New Jersey, and a farmer in rural North Texas. abby's heart work is devoted to living with integrity at the intersections of eco-feminisms, social justice, and spirituality. She regularly guest lectures on religion and ecology, with emphasis on the intersections of race and gender.

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