Eco-activists call on Diocese of Norwich to divest
Church eco-activists are calling on the Diocese of Norwich to withdraw from fossil fuel investments and plan to stage a small prayer vigil outside Norwich Cathedral before the diocesan Synod meets on Saturday to take a decision on the matter.
The Diocese of Norwich Synod is meeting at Norwich Cathedral on November 6, the same day that worldwide climate change protests are due to take place to coincide with the COP26 United Nations Climate Change Conference currently taking place in Glasgow.
Amongst the items being discussed is one which has caught the eye of some Norwich church eco-activists, who plan to stage a small prayer vigil outside the cathedral before the Synod meets on Saturday at 9am.
Jim Green, of Norwich Christian Climate Action and a Lay Minister at St Francis church, Heartsease, Norwich, and who will be participating in the vigil, said: “The Synod will be discussing whether or not it should divest from its portfolio some investments it still has with companies which support the production and exploration of fossil fuels.
“It is believed that Norwich Diocese has around £512,000 invested in fossil fuel companies – which, according to some church-goers – does not fit with the church's mission to protect the earth for all its inhabitants,” he said.
“I was planning to be in Glasgow but decided that it was more important to be in Norwich for this vote. On a worldwide day of action connected to the COP26 climate talks, it would be wonderful if Norwich joined four other English dioceses, and most major UK denominations, in the growing divestment movement. We want to pray in solidarity with those who suffer most already from climate change and with those who have to make this vital decision.
“As Archbishop Desmond Tutu said in 2014, ‘People of conscience need to break their ties with corporations financing the injustice of climate change.’
A small group of members of various Norwich churches will be outside the south entrance of Norwich Cathedral from 8.20am on Saturday morning, standing in a silent prayer vigil as members of the Synod make their entrance for the meeting.
A spokesperson from the Diocese of Norwich said: “Currently the Norwich Diocesan Board of Finance Limited has direct identifiable holdings in gas and oil amounting to £236,000, this equates to 1.18% of the entire portfolio. We are aware that we are invested in other pooled funds that expose us to indirect holdings in the gas and oil sector.
“We will be responding to the result of the Diocesan Synod’s vote in a measured and responsible way as part of a wider asset review.”
Read our story on the result of the vote here.