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Union in New York first theological school to divest of fossil fuels

Union in New York first theological school to divest of fossil fuels

Union Theological Seminary in New York, an institution well-known for the work of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Reinhold Niebuhr, has decided to divest from fossil fuels based on theological principles and core institutional values. From President Serene Jones:

In addition to our divestment and campus sustainability efforts, Union will host a conference in the days leading up to the United Nations’ Climate Summit in September called Religions for the Earth ( The event will culminate in an interfaith service and will be held in partnership with GreenFaith, the Interfaith Center of New York, the Parliament of the World’s Religions, the World Council of Churches, and Religions for Peace. We know that the effort to care for the earth must be an interreligious, global one, and we at Union look forward to hosting continuing conversations about the role of faith communities the movement to combat climate change…

I hope our decision to divest encourages other seminaries and universities to recognize that there are things we can do as a country and as a people to cut down on our greenhouse gas emissions. For Christians, sin is the word that describes anything that prevents us from having a faithful relationship with God, with each other, with ourselves, and with creation.

We have sinned, and we see this divestment as an act of repentance for Union. All of the world is God’s precious creation, and our place within it is to care for and respect the health of the whole. Climate change poses a catastrophic threat. As stewards of God’s creation, we simply must act to stop this sin.

For the full article from President Jones, please visit Time Magazine here.

In the Episcopal Church, only a handful of bodies-including Boston’s Episcopal City Mission and the Diocese of Massachusetts-have divested from fossil fuels. Influential Episcopal institutions such as the Church Pension Fund, Trinity Wall Street, the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, and wealthy seminaries like Virginia Theological Seminary have not divested from fossil fuels.


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Good on ya, alma mater!

JC Fisher (MA, 1992)

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