Related article on ucc.org: Global Divestment Day Sparks Conversations About Divestment Strategy And Climate Change
My name is Jim Antal and I’m the leader of the largest Protestant denomination in the Commonwealth – the United Church of Christ.
Shortly after our forebears in the faith landed on the shores of what would come to be known as Plymouth Colony, a leader emerged, charged with forging a new path that would demand much sacrifice even as it would promise great reward. In speaking to his shipmates as they undertook what many considered to be an impossible and foolish task, all of you remember John Winthrop’s words: "We shall be as a city upon a hill—the eyes of all people are upon us."
20 months ago I quoted these words at the national gathering of the United Church of Christ. And after deliberation and prayer we became the first national body and the first religious denomination to vote to divest from fossil fuel companies. Archbishop Desmond Tutu emailed his congratulations to me within the hour, adding, “We hope others will follow your splendid example.”
We’re here today to convince the elected leaders of the Commonwealth to do just that – to lead the nation by becoming the first state to declare that it is immoral to allow fossil fuel companies to carry out their business plan, because if they do, they will wreck the earth.
Now you legislators may be a bit nervous about being “early” to this commitment… but let’s not forget that being “early” on issues of justice has helped to make Massachusetts the leader we are. It was a member of Old South Church in Copley Square - Samuel Sewell – who published the first anti-slavery track in America in 1701. Sure he was “early” – but he wasn’t too early!!!!
The eyes of all people are upon us. Let us be as a city on a hill, offering hope as we join with other leaders and forge a new and sustainable path.
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