Presbyterians and allies to walk 260 miles to PC(USA) General Assembly to ask for church divestment from fossil fuels

Participants in the PCUSA Walk for A Fossil Free World will travel by foot from Louisville, Kentucky, the headquarters of the Presbyterian Church (USA), to St. Louis, Missouri, the location of the PC(USA)’s 223rd General Assembly. The journey of 260 miles will take from June 1 to 16, 2018, coming to a close at the opening of the General Assembly that goes from June 16 to 23. Each night of the walk will include teach-ins and worship centering the stories and experiences of people on the front lines of climate change.

“As a pastor, I plan to participate on the Walk because I believe our denomination must always stand alongside the most vulnerable of society,” says Rev. Neddy Astudillo. “Climate change is demanding from us not just to support with money those who suffer its symptoms, but to look at its root causes and do whatever is in our hands to avoid it. As an immigrant to the US I feel God blessed me by bringing me to this country, but I can not forget those who suffer from the impacts we produce on the environment.”

Walkers like Rev. Astudillo will be making a statement to those voting on an overture (or church resolution) at the General Assembly which asks that the Presbyterian Church (USA) divest from fossil fuels. Fifteen Presbyteries have already concurred with the overture.Those walking believe it’s time for the denomination to put its money where it’s faith is and that the PCUSA must join the movement that has already taken trillions of dollars out of the industry. By doing so, the denomination would no longer profit from an industry that has contributed to climate change which exacerbates natural disasters like the recent hurricanes in Puerto Rico that is home to 78 Presbyterian congregations.

“The Presbyterian Church has a long history of caring for creation through worship, education, and advocacy. Divestment is the missing step in our love of God’s creation,” said rev. abby mohaupt, moderator of Fossil Free PCUSA, a project of Presbyterian Peace Fellowship.

Other pastors are joining the walk to encourage the PCUSA to live up to its current investment standards of the denomination. “I am going to walk to General Assembly because fossil fuels are killing God’s earth. One of our Presbyterian parameters on investing is that the church invests only in companies that do no harm. Fossil fuels are doing great harm,” says the Rev. Dr. Eric Ledermann of Tucson, Arizona. Ledermann, mohaupt, and Astudillo are all part of the team organizing the walk.

Those interested in walking in all or part of, donating to, planning, sponsoring, or endorsing the PCUSA Walk for a Fossil Free World can find more information and get in touch with organizers at www.pcusawalk.org.

The Presbyterian Peace Fellowship has been a prophetic voice in our church since the 1940s, urging the abolition of war and encouraging our sisters and brothers to enact peace in the midst of our broken world. Our call is to be movers and shakers within the PC(USA) and beyond, encouraging one another to take seriously God’s call to God’s people to participate in God’s nonviolent work of love, peace, and justice in the world. www.presbypeacefellowship.org. Contact: Rev. Emily Brewer, emily@presbypeacefellowship.org.

Fossil Free PCUSA began in 2012 to call on the Presbyterian Church (USA) to divest from the fossil fuel industry. God’s call to love all creation directs us to be good stewards of the earth and to live lives that are sustainable for all creation. Where our treasure lies, so do our hearts. FFPCUSA is a project of Prebysterian Peace Fellowship. www.fossilfreepcusa.org. Contact: rev. abby mohaupt, awmohaupt@gmail.com.

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