Friday legislation roundup: Six petitions go to General Conference


May 29, 2015

By: Christa Meland

On Friday, members discussed six petitions for the 2016 General Conference—and they ultimately voted to send all of them on to be considered by the global church body when it meets next year in Portland, Oregon. Click here to read the full petitions (the items are 400-405, pages 35-42). Here’s a very brief summary of each one:

  • Avoid investments in petroleum, coal, and natural gas (400): This petition, submitted by the Hopeful Earth Steering Committee and co-sponsored by the Church & Society Team, asks the 2016 General Conference to amend a paragraph in the Book of Discipline in order to add the production of petroleum, coal, and natural gas to a list of types of investments that United Methodist agencies and institutions are asked to try to avoid.
  • Avoid investment in production of petroleum, coal, and natural gas (401): This petition, submitted by the Hopeful Earth Steering Committee and co-sponsored by the Church & Society Team, requests an amendment to the Book of Resolutions that says that the United Methodist Church shall pursue its investment policy goals through widely practiced responsible investing tools such as portfolio screening.
  • Petroleum and natural gas investment screens (402): This petition, submitted by the Hopeful Earth Steering Committee and co-sponsored by the Church & Society Team, asks the 2016 General Conference to adopt a resolution to create petroleum and natural gas investment screens.
  • Renew “evolution and intelligent design” resolution (403): This petition, submitted by the Minnesota Conference delegation to the 2016 General and Jurisdictional Conferences, asks the 2016 General Conference to readopt Resolution 5052 from the Book of Discipline, which goes on record as opposing the introduction of any faith-based theories such as Creationism or Intelligent Design into the science curriculum for our public schools.
  • Water, electricity, and recognition of land titles in West Bank (404): This petition, submitted by the Palestine Israel Justice Project and the Church and Society Ministry Team of the Minnesota Conference, requests that the 2016 General Conference call on the nation of Israel to provide the same access to water and electricity in the West Bank as settlers in the Israeli settlements in the area receive—and to recognize existing titles to land within the West Bank that Palestinians hold.
  • Establish screen to remove and avoid investments in illegal settlements (405): This petition, submitted by the Palestine Israel Justice Project and the Church and Society Ministry Team of the Minnesota Conference, requests that the 2016 General Conference establish a screen that excludes investment in companies with involvement in illegal settlements—defined as an Israeli settlement built on recognized Palestinian land.

After much discussion, members defeated by a 272-210 vote legislation that asked the Minnesota Conference to call on its investment managers to apply a screen that excludes investment in companies with involvement in illegal settlements—defined as an Israeli settlement built on recognized Palestinian land. The discussion and a paper vote took place Thursday, and results were announced Friday.

Christa Meland is director of communications for the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.




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