As Methodists we care a great deal about what happens to our money. Both Jesus Christ and John Wesley spoke about what practising Christians should do with it. Jesus says in Matthew 19:23, “It will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven”; the disciples “were greatly astounded and said, ‘Then who can be saved?’” Jesus had rich friends like Zacchaeus and Joseph of Arimathea. People could possess money; their salvation depended on what they did with it. Wesley said, “Earn all you can. Save all you can. Give all you can.” Rich Methodists such as J Arthur Rank committed their wealth to changing society for the better.
In this time of the climate emergency declared by Parliament, Bradford Council and our church, a major call on our money should be to reduce the global heating which is destroying the biodiversity of our God-created planet. It is also undermining the fabric of human society as, for example, sea levels inexorably rise more than 2 mm a year. Many individuals are acting. Our church uses only renewable electricity and very little gas; we have built the energy-positive Fold for nearly a million pounds.
It is time not to just to spend £1 million on our own buildings but to lobby and act to move the billions being spent on looking for more oil and gas to more beneficent investments. The campaign to persuade organisations including churches to divest from fossil fuel companies is becoming very successful. But what about the banks in which our own personal and our church money is kept? Barclays, for example invests more in fossil fuels than any other bank in Europe. HSBC invests more in fossil fuels than most other banks world-wide. Baildon Methodist Church uses Barclays and HSBC because, historically, they had branches in Baildon. Both still support investment in creation-destroying fossil fuels.
At the Church Council on 20 August I initiated a debate on where we as committed Christians and as an Eco-congregational church should keep our money. If you wish to check your bank out, go to https://www.switchit.money. Maybe we need to move your money to a better bank? We should act individually and corporately as the age of incineration draws to a close and is replaced by the era of creation. So help us God.