I am the Rev. Abby Mohaupt. Today I want to speak to you as a pastor, an artist, and an aunt.
I’m the Pastoral Resident at First Presbyterian Church in Palo Alto, CA, a congregation which has adopted the terms of the overture for their investments. It is a position that is not installed so I am not invested in the pension fund.
As part of my work, I spend time with Puente, a resource center for a rural farming community.
I want to acknowledge that part of my heart is still on the West Coast, where the farmworkers and farmers I support in my current call are facing a terrible drought that affects their livelihood and all of our food systems.
Droughts are worsened by climate change and it is the most vulnerable members of our communities who will feel the effects first and worst.
Our group of overture advocates is going to ask you to do a lot of listening before you faithfully and prayerfully consider overture 15-01. What I want to ask you to do for a moment is to imagine for some background.
Imagine for a moment that someone you love very much is an artist. Imagine with me that this artist gives you one of his masterpieces and asks you to take care of it. It’s a gorgeous piece-full of color and texture-and you agree to take care of it…. In fact you agree that taking care of this masterpiece will be part of how you show you love this artist.
Imagine that while this masterpiece is in your care, someone else--a friend, a parent, a pastor--wants to start destroying parts of it. You’re clear that you are supposed to take care of this piece but you agree, especially after this other person agrees to pay you for what he destroys.
Now, imagine what the artist—who you love and who asked you to care his masterpiece—imagine what he will say when he comes to check on his piece.
This is not an imagined situation. It is the way I have come to make sense of our role as Christians in the categorical divestment from fossil fuel companies.
We know as Christians that we are called by the Bible and by faith to care for creation. It is bad enough that we sin in our destruction of creation. It is worse that we profit from that destruction.
Yet as Presbyterians we are a people who are reformed and are always being reformed. We are able to recognize God’s grace and repent from our profiting, as we have in other categorical divestments. It becomes on act of faith to leave fossil fuel in the ground.
I ask you to consider how the Spirit calls you to act on behalf of our denomination. On behalf of my nephews, I thank you.