by Maurine M. Tobin
St. Brendan the Navigator, Deer Isle-Stonington
Episcopal Peace Fellowship of Maine
The way in which the Trustees of Diocesan Funds invest funds given and bequeathed to the Diocese of Maine and many of its congregations by generations of Episcopalians is a compelling moral issue. Should these monies, gathered over time in the name of the church to do God’s work in the world, be invested in companies whose sole or major profits derive from munitions and war materials designed for killing and destruction?
The obvious answer is that funds given for the work of the church should be invested in socially responsible companies, not in those dedicated to militarism.
I strongly commend support of Diocesan Convention Resolutions #6 and #7, which are co-sponsored by Episcopal Peace Fellowship of Maine and St. Brendan the Navigator, Deer Isle- Stonington.
(The full text of the resolutions is available on pages 26 to 28 of the Convention booklet found here.)
The essence of Resolution #6 is to urge the Trustees to bring their policies into alignment with National Church resolutions so that the Diocese of Maine does not invest in the top five military defense contractors nor in those companies that receive more than fifty percent of their revenues from military contracts or those involved in the production, manufacturing or distribution of tobacco products.
Resolution #7 urges the Trustees not to invest in six specific companies that profit from the Israeli military occupation of Palestine and the subsequent harm suffered as a result.
Because the Trustees of Diocesan Funds serve as a separate legal entity from the Diocese of Maine, it is clear that Diocesan Convention has no direct authority over the Trustees and cannot compel them to take any action. The intent of these resolutions is to give delegates to Convention an opportunity to vote on an issue of deep concern: namely how the Trustees invest the funds that belong to all of us in the Diocese.
It is time to convey to the Trustees that we no longer wish to invest in corporations that both generally, and specifically in Palestine, profiteer from warfare and military occupation.
The Trustees have had ample opportunity to examine the portfolio to determine if we have holdings that compromise our integrity. Mainstream Christian denominations have sought to change policies of such companies via active corporate engagement. That effort has failed universally, and is it now time for us to adhere to the resolutions of our own Episcopal Church and to join other denominations in refusing to invest in companies whose practices run counter to our deepest Christian convictions. These resolutions offer a chance for this Convention to urge the Trustees to act as ethical stewards of the resources placed in their care.