Motion # 4
Motion 11 Mission Aligned Investment SWG Report
Mover: Ven M Wallace Seconder: Mr J Whitehead
That this special General Synod / te Hīnota Whānui 2021:
Adopts the ‘He Waka eke noa Motion 11 report on Fruitful Stewardship through Mission Aligned Investment’ and:
- Requests the officers, directors, trustees and fiduciaries of all financial, property and real asset owning and administering entities and trusts (collectively ‘financial entities and trusts’) of this church to study this report and examine their current and prospective investments, impact and asset management policies in the light of this report and the five-fold mission statement of the Constitution of this church;
- Requests all financial entities and trusts develop longer term asset allocation and utilisation strategies in the light of this report and the five-fold mission statement of the Constitution of this church;
- Requests all financial entities and trusts of this church to consider what changes are needed in any constitutions, trust deeds or other founding documents or investment policies, to empower them to make such investments and to make such amendments as are needed to permit such investments;
- Requests all financial entities and trusts of this church to begin to re-align their investments and assets towards fruitful mission and financial stewardship; and
- Requests that each Diocese, Hui Amorangi and episcopal area of the church reports progress (what has been done, why (as expressed in target social or environmental impacts) where and by whom) back to their own ministry units in open, transparent and timely ways and to the General Synod Te Hīnota Whānui 2022 pertaining to fruitful stewardship in action.
Notes: overview and summary of the Motion 11 work:
He waka eke noa – A waka we are all in together
“Passive investment may be the right investment solution for many, but passive stewardship is the answer for no one…
“Money is not morally neutral – it can do harm and it can do good.”
Archbishop Justin Welby, Aug 2019
... a time when the Anglican Church is seen at the forefront of socially responsible investment
... a time when the Anglican Church is renowned and respected for its total financial transparency
... a time when the Anglican Church in Aotearoa is not only believed by many to be a provider to the entire community, but acknowledged by all to be that provider
In the Parable of the Talents (Matt 25:14–30; Luke 19:12–27), Jesus urges his followers to be fruitful stewards, not merely faithful stewards. It is just one of many examples where the Church is shown the importance of economic justice. Investment and stewardship provide a way for the Church to fulfil its calling… but only if they are undertaken in a way that pleases God.
As Anglicans, our participation in God’s mission is expressed in Five Marks. It is these Five Marks that inform us as we make economic choices in God’s world, and call us toward mission-aligned investment and fruitful stewardship…
Responding to Human Need
Transforming Unjust Structures
And this brings us to Motion 11.
Motion 11 is not new or radical. It is, in fact, a rediscovery of a time when the Church was the leading impact investor and provider of resources for missional outcomes. Hospitals, universities, schools, libraries, museums, missionary societies – all benefitted from the sound stewardship of the Church. Today, more often than not it is the private sector, the corporate world, who are leading the way in prioritising this type of impact investing.
Maori welcomed the first European missionaries and settlers to Aotearoa, many of whom arrived poor and assetless. Maori gifted immense tracts of land to the Church. And today it is the Church who has ammassed billions of dollars, and Maori are over-represented on the bottom rung of every socio-economic index. Should we see this as a sad irony? Or a startlingly clear call to action?
In our efforts to protect and build upon the wealth we have been blessed with, have we become overly focused on purely financial return – at the expense of positive social impact?
“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.”
1 Tim. 6:10
The expected social and environmental benefits and the “trickle down” of wealth promised from such investments have, on the whole, failed to materialise. The declining use of properties and land challenges all in times of need. Thirty years of chronic underinvestment in environmental and social infrastructure is now evidenced in greater inequality than has ever been seen before on these shores.
Many of the assets identified have been in the Church for decades, even centuries. Their presence challenges us to glorify God in how we think about them and use them.
And now Covid-19 has us teetering on the brink of the deepest worldwide recession in living memory, if not in history. Those “rainy day” savings that many investments represent? The heavens are about to open. Recovery may be years away – but until then, we could be a nation’s life preserver.
Now is not the time to merely talk about the inheritances we have... now is the time we must make the wisest use of them, for the sake of both current and future generations.
No one person or entity has the resources or talents to turn the tide alone. We must all work together. We cannot continue to be undermined by our own lack of courage and action given the collective billions in assets we hold within the Church.
We now have the opportunity to rediscover and recover the prophetic aspects of asset usage for the Mission of the Church... and in doing so, stop playing “catchup” with the world, and lead by example. This approach promises the greatest of rewards – furthering the rapid establishment of the Kingdom of God here on Earth.