United Church of Christ on Tuesday adopted a resolution calling for divestment from companies that profit from the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, a measure that would affect the $3.3 billion in assets of the Pension Boards-United Church of Christ Inc., New York.
“It is the position of the Pension Boards that whenever the synod speaks to the church, we receive it seriously and respond faithfully, in keeping with our historic commitment to social justice,” said Richard E. Walters, pension boards corporate social responsibility director, in a statement in response to the resolution.
The resolution was adopted by the general synod of the church, a biennial meeting of church members, in Cleveland, according to a UCC news release.
“As a pension plan, we must always work in members’ best interests,” Michael A. Downs, PBUCC president and CEO, said in the statement. “For PBUCC, this means responsible stewardship of the retirement assets members have entrusted to us.”
The boards administer a defined contribution plan that “is the primary retirement income vehicle for most plan members,” according to the PBUCC website.
The PBUCC plan has two sets of funds. Its annuity funds have $1.7 billion in assets, while its accumulation funds have $1.29 billion in assets in eight investment options, including four target-date funds.
In addition, the PBUCC oversees about $250 million in non-pension assets.
The data are as of last Dec. 31, according to the PBUCC annual report.
Mr. Walters couldn’t be reached for comment.
Emily Schappacher, UCC communications specialist, referred inquires to the PBUCC.
The resolution reflects “our urgent concern for the worsening effects of the Israeli occupation on Palestinian people and lives, including the disparity in rights and power,” the UCC news release said. “These votes reaffirm the UCC’s commitment to the dignity of all people.”