New film explores Episcopal Church’s groundbreaking history of ethical investing

A new documentary—first shown to The Episcopal Church Executive Council during its fall meeting—highlights the church’s pioneering efforts in conducting socially responsible investing more than a half-century ago.

The Executive Council Committee on Corporate Social Responsibility (CCSR) commissioned the 30-minute film, directed by award-winning producer Peter Swanson, to help tell the story of the church’s groundbreaking—and ongoing—efforts to align its financial investments with the values of Jesus Christ.

The CCSR Story” includes interviews with Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, investment fund managers, and founding members of the committee, among others. It examines work that began in 1970, when then-Presiding Bishop John Hines formed the committee and challenged General Motors to withdraw from apartheid-era South Africa. Those actions have expanded to include church engagement with numerous national and global issues, including campaigns to reduce gun violence and global warming and promote human rights.

“When he (Hines) did that in 1970 it was undoubtedly startling,” Curry says in the film. “He woke us up for the living of a new day of justice and compassion and human decency in every sphere of our lives, personal, social, economic, and political.”

The documentary explores the multi-faceted investment policies and practices developed by the committee and the church’s General Convention. These policies preclude investment in some economic sectors, such as for-profit prisons, and in companies that systematically violate human rights, while supporting investment in firms that are environmentally and socially responsible. Episcopal organizations also use their power as shareholders in various companies to advocate for change through resolutions and media campaigns. 

Working in coalition with the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility and other faith-based groups, church leaders recently succeeded in persuading hospitality chains to educate employees on human and labor trafficking; encouraging pharmaceutical companies to take responsibility for opioid marketing practices and inducing Sturm Ruger & Co., a major gun manufacturer, to study the “lethality” and the human rights impact of its products.

“Our work on this committee is very much about collaboration with other institutions, dioceses, and organizations—we are grateful for their support, which, along with funding from the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, made this documentary possible,” committee member Diane Pollard said. “We hope Episcopalians will take time to view and share this film and be inspired by the church’s history and work in this area.”

The Episcopal Church

The Episcopal Church welcomes all who worship Jesus Christ, in 108 dioceses and three mission areas in 22 nations or territories. The Episcopal Church is a member province of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

The mission of the church, as stated in the Book of Common Prayer’s catechism (p. 855), is “to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.”

As part of that mission, we’re following Jesus into loving, liberating and life-giving relationship with God, with each other and with the earth as the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement.  We seek every day to love God with our whole heart, mind and soul, and to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:36-40).

For the Episcopal Church, the Jesus Movement calls us to focus on three specific Priorities:

  • EVANGELISM: Listen for Jesus’ movement in our lives and in the world. Give thanks. Proclaim and celebrate it! Invite the Spirit to do the rest.
  • RECONCILIATION: Embody the loving, liberating, life-giving way of Jesus with each other.
  • CREATION CARE: Encounter and honor the face of God in creation.
The Episcopal Church of the Redeemer: Worshiping God, living in community, reaching out to the world.

Church of the Redeemer

Church of the Redeemer: Worshiping God, living in community, and reaching out to the world around us. We are an Episcopal Church serving north King County and south Snohomish County, Washington. As you travel your road, go with friends walking the way of Jesus at Redeemer.

Church of the Redeemer is at 6210 Northeast 181st Street in Kenmore, Washington. The campus is a short distance north of Bothell Way, near the Burke-Gilman Trail. The entrance looks like a gravel driveway. The campus is larger on the inside than it is on the outside. And we managed to hide a large building on the side of a hill that is not easily seen from the street.

The Episcopal Church welcomes you.