For many years, some Friends from Wilmington Friends Meeting have been seeking positive alternatives to investing in weapons manufacturing, gambling, alcohol and tobacco sales, and companies that create ecological harm.
WILMINGTON — Socially responsible investing solutions were available, but they involved moving the church’s funds out of town, and Friends preferred to keep investing locally.
Mark McKay, Clerk of Trustees at the church and city councilperson, explains that “It’s always important to invest in the local economy when possible because this is how we build vibrant communities. Quakers helped found this town, and we want to keep building on that heritage.”
A solution arose when Peoples Bank came to Wilmington. Peoples Bank offers adaptable screens to allow customers to choose which companies and causes they’d rather not invest in. The church was able to have a congregation-wide discussion about their moral priorities and share those with the bank, which created a customized screen to match the testimonies of the meeting.
Neil Snarr, professor emeritus of Wilmington College and a member of the church’s Committee on Peace and Social Concerns, said, “We run a local food pantry, and we partner with the Salvation Army to help pay utility bills and offer Kroger vouchers for Clinton County residents, and we support the work of the Clinton County Adult Day Center and Arcadia Learning Commons in our building. It makes sense that we’d also want to invest locally while working for peace and justice around the world.”
Julie Rudd, pastor at Wilmington Friends Meeting, said, “The impact that one church can make is a small one, but we believe that faithfulness matters even in small things. This can seem like an intimidating process, but it was actually very simple for us, and it provoked a lot of good conversation about social issues that matter to us.”
Wilmington Friends Meeting is a Christian church in the Quaker tradition. You can learn more about them at wilmingtonfriendsonhio.org.”