This week a media article about Arise began circulating. The article contains heartbreaking stories of individual Arise Ministry School students who felt overworked, overwhelmed, under-appreciated and taken advantage of as interns.
As the leader of Arise Church I am broken and devastated by these stories.
Our heart as a church has always been to make a positive difference in the lives of people, and to hear experiences where people have felt negatively impacted by Arise is devastating. As a leadership we have been working to understand these stories and what has led to this hurt. These stories are real and authentic, and there are people hurting because of the actions and culture of performance that was a part of Arise.
I want to say I am deeply sorry for any hurt caused.
We are going to listen and learn. Myself and the leadership team have been reviewing the information that has been brought to light. We have sought advice from an independent body to guide the church on next steps and have appointed an independent reviewer to confidentially hear people’s stories, and to make recommendations to our Board and leadership team for the purpose of organisational change. We are open for dialogue, and will be making the organisational changes recommended.
Anyone affected is able to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org, but we know that not everyone will feel comfortable sharing their experiences with Arise directly. There will be details released shortly on how to contact the independent reviewer.
The truth is for a period of time as a church we allowed a culture of performance to be part of our Arise world, and this negatively affected Arise Ministry School students. Although this is not true for the majority of our Arise journey, there is enough of it in our journey that I am determined that it will end. It is not acceptable.
I apologise for the pain that this has caused to those who have worked here previously, our ministry school students, and to the people of Arise. I want to make it clear that there is no place for people’s health to be anything other than our top priority.
It is true that our Arise Ministry School is now a very different experience to what it used to be. We have changed and made massive improvements in recent years, and this year more improvements will be made. Separate from an independent reviewer, as outlined above, Arise has engaged an HR review by an external party to review the Arise Ministry School, which will commence after Easter.
Although most staff and ministry school students throughout the country did thoroughly enjoy their experiences and their journey, we can clearly see this was not the case for all, and this is deeply saddening.
Right now, our intention is to provide a way forward for people to safely share their stories and experiences and for us to listen, learn, and change.
— John Cameron