We want to let you know about our plans for the next few months, as life changes for us here in NZ.
The government have announced the rollout of a new traffic light system to manage the Covid pandemic. Part of these new laws require gatherings larger than 50-100 people to use vaccine passes. Our venues have now also told us they will require vaccine passes for gatherings of any size.
We have spent many hours praying over how we should approach these restrictions – seeking the wisdom of our Board, pastors across NZ, and key people in our church. We have always been a church for everyone, everywhere – and it breaks our heart to think that it might not be possible for every person to be part of our Sunday services.
However, we are in a health crisis – one that an elected government is tasked to manage. This is not a moral issue that we feel called to take a stand on. Whether or not we agree with the new laws and regulations, we understand the extremely difficult job that the government carries to manage the pandemic.
Vaccine passes will be a reality of life in NZ, at least in the near future. To run large Sunday gatherings in the next season, we will need to adopt them at our services. We wish that we weren’t in the position of having these legal restrictions on our services, and are praying this is a short-term situation. But our calling as a church is to share the truth and love of Jesus Christ – and we must continue to do so, in whatever way we can. Our church services are for our church, but they are also for the lost – a place for people to find salvation and life change.
We recognize that a portion of our ARISE family are choosing not to get the vaccine, and we know life is going to change for you in a significant way. But when it comes to church, you are still part of the family. Sundays may look different, but you remain an indispensable part of our community and we are committed to making sure you can participate in church life to the extent safe and possible.
Once the traffic light system is implemented, we will bring our services online – then begin physical services on Sunday 23rd January. Though we will miss our services for the next few weeks, we would rather move slowly together, than quickly apart.
Unity is always going to be our goal. The Bible doesn’t give instruction on being vaccinated or unvaccinated – what it does make very clear is that we must love one another. In a time of division and fear, we can be known for our love and faith.
This delay allows us time to implement the changes so we can comply with the law without compromising the warmth of our welcome – and to walk the journey with those for whom church will look different in this next season. Over this summer season, we encourage you to host watch parties, have BBQs, and enjoy the sun together – to have church and be the church.
We are entering a hugely unpredictable season, and for many people, a difficult one. But we know the God that is above it all, and we are praying for His peace, provision, and protection over each and every one of you. Despite what is going on around us, we believe that together as a church we will grow, reach new people with the truth and love of Christ, and come out of this season stronger.
If you have any questions or could use a bit of extra support in this season, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your campus pastor or reply to this email.
John & Gillian Cameron
Senior Pastors, ARISE Church