A statement from Ps Paul de Jong on Vaccinations and Church Services
As a church, LIFE takes no official ethical stance on the use of vaccines, neither do we believe we are in a position to offer medical advice to others. We encourage individuals to make a decision based on personal conscience, the counsel of qualified medical professionals, and the common good of all.
The COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused much death and devastation across the world, has resulted in numerous challenges for many.
LIFE has always been very supportive of, and has to date complied fully with, the public health measures implemented since the pandemic started.
We honour and value the frontline workers, public health officials and medical professionals who continue to serve our communities with dedication and courage.
Along with other faith-communities, due to the various COVID-19 alert level settings, LIFE has been required to move to an online only platform not just for services but also for most of our care for and connection with people.
While we appreciate the importance of public safety and wellbeing in response to the pandemic and continue to be onboard with the current measures, we do have significant concerns about the potential temporary and permanent restrictions for religious activities and faith-based gatherings based on the vaccination status of attendees.
Along with many hundreds of other churches here in New Zealand, Australia and around the world, LIFE strongly objects to any legislation or government restrictions that would limit in-person church attendance based on vaccination status.
Our church has always been open to everyone, without discrimination. Such restrictions would have major impact on the mental, emotional and social health and wellbeing of thousands of people that call LIFE their home, both in New Zealand and Australia.
While vaccination has been labelled the roadmap to freedom from COVID restrictions, freedom from these underlying social and wellbeing issues can’t be solved by the possible proposed restrictions alone. Our world needs the power, peace and presence of God right now, more than any time in recent history. The church has a vital role to play in the pathway forward, by providing everyone with the opportunity to worship God, seek prayer and pastoral care, and be in community with one another.
We stand by and believe everyone – irrespective of their vaccination status – should have the freedom to come together for worship. It’s not only a fundamental human right but vitally important for our wellbeing at a time of such great anguish and need.
We strongly believe in honouring the right of each individual to make their own decision in respect to the vaccine.
On a personal note, I have been asked on numerous occasions what my personal response to being vaccinated is. After weighing up both sides of the equation, Maree and I have chosen to be vaccinated. This is our own personal decision based on the health advice we received in light of what is best for us personally, and for those closest to us.
May I encourage, yes we are in challenging times, but we need not to fear, but rather to fully trust the God who is and has always been ultimately in control.
Psalm 27:3 “Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; Though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident. 4 One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple. 5 For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; In the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.”
Ps Paul de Jong
Senior Pastor, LIFE