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.
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.
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. I want to stress, 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.
This is the unified view across all of LIFE and the collective conviction that our Lead Pastors Craig and Nadia, Tony and Kath carry for our LIFE Melbourne and LIFE Adelaide Campuses.
Let me finish with Deut 3:18: “Then I commanded you at that time, saying: The LORD your God has given you this land to possess… 21 And I commanded Joshua at that time, saying, ‘Your eyes have seen all that the LORD your God has done to these two kings; so will the LORD do to all the kingdoms through which you pass. 22 You must not fear them, for the LORD your God Himself fights for you.“
May I encourage you that we need not to fear, but rather to fully trust the God who is and has always been ultimately in control.
Ps Paul de Jong
Senior Pastor, LIFE