New Zealand's Worst Place: Arise Church
Arise church crouches down, removes their pants & underwear, and lets a torrent of steaming faeces explode from their buttocks into the open mouths of their victims.
Last night Arise Church and its new leaders showed what they really think of their victims by crouching down, removing their pants and underwear, and letting a torrent of steaming faeces explode from their buttocks into the open mouths of their victims.
They did this in the form of a press release on their website, and an email to their entire email database. They shouted their message from the rooftops and were proud of it. It’s a message that demonstrates how depraved and sick Arise church has become.
After living with hundreds of pages of victims testimony since April this year, it made me feel physically sick when I read it in the early hours of this morning.
It’s a statement that proves this former church was never anything more than a bad joke; a stain; a parody of what any sane person thinks fellowship should be; an idol built to honor its narcissist of a leader.
I say “former church” because Arise has stopped being a church. It is something else entirely. It is a machine incapable of empathy. It doesn’t care about victims. It doesn’t care about people.
It doesn’t care about anything except its image, and it cares about its image because it cares about money.
Let’s not kid ourselves: This was never about Christianity — it was about the egos of leaders and the money they set out to make. In Arise, John Cameron and his cronies found fame and adoration. John and his wife Gillian, and the bumbling brother Brent.
Together the Camerons set up an institution incapable of anything except blind obedience. Arise was destined to become an embarrassment. An embarrassment to New Zealand, an embarrassment to Christians who care about people over power, and an embarrassment to anyone still walking through its doors.
As previously reported by Webworm, John and Gillian Cameron resigned on May 26, along with John’s brother, Brent. They resigned for a reason. They resigned for lots of reasons:
The hideous nature of Arise was further confirmed when the independent review into their actions became public — first leaked to Webworm — then released, kicking and screaming, by Arise. This is what the “Arise Board and Leadership Team” wrote last week:
“Much of the report contains stories of peoples’ deep pain and trauma and we do not take this lightly. As a Board and Leadership Team, hearing these stories has brought hurt, anger, frustration, and regret. Many stories we know are about our whanau, friends, and people that we are actively involved in our lives.”
This is all total bullshit, of course. As usual, you can’t believe a word Arise Church says. The vomit they sent out last night proves this beyond a doubt.
To be clear: all of this hideous, insidious shit happened under John Cameron’s watch. All that “deep pain and trauma”. With that in mind, any sane organisation would distance themselves from someone like John Cameron.
But of course Arise church isn’t sane. It’s sick.
And so it released this statement last night:
Trigger warning: if you are a victim of Arise Church — and there are many of you — please take care:
Acknowledgement of John & Gillian's Service & Ministry
We want to acknowledge, thank and honour John & Gillian Cameron for their incredible service and leadership of Arise Church for the past 20 years. Aotearoa New Zealand is different because of the ministry of John & Gillian.
Their courage, faith and obedience to God to step out and launch Arise Church in 2002 has left an indelible mark on the Christian landscape in this nation and has impacted tens of thousands of lives.
As the founding pastors of this great church they have paved the way for a fresh wave of revival. There are countless stories of salvation, discipleship, families being restored and people stepping into ministry as a direct result of their leadership.
ARISE Church has had a significant effect on the story of Christianity in Aotearoa in the 21st century.
This church, under the leadership of John & Gillian, has presented the gospel of Jesus Christ to a new generation and as a result, many have found faith in Christ which has impacted families and communities across NZ. This church is now active in 13 towns and cities around Aotearoa and also blessing many online as well.
Their lasting impact within the wider Christian church of New Zealand cannot be understated.
ARISE has been a source of strength and encouragement for many pastors, leaders and churches across New Zealand and around the world. John & Gillian have been at the forefront of this in their love, honour and care for other ministers and ministries.
John & Gillian have raised a second wave of pastors, preachers and church leaders who continue to serve God and His people both in ARISE Church and in churches and ministries around the nation that will continue to bear great fruit for the Kingdom of God.
We want to publicly acknowledge and celebrate their tenure, their leadership and their service to God, to the staff of ARISE Church and to the church members for 20 years.
That is the truest version we’ve seen of Arise thus far.
That letter was penned by the Arise Board, made up of Ben Kendrew, Alistair Papali’i-Curtin, Anna Pasikale, Alice Camaivuna, Kylie Fletcher, Robert Reid and Israel Cooper.
Their words prove Arise has learnt nothing, and will continue to churn through more victims. It’s inevitable, because trauma is built into Arise’s DNA.
Ben Kendrew, Alistair Papali’i-Curtin, Anna Pasikale, Alice Camaivuna, Kylie Fletcher, Robert Reid and Israel Cooper are not fit to lead or consult in any way, shape or form when it comes to Arise church.
They’ve failed the victims. They’ve shamed the victims. Worse than that, they’ve publicly exalted the perpetrators.
Anyone who remains at Arise church is complicit at this point.
This all mimics the exact behaviour of Hillsong megachurch: back in March (the month before my Arise reporting started), Webworm went inside Hillsong’s secret meeting where they honoured and praised Brian Houston, their disgraced leader who’d allegedly concealed child sexual abuse carried out by his father in the 1970s, and turned up drunk, medicated and unwanted at a woman’s hotel door.
If you really want to know what “incredible service and leadership of Arise Church for the past 20 years” looks like in reality — I suggest you read this from someone who was a member of Arise for 18 years. This paragraph has always stuck with me:
“John managed to dismantle my personhood, and the personhood of many others. To this day I feel myself kick into fight or flight mode just at the thought of seeing him. I felt unable to think for myself in his presence, going along with whatever he said whether or not it aligned with what I truly valued.”
That is Arise’s legacy.
The irony in all this is that the church is so utterly deluded it’s missed one huge point: it’s driven far more people away from Christianity than towards it.
If their goal is saving souls for God (spoiler alert: their goal is money) then they’ve failed spectacularly — because this last year has made them the poster-child for running as far away from Christianity as humanly possible. Scrub that: Their last 20 years has made running the best option.
“Their lasting impact within the wider Christian church of New Zealand cannot be understated.”
They got that bit right.
If you have any information to add about Arise, you can reach me in confidence at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m especially interested in hearing from those who have recently left, or are thinking of leaving.
Please share this post — and if you know anyone who still attends Arise, and is complicit in all this — make them your first priority: webworm.co/p/disgrace