Arise Church For Dummies
A very basic summation of the Arise Church idiocy from April 3 through to today.
This is a dummies guide to what’s happened at Arise Church since this whole mess started back on April 3.
Well, the mess started 20 years ago when Arise was founded — but the reveal of the mess began on April 3.
I didn’t email it out, because Webworm readers will be familiar with it. But for the uninitiated, a post here seemed better than a long Twitter thread.
Let’s get to it.
April 3: Webworm releases its first report about Arise Church.
April 11: John Cameron and Arise Church commission an independent review by ‘Pathfinding’ into the serious allegations raised by Webworm. They indicate they care deeply about victims: “We are going to listen and learn [...] We are open for dialogue, and will be making the organisational changes recommended.”
May 27: John Cameron and his brother Brent resign from Arise Church.
They indicate they care deeply about victims: “We wish to apologise to all those who have been hurt, either by our actions or the actions of others, both past and present. You are precious. You are loved by God.”
June 12: Arise releases a “roadmap” to the release of the independent review, saying it will be released on June 29. They indicate they care deeply about victims: “Our prayer is that over this time, those who have been hurt will find a pathway to healing and reconciliation.”
June 27: Two days before the independent review is meant to be released, Arise says it will take another two weeks to release it. They indicate they care deeply about victims: “545 individuals completed submissions, and we are heartened to see this response. We are incredibly grateful to all of those who made submissions into the Pathfinding process.”
July 6: Two days later, Arise says there is now an urgent non-publication order over the independent review. They indicate they care deeply about victims: “The Arise Board strongly maintains its desire and intent to release the full Pathfinding report publicly, and acknowledges that by doing so it honours those who have come forward.”
July 27: Arise clarifies the urgent non-publication order is due to an employment matter with the Employment Relations Authority (ERA), and says it has no idea when the review will be released. They indicate they care deeply about victims: “This review process is an important opportunity for our church to reflect deeply, to learn, to grow, and to become healthier and a more beautiful representation of Christ to Aotearoa and the world. Therefore, it is important the process is not rushed.”
August 16: With no timeline in place for releasing the independent review, with 545 victims waiting, and the considerable public interest involved, Webworm decides to leak the independent review. The review paints a picture of a church sick to its core, and recommends the entire existing Arise board resigns. It notes that of the 545 respondents, 325 are still current members of Arise.
August 17: Arise releases a statement saying “the most recent version of the Pathfinding Report was illegally obtained and made available through unofficial channels online.” With the report now public, Arise immediately attempts to minimise its importance, saying “The Pathfinding Report was intended to be one of a number of inputs to inform the process of change.” It then gaslights the 545 contributors, which include 325 current church members: “It was not an investigative process, with no testing or verification of what was heard.” After minimising and gaslighting, they still say how frustrated they are that despite the leak, they can still not release it themselves: “While frustrated by the delay, Arise is legally prohibited from releasing or commenting on any of the content.”
Yesterday: The Employment Relations Authority tells Webworm that because the report is now in the public sphere, all non-publication orders have been dropped, saying: “The order is rescinded.”
It is also clear that John Cameron and his wife Gillian were the ones who’d gone to the ERA.
I wrote to Arise saying: “With nothing stopping you from publishing the Pathfinding review commissioned by, well, you - will you be releasing the Pathfinding report anytime soon?”
I am yet to hear back from this church that clearly cares so deeply about its victims.