‘We wish to apologise’: Arise Church lead pastors resign from board in wake of scandal

Stuff [Wellington, New Zealand]

May 27, 2022

By Piers Fuller

Key leaders of a controversial megachurch have resigned following a series of accusations of abuse and harassment within the organisation.

Brent and John and Gillian Cameron announced their resignations in a statement on the Arise Church website on Friday.

Lead pastors John and Gillian Cameron​ said they had listened to the stories of those who had “experienced pain” in their church, and they were repentant.

“We wish to apologise to all those who have been hurt, either by our actions or the actions of others, both past and present.”

“We are resigning to allow for real change to take place. We believe that our resignation ensures the best future for both the staff and the congregation of Arise.”

Arise Church recently launched two reviews into allegations its interns had been “overworked, overwhelmed, and taken advantage of”.

At the time, the church said on its website that an independent reviewer has been appointed to hear how a number of former students of the Arise Church Ministry School had been left negatively impacted through their experience. It was running alongside an HR review by a law firm to examine the school.

In Friday’s announcement, there was also a statement from John’s brother Brent Cameron​, who said he was also resigning from the staff of Arise.

“Over the last period of time the attention I have attracted in the public domain has been detrimental for the church and my family. Therefore, I believe it is in the best interests of all involved for me to step away from employment at Arise.”

Kylie Fletcher of the Arise Board “apologised unreservedly” to past and present members of the church in the announcement.

“It is deeply regrettable that a place intended for refuge, safety and security, became a place of deep hurt for some.

“We want to acknowledge all individuals who have come forward during this time and bravely shared their stories and experiences. We thank you for your courage. We are committed to the review and change process.”

Independent journalist David Farrier was a key figure in exposing serious allegations of emotional and physical abuse within the megachurch.

Farrier indicated earlier in the day on Friday that the Camerons would be resigning.

The church, which can be found in 14 towns and cities across Aotearoa, has developed a reputation over the past decade for its large services that are delivered in the style of a rock concert.