A Statement from Ps Peter Mortlock on Behalf of City Impact Church on Vaccinations and Church Services
October 3, 2021

CITY IMPACT CHURCH takes no official nor 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 an informed decision based on personal conscience and the counsel of qualified medical professionals.

My heart, as pastor and shepherd, has been to ensure that those in my church have heard all sides of the story to make an informed decision. This has included listening to some voices that have simply been “cancelled”. In this process I have been labelled as “anti-vax” despite saying numerous times that my discussion was neither for- nor against- vaccinations, but rather for personal freedom of choice.

We do see that the prevalent, fearful rhetoric from the government and media over recent months has been greatly concerning and damaging to many. Although we do hope that the vaccine will protect people from severe Covid symptoms and, as promised, be the “passport to freedom”.

I believe the decision to take, or not to take the vaccine (for whatever reason) is personal and not one that needs to be disclosed to the wider public.

City Impact Church honours and values the frontline workers, public health officials and medical professionals who continue to serve our communities with dedication and courage.

It is my perspective that government and media are cancelling voices that may question any aspect of their message or policies – unfortunately this can lead to fuelling greater mistrust. Having the right to question and challenge without being labelled and ignored, should be part of a healthy democracy.

We recognise that the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused much death and devastation across the world, has resulted in numerous challenges for many. As a church we fall into a difficult space in the public debate and we would like a voice with policy makers in defining how that space is dealt with.

The church has always had a major role to play in society and we believe that is relevant to an even greater extent now. We see church leaders and ministers as frontline essential workers dealing with people from every walk of life, in all types of circumstances and with all types of viewpoints and we cannot be hindered or limited in that service to the community. Many countries are now waking up to the mental health toll that Covid-19 public health measures have taken on society and that is a space we regularly occupy.

CITY IMPACT CHURCH has always been very supportive of, and endeavours to comply fully with, the public health measures implemented since the pandemic started.

Along with other faith-communities, due to the various COVID-19 alert level settings, CITY IMPACT CHURCH 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 respect 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 church congregants.

Along with hundreds of other churches here in New Zealand, Australia and around the world, CITY IMPACT CHURCH strongly objects to any legislation or government restrictions that would limit in-person church attendance based on vaccination status or any other status.
Our church has always been open to everyone, without discrimination. Such restrictions would have a major impact on the mental, emotional and social health and wellbeing of thousands of people that call CITY IMPACT CHURCH their church.

In an age which emphasises “inclusion” and “diversity”, we desire to see that expressed in our churches. We do not believe it right to exclude any segment of society who desire to attend a church. Our society needs hope, faith and love and the church is, and always has been, the place where this is found. The church has a vital role to play in the pathway forward, providing everyone with the opportunity to worship God, seek prayer and pastoral care, and enjoy community with one another.

We stand by the belief that 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 the wellbeing and mental health of many at a time of such great anguish and need.

No jab no job has brought great anxiety to many, now the talk of no jab no entry will not only bring greater anxiety but sadly lead to further division in our society.

We strongly believe in honouring the right of each individual to make their own decision in respect to the vaccine.

My encouragement to you is, although we are in challenging times, we need not fear, but rather to fully trust God who is, who was and who is to come.

1 Cor 1:10 “I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.”

Hebrews 10:25 Let us not forsake the assembling of ourselves together as the habit of some but encouraging one another and all the more as you see the day approaching.

Psalm 27:4-5 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 Peter Mortlock
Senior Pastor