Our Minister's Midweek Moment this week comes courtesy of our National Superintendent - Rev. Brett Jones. Brett has written this pastoral letter to the church.
PASTORAL LETTER FROM THE NATIONAL SUPERINTENDENT
25 MAY 2021
We have all felt the impact of COVID-19 over the last year. I am proud of how people across our denomination have responded to the ongoing changes. It is with concern and prayer that we watch how it continues to ravage parts of the world.
Our unique position in the world offers Aotearoa-New Zealand the very real opportunity to be COVID-free over coming months. Whether that occurs will largely depend on the nation-wide take-up of the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine ensures th
e ongoing safety of those who are vulnerable and will enable us to reopen to the rest of the world over time. This opportunity is available because of the God-given talents of the experts who have led the way in responding to this global crisis.
The Wesleyan Methodist Church is encouraging our people to lead the way in receiving the blessing of a COVID-19 vaccine here in New Zealand. We are doing so because:
We are committed to loving our neighbours, many of whom are vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19 should it gain a foothold in New Zealand;
We serve communities in vulnerable parts of the nation especially in the southern and western areas of Auckland City;
The ongoing social and economic harms arising from the pandemic need to be addressed as soon as possible;
Our research satisfies us that the ethical and safety questions surrounding the vaccine are far outweighed by the potential risk to those we serve.
We appreciate that some people will reach a different conclusion regarding this vaccine and vaccines in general. We cannot and will not coerce anyone to take the vaccine. All families and individuals need to make their own choice. However, we are convinced by our review of scientific, theological and ethical sources that there is a strong mandate for the church to lead the way in how it responds to this crisis. The comments of Dr Francis Collins, former head of the Human Genome Project and committed Christian are compelling in framing this moment in history when he says we are at a "love your neighbor" moment.
We have prepared a summary of sources to respond to some of the concerns that we are aware of. You will find these below, where you can follow links to expert information. These are designed to help those who wish to explore more deeply, to do so. We've selected only the best sources as we believe the quality of source material is a real issue currently in the way information on the vaccine is being shared. We advise caution in accepting and believing all information found on the internet especially where it feeds fear and anger towards the medically determined response to this crisis. In keeping with John Wesley's approach we're holding scripture, knowledge, experience and tradition in tension in forming our view. We're inspired by Wesley's own commitment to innovative healthcare in his time and the many Christian scientists, healthcare professionals and leaders who have contributed to the development of vaccines for COVID-19.
I personally encourage you to get vaccinated as soon as you have the opportunity to do so. I know I, and our other leaders, will be doing so.
Rev. Brett Jones
ps - I will be vaccinated as soon as I can - Peter