Press Release – Auckland Church Leaders
The recent massacre at the mosques in Christchurch has brought deep grief to New Zealand. As Auckland church leaders we condemn this evil attack and are shocked and horrified that such an atrocity should take place in our nation.We are equally horrified that it should be perpetrated in a place of prayer and worship, when freedom to worship is cherished in New Zealand. How shocking this violence should happen in a city called “Christchurch” as this act goes against everything that Jesus Christ stood for and that the church stands for.
As a Christian community we welcome, support and embrace all who live peaceably in Aotearoa New Zealand. We remember that Jesus Christ spent his early years as a migrant/refugee in Egypt and so we celebrate all who have come to New Zealand looking for freedom, safety and greater opportunities for their families. Our national anthem says it so well:
“God of Nations, at Thy feet,
In the bonds of love we meet….
Men of every creed and race,
Gather here before Thy face….
From dissension, envy, hate
And corruption guard our State,
Make our country good and great
God defend New Zealand”
These words take on fresh and deeper meaning as we stand in solidarity with those who grieve the loss of their loved ones.
To the Muslim community in New Zealand we say that you are welcomed and loved as we share life in this great nation. This is your home too.
We pray for healing in the midst of deep sorrow. We pray for all families and friends impacted by such hate and intolerance. We pray this horrible tragedy will not divide us, but rather bring us together in strength, compassion and common humanity.
Prepared by Auckland Church Leaders:
• Pastor Paul Allen-Baines, Auckland District Chairman, Congregational Union
• Rt Rev Ross Bay, Anglican Bishop of Auckland
• Pastor Tak Bhana, Senior Pastor, Church Unlimited
• Pastor Paul de Jong, Senior Pastor, LIFE
• Pastor Jonathan Dove, Senior Pastor, Greenlane Christian Centre
• Most Rev Patrick Dunn, Catholic Bishop of Auckland
• Majors Ian & Liz Gainsford, Divisional Leaders, The Salvation Army
• Mr David Goold, on behalf of the Christian Community Churches of NZ (serving the Open Brethren)
• Pastor Ken Harrison, Senior Pastor, Harvest Christian Church , Papakura AOGNZ
• Pastor Dr Brian Hughes, Senior Pastor, Calvary Chapel
• Rev Dr Stuart Lange, Interim National Director, NZ Christian Network
• Rev Kok Soon Lee, Auckland Chinese Churches Association
• Rev Andrew Marshall, National Director, Alliance Churches of New Zealand
• Very Rev Anne Mills, Dean, Auckland Cathedral of the Holy Trinity
• Rev Steve Millward, Moderator, Northern Presbytery, Presbyterian Church
• Pastor Bruce Monk, International Overseer for Acts Churches & Equippers
• Pastor Sam Monk, Senior Pastor, Equippers Church & Acts National Leader
• Pastor Peter Mortlock, Senior Pastor, City Impact Church
• Pastor Lloyd Rankin, National Director, Vineyard Churches
• Pastor Boyd Ratnaraja, National Leader, Elim Church of New Zealand
• Pastor Dean Rush, Senior Leader, C3 Church Auckland
• Pastor Jim Shaw, New Life Churches Executive team
• Rev Paul Talluri, on behalf of the Church of the Nazarene
• Bishop Brian Tamaki, Destiny Churches New Zealand
• Pastor Allan Taylor, Northern Baptist Association
• Pastor Ben Timothy, President, North New Zealand Conference, Seventh-day Adventist Church
• Rev Dr Richard Waugh, National Superintendent, Wesleyan Methodist Church of New Zealand
• Rev Graeme White, Auckland Synod Superintendent, Methodist Church of New Zealand