Arise Church is conducting a review after a number of serious allegations were made by ministry school interns about a destructive church culture. Photo / 123RF
The founding pastor of Arise Church has resigned from his board following allegations of interns in a ministry school course saying they were “overworked, overwhelmed and exploited” by leaders.
A statement released by the Arise Board on Saturday said John Cameron had voluntarily stepped down from his pastoral duties, and (Pastor) Brent Cameron is currently on leave.
“They have also resigned from their roles on the Arise Board of Directors, effective Tuesday, April 12, 2022. They expressed their support for the ongoing independent review,” it read.
In a clarifying statement provided to Stuff, the church said Cameron had not resigned from his job and “remains an important part of the Arise family.”
“So as not to influence the Independent Review, he has voluntarily agreed to step down from his pastoral duties. He has resigned from the Arise Board of Directors to ensure his independence,” the statement read.
Stuff reported that two more non-executive board members had been added and that Arise’s board had expanded the independent review to include its governance processes, structure and composition.
“Pending the results of this review, additional modifications may be made to the Arise Board to provide even more robustness and contribution.”
Congregants who were interned as part of a ministry course and volunteered their services told One News they had been left used, undervalued and burned out by the church.
They revealed that the unpaid internship program had demanded long hours and pushed people to the breaking point.
In an earlier statement, John Cameron apologized for the “heartbreaking” stories of concerned students saying it left him “broken and devastated”.
“I want to say that I am deeply sorry for any harm caused.
“Our heart as a church has always been to make a positive difference in people’s lives, and to hear of experiences where people have felt negatively impacted by Arise is devastating.”
He said leaders worked to understand the stories and what led to that injury.
“These stories are real and authentic, and there are people who are hurting because of the actions and performance culture that were part of Arise.
“The truth is that for a time, as a church, we allowed a culture of performance to be part of our Arise world, and it negatively affected students at Arise Ministry School.
“While that’s not true for the majority of our Arise journey, there’s enough of it in our journey that I’m determined to see this end. This is not acceptable.”