Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship: Backlash frustrates Christian leaders

Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship

Christine Fletcher says Christian leaders are feeling frustrated over the backlash against the Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship.

Fletcher, a former Mayor of Auckland, is an Auckland City Councilor now representing the Albert-Eden-Puketāpapa Ward.

She told Newshub the negativity has to stop.

“It has been expressed to me [there has been] some frustration by some of the Christian community that they have been marginalised by some of the public.”

Mt Roskill’s MP is also calling on internet trolls to stop writing nasty comments on social media.

Labour’s Michael Wood, told Newshub that the comments were uncalled for.

“It is true that there has been some of that kind of behaviour where some people have reacted to what is going on or what they think is going on,” he said.

“We have had some pretty aggressive social media commentary.

We have had a case of a church with a similar name but it is a different church getting very angry messages on its answerphone… none of that actually helps us with the public health problem.”

Health officials believe stigma around Mt Roskill church members testing positive for Covid-19 is halting public health efforts.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) says the privacy of those who are part of the Evangelical Fellowship needs to be respected… to ensure members continue to cooperate with testing.

The church was investigated late last month after allegations of prayer meetings being held during level 3 restrictions.

Dr Ashley Bloomfield says church leaders are now cooperating with contact tracing teams – but that wasn’t initially the case.

Kelly Vogel long-serving Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship trustee told Stuff he thought the church was widely misinterpreted and unfairly described.

But that was the price to pay for following God’s word in a society where many others didn’t.

“We believe God is totally in control.”

He said he was not quite sure they would have done things differently.

“We don’t really know too much about science. We don’t really know too much about politics.”

Vogel said science had a place in society, and the fellowship’s beliefs could be compatible with official guidance on Covid-19.

He said Auckland should loosen restrictions and move to alert level 1.

The MOH on Sunday said 98 per cent of the congregation had now been tested.

So had 98 percent of the people who attended a bereavement event linked to the cluster’s spread.

Health officials on Sunday confirmed Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship had actively encouraged all members of the congregation to get retested for Covid-19 and comply with other public health advice.

Vogel said the fellowship would continue to abide by the Ministry of Health directions.

“The Government’s job is to lead the country, to protect its citizens.”

“We try to do our task and let government do their task.”

“God has appointed them. The Bible has made it very clear we’re to be submissive to them.”

But Vogel said that did not mean the fellowship would always agree with government, especially if official instructions went against what he believed was God’s word.


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