The Wesleyan Methodist Church of Australia recognises that the issue of vaccination passports and mandatory vaccination of employees and volunteers is a complex issue that has the potential to polarise the church based on different viewpoints. To date, this has been a matter of conscience for church and agency workers, even though the majority of medical professionals clearly advise everyone to vaccinate. This position has been welcomed by the majority of people in our churches as an act of loving care for the vulnerable in our midst.

This is a health issue affecting everyone, not just a select group. Therefore, decisions are being made globally and nationally to prevent the spread of COVID-19, lessen its symptoms and resultant deaths, and hospital overcrowding. At no time has there been any indication these decisions are put in place to persecute churches. This is a short-term crisis (clearly not quite as short-term as we would like), and it is one which needs responsible leadership that maintains a healthy focus on our gospel mandate.

After careful consideration and discussion, The National Board of Administration has authored this statement.

Some of the key principles on which we base our position are:

  1. The WMC and its representatives must comply with all Federal and State legal frameworks and mandates as instructed including health directives. Accordingly, the WMC is always determined to act in a way that fulfils or exceeds our duty of care to those to whom we minister, especially the vulnerable in our communities. (Ephesians 4:1-6, Romans 14:1, James 1:27) 
  2. The WMC and all representatives of the WMC are required to comply with the Code of Conduct in all our decisions, interactions, and communications ensuring they are based on our values: respect, love, freedom of conscience, safety, protection of, and ministry to the vulnerable (Philippians 2:3-4)
  3. The WMC recognizes that at times as Christians, we are called to place the good of the wider community of believers above our individual rights. (Romans 13:1-7, Hebrews 13:17, 1 Peter 2:13-17, Titus 3:1-2, 1 Timothy 2:1-3)

Therefore, our position in regard to COVID in Australia is as follows:

  1. The WMC chooses to engage in respectful conversation with one another in a manner that seeks to maintain unity of the Spirit and support in difficult times, hearing alternative opinions but choosing to support the position of the WMC. (Colossians 4:5, Matthew 10:16)
  2. The WMC and its representatives will always engage in respectful conversation with our civic leaders in a manner that protects the freedom of religion guaranteed by the Constitution. Furthermore, they will ensure they do not engage in any form of disrespectful communication or behaviour that would bring the WMC into disrepute regarding this issue.
  3. The WMC believes that “in person” gathering of the Church is essential for the wellbeing of Christians and the spiritual and social health of society. Therefore, we support our Pastors and leaders to provide face to face services within the guidelines. (Romans 1:11-12)

Vaccination of employees

The WMC and its representatives will voluntarily support the State and Federal Government Health directives. This may include any requirement for our Pastors, employees, and volunteers, to be vaccinated. We recognise some will hold an authorised medical exemption or have moral or ethical objections and we will work within the various guidelines to support those individuals. 

Vaccination of attendees

We will voluntarily support the State and Federal Government Health directives. We recognise some attendees have moral or ethical objections and will work within the guidelines to support those individuals.