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Hillsong Church founder resigns in wake of sexual allegations

The embattled founder of Hillsong Church has resigned following revelations that two women made serious complaints of misconduct against him in the past decade

“We would like to advise you that Pastor Brian Houston has resigned as global senior pastor of Hillsong Church and the board has accepted his resignation,” the church posted on its website. “We understand there will be much emotion at this news, and we all share these feelings. Irrespective of the circumstances around this, we can all agree that Brian and Bobbie have served God faithfully over many decades and that their ministry has resulted in millions of people across the world being impacted by the power, grace and love of Jesus Christ.”

Hillsong Church announced in January that Houston was stepping down from his role at the helm of the church for all of 2022 as he faces criminal charges of allegedly concealing sex abuse committed by his father decades earlier, “The Christian Post” reported. The new revelations of misconduct revealed last Friday, however, quickly set off a shifting of that plan.

Hillsong Church said Houston violated the church’s pastoral code of conduct by entering the hotel room of an unidentified woman for 40 minutes while under the influence of alcohol and prescription drugs during the church’s annual conference in 2019. Houston doesn’t recall having sex with the woman, and the woman has not said if they did.

Houston also exchanged an “inappropriate text message” with a staffer in 2013. According to Dooley, the text message was “along the lines of, ‘If I was with you I would like to give you a kiss and a cuddle or a hug.'” The staffer resigned shortly after. Hillsong Church blamed Houston’s actions in this case on “sleeping tablets.”

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Houston’s exit from the church he built is the latest in a long line of high-profile sexual misconduct scandals that has followed the megachurch and its campuses amid the pandemic.

In their statement, church leaders acknowledged that they still had much work to do concerning their governance structure and asked for prayers.

“As you can appreciate, there is still much to be done, and our church leadership continues seeking God for his wisdom as we set the course for the future,” it said. “We acknowledge that change is needed. We have committed to an independent review of our governance structure and processes, understanding that this is a time of humble reflection, and we are committed to doing what is necessary to ensure God is honored, and our eyes are fixed on Jesus.”

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice