Hillsong head honcho Brian Houston issued a letter of apology for the cornucopia of moral failings at Hillsong NYC, including not dealing with adulterating, prideful, pastor Carl Lentz sooner, various sex scandals, various money scandals, and various spiritual abuse scandals.
The letter of apology was sent to Hillsong members and comes four months after the church was shaken to the core after Lentz’s first affair went public. It said in part:
We know that Hillsong East Coast has failed to be the kind of church it should be. On behalf of the Global Board and as Global Senior Pastor, I accept responsibility for these failings and apologize unreservedly.
Hillsong HQ launched an internal investigation into the New York branch but never made the findings public. At the time, Houston said that the Church failed in “significant ways” to reflect the culture they wished to impart. Houston also said previously in a leaked phone recording that there was a “culture of dysfunction” at Hillsong and other officials confirmed that the misadventures of staffers using the church like a seedy dating service, “sleeping around” with volunteers and asking them to send nude pictures was “mostly true.”
Accompanying Houston’s email came a letter from the law firm behind the investigation- Zukerman Gore Brandeis & Crossman. They explained that while the investigation was complete, it would “not be released to the public” in order to “protect the privacy and confidentiality of those involved.”
Along with the letter came an announcement on the Church website. Not only are Hillsong Perth pastor Chrishan and Danielle Jeyaratnam replacing the Lentz family with the hopes of setting the house in order, but they they announced “significant changes” at the church in order to “address the issues and misalignment of the culture and practices at Hillsong Church East Coast.” They hope these changes will “address the lapses that have affected the culture of our East Coast campuses, and prevent the strong policies, that we do have in place globally from being ignored.”
- Additional training for staff and volunteers intended to increase awareness of the specific types of power dynamics that often arise in a church setting
- Revised and reinforced Code of Conduct for all Staff
- Uniform HR policies, procedures and training
- A clear and consistent system for reporting grievances and issues related to inappropriate behavior.
- A stringent sexual misconduct and harassment policy and mandatory training. (“It is clear that our existing policies and procedures, which intend to promote a healthy environment, were actively ignored, failed to be maintained, and were not enforced effectively at a local level.”)
- Improved financial accountability policies
- Improved supervision and accountability of all pastors and staff
- Increased safeguards for staff and volunteers.
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