In a soberingly familiar move, Hillsong Global Pastor Brian Houston has released a new statement on the continued flurry of scandalous revelations at his American Hillsong Ssattelite churches, commenting on the new allegations that disgraced Pastor Carl Lentz was molesting pastrix Leona Kimes when she was working as his nanny several years ago.
Calling Kimes’ experience ‘very disturbing’, the letter thanks her for coming forward in light of the investigation that was launched into Hillsong New York, explaining that they knew about her situation, but was respecting her privacy so that she could reveal it on her terms.
After the termination of the former Lead Pastor of Hillsong East Coast, it was clear the issues were significant and because of our concerns, we initiated an independent and lengthy investigation into the culture of all four Hillsong East Coast locations.
In the process of seeking clarity, hearing Leona Kimes’ experience was very disturbing. We have respected Leona’s privacy and her deeply personal story. She has now decided to share her experience so that she and her husband can continue moving forward as a family.
It will be a long process and they have our full concern and pastoral support.
We know that Leona may face criticism for her story and her choice to share it. In that light, we commend her for her courage and have assured her of our utmost compassion in their journey forward.
Abuse of any kind, in any circumstance, is always deplorable. As a church, we are committed to learning more about how to identify such trauma and bring meaningful support to anyone who has experienced it.
As we work to rebuild Hillsong East Coast, Leona’s experience will be central in our processes. Earlier this year, we made this commitment to update our suite of infrastructure services including increased HR training and the requirement of our policies to be standardized across our network of churches and we hope to improve accountability and communication even further.
We ask for your continued prayer as we seek to bring Godly wisdom to what has been a difficult and heartbreaking situation and season.
Brian and Bobbie
This surely won’t be the last revelation to come out.
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