Hillsong apologises for founder Brian Houston’s ‘inappropriate’ acts towards two women that ‘breached the church’s moral code’ as it reveals the pastor’s addiction to prescription pills
- Hillsong church issued apology regarding ‘inappropriate’ behavior of founder
- Interim global leader pastor Phil Dooley echoed apology in online service
- Founder Brian Houston texted one woman and entered hotel room of another
- The global board of Hillsong said Mr Houston on medication in both incidents
Hillsong church has apologized to two women and admitted founder Brian Houston’s ‘inappropriate’ behavior breached its moral code of conduct for pastors.
The megachurch said it had been sorting though ‘two complaints made against Pastor Brian’ over the past 10 years.
One complaint was made after a church employee claimed to have been sent ‘inappropriate’ texts, and the second was Mr Houston going into a woman’s hotel room in 2019 at a conference.
Hillsong’s interim global leader pastor Phil Dooley addressed the situation in a service streamed online on Sunday.
Hillsong founder Brian Houston stepped down in January from his role as the organization’s international leader (pictured with wife Bobbi)
‘I want to say we are sorry for anyone who has been a victim of any form of harassment,’ he said.
‘Some of us here… understand the pain because you have experienced it yourselves, and others of us are doing our best to empathize with you.
‘Where you’ve been hurt, we pray for healing, strength and courage to move forward in your life.’
The Hillsong Global Board said the two complaints were treated ‘extremely seriously’.
It added that previous statements, including when Mr Houston temporarily stepped down in January, had not been made out of confidentiality for both him and the two women while the matters were investigated.
‘The first issue was approximately a decade ago and involved inappropriate text messages from Pastor Brian to a member of staff, which subsequently resulted in the staff member resigning,’ the board said.
The board explained Mr Houston was ‘under the influence of sleeping tablets, upon which he had developed a dependence’ when he sent the texts.
Mr Houston immediately apologized and sought professional help to end his dependency on the medication, the church claimed.
Mr Houston (pictured with wife Bobbi) sent inappropriate texts to a former employee and entered the hotel room of a guest after the 2019 Hillsong Conference, the board said
‘To this former staff member, we again apologize and would welcome the opportunity to provide further assistance if this is needed,’ the board said.
The second incident was when Mr Houston knocked on the hotel door of a female guest following the 2019 Hillsong Conference and came inside.
‘An in-depth investigation found that Pastor Brian became disoriented… following the consumption of anti-anxiety medication beyond the prescribed dose, mixed with alcohol,’ it said.
Mr Dooley previously said Mr Houston was in the room for 40 minutes and no allegations of assault were made by the woman.
‘The board found that Brian had breached the Hillsong Pastor’s Code of Conduct,’ he said.
‘The board also met a request for a refund of money donated to the church by this person… Pastor Brian was extremely remorseful and insisted on repaying the church for this.’
The board said after the most recent investigation, Mr Houston took ‘specific action, including stepping down from leadership for a period’.
Hillsong’s interim global leader Phil Dooley (pictured) apologized in an online service as the church’s board issued an apology statement
‘However unfortunately I have failed to take all of the agreed steps which resulted in further action being taken by the board in late 2021.
‘We apologize unreservedly to the people affected by Pastor Brian’s actions and commit to being available for any further assistance we can provide.’
The board said Hillsong was reviewing its governance to ensure higher levels of transparency and accountability.
Hillsong was founded in 1983 in the Hills district of Sydney and has expanded to an international organization with more then 100 churches and a global weekly attendance of 150,000.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism