Pastor Brian Houston Apologizes 'Unreservedly' for Hillsong NYC's 'Failings,' Promises Way Forward

(Facebook/Brian Houston)

Brian Houston, the founder of Hillsong, apologized Thursday, March 4, for the leadership crisis at the global evangelical church's New York outpost resulting from an adulterous affair carried on by its now former pastor, Carl Lentz.

In a document that accompanied his letter of apology, Hillsong promised to institute sexual harassment training and a mechanism for anonymous reporting of misconduct.

"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," Houston wrote in an email addressed to "Dear Church."

It is the first time that Houston, who started Hillsong in Australia in the 1980s with his wife, Bobbie, has apologized for a culture at the New York church that former volunteers have described as starstruck, catering to celebrity attendees—such as Selena Gomez; Justin Bieber and his wife, Hailey Baldwin Bieber; Kevin Durant; Chris Pratt; and the Jenner sisters—who were treated "like royalty."

Another letter, from the New York law firm Zukerman Gore Brandeis & Crossman that conducted an investigation into what went wrong at Hillsong East Coast, was included in Houston's email, explaining that "detailed report of Zukerman Gore will not be released to the public to protect the privacy and confidentiality of those involved."

In February, Houston announced that the investigation had been completed and had found "significant ways" the New York City megachurch "failed to reflect Hillsong global culture."

In mid-November of last year, Lentz, 42, who had trained at Hillsong's Sydney headquarters and founded Hillsong East Coast with Houston's son, Joel, was ousted for "moral failures," which were later revealed to include an extramarital affair with a Brooklyn jewelry designer.

This article originally appeared at religionnews.com.

© 2021 Religion News Service. All rights reserved.

Read articles like this one and other Spirit-led content in our new platform, CHARISMA PLUS.


To contact us or to submit an article, click here.


Get Charisma's best content delivered right to your inbox! Never miss a big news story again. Click here to subscribe to the Charisma News newsletter.

Five ways to deepen your relationship with God, increase your faith and save money!

  • Deepen Your Relationship with God with a FREE eCourse: Click Here to view all of our free e-Courses. Favorite topics include Fear, Forgiveness, Holy Spirit, Supernatural, and How to Hear God.
  • Super Discounts and Close-Out Specials: Click Here to view all our bundles and close-out specials and save up to 86%! Prayer, Holy Spirit, Anointing, the Supernatural and more.
  • God Wants to Anoint Women Now: Rise up and enter the anointing of Deborah, Anna, Esther, Ruth and Hannah. You were called to go higher. Click Here to learn more.
  • Change Your Atmosphere and Circumstances Through Prayer! John Eckhardt's prayer bundle gives you six powerful books to help you pray and change any situation. Click Here.
  • HUGE Bible Sale!: Click Here to save up to 50% off a great selection of Bibles. Plus, get a free gift with each order!

Subscription Special: Subscribe to Charisma for Only $24.97 and get a free gift. With your subscription, you'll receive Born For Significance by best-selling author Bill Johnson. View Offer

Attention Pastors and Leaders: Leadership training and development are crucial for success. Enroll in a FREE 1-hour leadership mini-course by Dr. Mark Rutland. View Details

Charisma News - Informing believers with news from a Spirit-filled perspective