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Hillsong pastors resign amid scandals

People worship during a service at Hillsong Church in New York in 2017. Associated Press/Photo by Andres Kudacki

Hillsong pastors resign amid scandals

Australia-based Hillsong Church lost nine of its 16 American campuses in the last two weeks, The New York Times reported, as pastors severed ties with the organization. Hillsong Atlanta lead pastor Sam Collier pulled out last week after a Discovery+ documentary investigating Hillsong scandals was released. Terry and Judith Crist, lead pastors in Phoenix and Las Vegas, announced they were also leaving and taking their congregations with them. Crist oversees six churches and plans to place non-Hillsong pastors in the pulpits. Last week, Hillsong co-founder Brian Houston resigned amid allegations of improper actions toward women and a legal case in which he’s accused of hiding his father’s sexual misconduct.

Why are they leaving? Terry Crist told his congregation Sunday that he has lost confidence in the global board, citing demands that pastors sign nondisclosure and noncompete agreements. Crist called for a full investigation of the board but said he was not leaving because of the documentary. Collier said in an Instagram post that the scandals and the church management made it too difficult to lead a church. In recent weeks, new reports claim an internal Hillsong investigation found rape accusations against Hillsong Dallas leader Reed Bogard from when he was a Hillsong staffer in New York City. Bogard abruptly resigned last year under accusations of misappropriating church funds.

Dig deeper: Read Carolina Lumetta’s report in The Sift on the legal charges against Brian Houston.

Mary Muncy

Mary Muncy is a breaking news reporter for WORLD. She graduated from World Journalism Institute and Patrick Henry College.

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