The church’s founder, currently on leave, faced complaints for inappropriate text messages and drunkenly entering a woman’s hotel room.
The board of directors of Hillsong, the global megachurch and music empire co-founded by Australian pastor Brian Houston, released a statement Friday addressing two complaints about Houston, including an accusation that the married pastor had spent time alone in a hotel room with a woman in 2019.
The statement, which came as the story was breaking in the Australian press, said the Hillsong board has been “dealing with two complaints made against Pastor Brian over the last 10 years,” and said each was investigated by a board member or “a body appointed by the global board,” and dealt with confidentially.
The other complaint related to an accusation that Houston had flirted with a staff member over text message a decade ago.
Prior to the statement being released, Hillsong reportedly held a video meeting with 800 Hillsong staffers around the world in which interim senior pastor Phil Dooley, who is leading the church while Houston is on leave due to ongoing legal troubles, discussed the complaints for the first time with the church at large. Dooley explained the texts, according to Australia’s ABC News, as being to the effect of, “‘If I was with you, I’d like to kiss and cuddle you,’ words of that nature.”
The second incident, as reportedly detailed in the staff meeting, took place during its annual conference in Qudos Bank Arena in Homebush, New South Wales in 2019. According to ABC, Dooley said Houston had been “drinking with a group.”
“Later that evening, Pastor Brian attempted to get into his room but didn’t have his room key and ended up knocking on the door to the woman’s room,” Dooley reportedly said. “She opened the door …