On the same weekend that former Hillsong Church global senior pastor Brian Houston preached his first sermon since his resignation, Hillsong’s interim pastor Phil Dooley publicly responded to a lawsuit against the global megachurch, which was filed by a former employee who alleged that Hillsong misled donors and evaded taxes.
Dooley Responds to Lawsuit Over Hillsong’s Alleged Financial Impropriety
On Friday (August 19), Dooley addressed the allegations outlined in former fundraising and governance coordinator Natalie Moses’ lawsuit, which included the accusation that Hillsong misappropriated funds for, among other things, “large cash gifts” to Brian Houston.
“Since Lucinda and I took on the role of Interim Global Senior Pastors, I have endeavoured to keep you updated on the progress Hillsong Church is making to bring significant change to our organisational structure,” Dooley said in a statement released to Hillsong’s website. “I have also given you a commitment that we will keep you informed of developments and issues that arise in an open and transparent manner as we move forward into the future that God has for us.”
Regarding the lawsuit, Dooley expressed that while he would like to speak to the specifics of the case, “it is inappropriate to respond or comment publicly because the matter is before the court. However, I can assure you that my heart, and the desire of our leadership, is to deal with this matter as we approach any other issue – with humility, love, and prayer.”
“While I have been advised that during the court process we will defend these claims, I also acknowledge that there are many things we must do – and are already doing – differently to how we have operated in the past,” Dooley went on to say. “This is a new day for Hillsong, and we are today a different church to what we were even a year ago. When issues like this arise, our first response must be to look to the Holy Spirit and be led by Him.”
Apparently maintaining Hillsong’s innocence in the matter, Dooley added, “Please keep in mind that anything you may hear, or that may be reported, are allegations that are untested and unproven.”
“But equally, I want you to know that if throughout this process we find that we need to make changes, we will. We are confident that truth will prevail, and we appreciate your prayers,” Dooley’s statement concluded.
Brian Houston Preaches Comeback Sermon at Christian Faith Center in Seattle, WA
On the same weekend Phil Dooley was addressing Hillsong’s financial dealings, former global senior pastor Brian Houston appeared in the pulpit for the first time since he resigned in disgrace from Hillsong in March following a string of scandals including drugs, alcohol, and sexual impropriety.
Houston appeared on the stage of Christian Faith Center in Seattle to preach on Sunday, something his wife Bobbie referred to as “a milestone moment.”
The church was founded in 1980 by Casey and Wendy Treat, who serve as co-pastors. Their son, Caleb Treat, serves as the church’s executive pastor. A graduate of Hillsong College, the younger Treat has previously been accused of sexual harassment.