Hillsong is shutting down its Dallas operations amid a series of scandals that have rocked the Australian-based megachurch, the church announced on Saturday.
In an email to members, founders Brian and Bobbie Houston addressed the church’s investigation into former Dallas pastor Reed Bogard and his wife, Jess Bogard, who resigned in January after revelations they used donations to fund their luxury lifestyle.
Globally, church leaders have faced a number of allegations over the years, from sexual assault to revelations that former celebrity pastor Carl Lentz cheated on his wife of 17 years while other former Hillsong members have compared it to a ‘cult’.
The Houstons said that Reed Bogard had been suspended from ‘his pastoral duties’ while the church reviewed complaints from members that he failed ‘to uphold the standards of Hillsong leadership.’
‘Early in our process, the Bogards decided to resign from Hillsong Church. We accepted their resignations and acknowledged the time that the Bogards spent establishing our Dallas location,’ the Houstons wrote in the email.
The Houstons examination has now concluded after interviewing members of the church who asked the church not to reveal personal details.
‘It was very disappointing to learn that, while some of you experienced the Bogards as dedicated pastors, many others have experienced leadership that failed to meet the commitments and standards of Hillsong Church,’ the Houstons wrote.
‘I want to be the first to apologize to those who felt disappointed or hurt, and I pray that God does a swift work in bringing peace and healing.’
The church then said it would understand if its members opted to attend local churches in Dallas rather than watch Hillsong broadcasts online.
In the email, the Houstons also blamed a lot of the reasoning for the Dallas closure on the coronavirus pandemic.
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SOURCE: Daily Mail, Adam Schrader and Lauren Fruen