Hillsong on the run from Australian regulator

As I stated in this post, a reader informed me that they were aware of an earlier press release. Here is that original press release:



MEDIA RELEASE

27 October 09 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hillsong Church severs ties with Mercy Ministries



Hillsong Church has cut ties with Mercy Ministries around the world following an ACCC investigation into Mercy Ministries Inc.


The Church supported the US founded Ministry through donations, and over the years a number of Hillsong staff served on the Ministry’s board.


Pastor Houston said the current investigation has left him with no choice but to end Hillsong’s association with the organisation.


“Hillsong Church did not initiate the program but offered support by way of donation and number of individuals served on the board and worked as staff at the Ministry over the years.”


“It is not my place to speak on behalf of Mercy Ministries, or to take responsibility for their actions, they are a separate organization.”


“It is so important that we continue to support, and work in cooperation with organisations doing great things in our community and around the world, but we have learnt some lessons by working with an organisation we ultimately did not have control over.”


“To ensure that this does not happen again it is important that we take immediate action to protect the reputation of our church moving forward.”


Pastor Brian Houston has ordered an immediate internal audit of Hillsong staff to identify what boards its workforce is associated with. Pastor Brian said he would recommend to the church’s executive leadership team that they no longer participate on other not for profit boards.


New guidelines would also be introduced for all staff to create new boundaries around their involvement with external boards.


“I take this matter very seriously and it is a shame that action in relation to a separate organisation can overshadow so much of what we as a church stand for,” Pastor Brian said.


Pastor Houston informed thousands of Hillsong attendees at a leadership meeting on Tuesday that the church has severed any affiliation with Mercy Ministries internationally, and would not be associated with any attempt by Mercy Ministries USA, to recommence within Australia, under that or any other name.
Pastor Houston said he would encourage those who have been involved with Mercy Ministries Inc. in Australia, to take responsibility, by co-operating with ongoing investigations.



I am not ware of any media release by the ACCC, indeed I thought their original investigation carried out last year had amounted to nothing. I wonder what the ACCC has uncovered for Brian Houston to pre-empt the damage of any findings.


It does increasingly appear that some sort of misconduct/ impropriety can be traced back to Mercy Ministries International for as Brian has stated he does not want anything do do with them now or in the future.


It does strike me as odd though, this late parting of the ways. I would have assumed that with such close ties, such Christian Fellowship, any wrong doing would have been apparent to Hillsong insiders long before today.

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