Hillsong Church founder Brian Houston stepped down from the church's boards, reports say.
According to The Roys Report (TRR), Houston made the decision after being charged by the New South Wales (NSW) police relative to the sexual misconduct of his late father, Frank. Nevertheless, he will remain as the church's global senior pastor.
The founder announced the move through an email to the congregants.
He began by encouraging the members amidst the ongoing lockdown in the country, saying that the church is helping and ministering to the community during this moment.
"It's important that we all continue to lean in, encourage one another and help each other through this pandemic. The gathering of the saints should never be optional. Together we are stronger," he continued.
He went on by citing John 14:1 and 27, reminding the people about the peace that Jesus gives.
"In these uncertain times, the peace of God is greater than our challenges," Houston added.
He also expressed his gratitude to everyone who prayed for him and his wife, adding that they felt "blessed to be part of a church that knows the power of prayer and faith."
Further, he explained his decision to resign from the boards.
"I also wanted to let you know that I've made a decision to step aside from my role on the Hillsong Church boards that oversee the governance of our operations. I did this so that these boards can function to their fullest capacity during this season. This doesn't change my role as Global Senior Pastor. I thought it was important to let our church family know in the interests of transparency, and I wanted you to hear it from me directly."
Despite the circumstances, he remained optimistic of the church's future and urged the congregants to pray so they can resume worshiping "with no barriers".
Crikey revealed that the pastor resigned from 18 of the church's 19 entities.
In August, he was charged by the NSW police, alleging that he failed to report an information relating to the sexual abuse committed by his father.
The victim was reportedly paid $10,000 but Houston denied that he knew about it, The Christian Post (CP) said.
The minister declared his innocence, adding that he will defend himself against the charges.
The congregation has been facing series of controversies, including an accusation that Houston chose to protect worship leader Jason Mays rather than address the latter's assault against Anna Crenshaw, a former Hillsong college student.
Reacting to Crenshaw's statement on CP, the pastor tweeted that many of the things mentioned in the article are "factually wrong," before saying that "abuse is NEVER ok," Roys Report noted. He proceeded by disclosing that the woman was also abused at her church in Pennsylvania.
Crenshaw reportedly responded, saying that with the tweet, Houston only tried to shift Hillsong's accountability from the issue by using her past trauma.
Four days later, the pastor deleted his comment and apologized for the action.
"... I foolishly included information that was wrong for me to share. To (rightfully) be more respectful of privacy, I deleted my comment. I apologize for any pain I have caused," he further stated.