The founder of the Australian megachurch who recently resigned over misconduct allegations issued an apology but said he would not retire.
Hillsong Church founder Brian Houston resigned suddenly in March after facing two misconduct allegations against him and has issued an apology for his actions. However, he also announced that he has "no intention of retiring."
According to the Christian Post, Houston reportedly sent an email to church members last week announcing that in spite of the scandals surrounding him and the other Hillsong pastors in the last weeks, "the best is yet to come" for Hillsong Church. He also issued an apology to the megachurch's followers, Eternity News reported.
"I am so deeply sorry," Houston wrote in an email obtained by the Australian outlet. "To those impacted directly by my actions, I am sorry for the pain I have caused you. To my wonderful, forgiving and gracious family who I love more than anything, I hate hurting you."
On March 18, Hillsong Church revealed that an investigation was launched over two complaints filed against Houston's behavior that date back to almost 10 years. The megachurch alleged that the Hillsong Church founder breached its pastoral code of conduct when he entered and spent almost an hour inside a hotel room of an unidentified woman during the church's Hillsong's annual conference in 2019. At the time, Houston was under the influence of alcohol and prescription medication. Both Houston and the woman could not determiune if they had any sexual activity during the time that they spent together.
Houston was also accused of sending an "inappropriate text message" with a Hillsong Church staffer in 2013 that led to her resignation. On March 23, the megachurch announced its founder's resignation.
In the email to church members, Houston said that he let them "down so badly" and that "sorry will never be enough to express my sorrow."
The Hillsong Church founder added, "As hollow as it may sound, I believe I am the person and pastor you believed me to be." He argued that he was "imperfect and flawed" and yet was "genuinely passionate about God, people, calling and life."
Houston, who said he accepts "full responsibility" for his actions, said that he was "determined that my mistakes will not define me." Furthermore, he mused that "this year will be a year of respite and restoration" for both himself and his wife, whom he described as "unified" in the face of all the allegations and scandals involving Hillsong.
Houston spoke about the "bright hope for the future" and knowing that "God is not finished with me yet."
Houston's announcement that he will not retire from the business comes amidst several resignations in Hillsong Church. In January 2021, Pastors Reed and Jess Bogard resigned from their positions after an investigation into their "leadership failures." It was later revealed that Bogard was accused of rape by a junior staffer with whom he had an affair with for months.
In March, Hillsong's own first African American pastor Sam Collier also left the megachurch, telling the CBS station WGCL, "We had so many congregants saying I don't know if I can trust this place," PEOPLE reported.