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The Guardian reports,
Hillsong pastor Brian Houston to testify about abuse allegations response
High-profile Hillsong senior pastor Brian Houston is expected to give evidence at an inquiry into how Pentecostal churches responded to child sex abuse allegations against his father, Frank Houston, and two other men.
The royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse sitting in Sydney on Tuesday will hear how Hillsong and the Pentecostal association, Assemblies of God, responded to abuse allegations against William Francis “Frank” Houston – the famous preacher behind the movement which gave birth to the mega-church.
His son Brian Houston was national president of the Assemblies of God (AoG) in Australia from 1997 to 2009. More than 1,000 Pentecostal churches are affiliated with the AoG which is now known as Australian Christian Churches (ACC).
Brian Houston was president in 2000 when his father admitted he sexually abused a boy in New Zealand 30 years earlier. Frank Houston was fired by his son from all church roles.
Hillsong in Sydney was created when separate churches run by father and son merged under the leadership of Brian Houston.
Frank Houston died in 2004 aged 82. Further allegations against him have come to light since his death.
The charismatic preacher had been a Salvation Army officer in his native New Zealand before founding his first ministry at Lower Hutt near Wellington in 1960. He later became superintendent of the New Zealand Assemblies of God before moving to Sydney in 1977.
The commission will hear also of allegations against two other men and will be looking at the response of the ACC to those allegations.
One of the men, a former youth pastor at a Sunshine Coast church, Jonathan Baldwin, was sentenced to eight years’ jail in 2009 when he was found guilty of repeatedly molesting a 13-year-old boy who had come to him for counselling.
The other matter the commission will examine is the response of the Northside Christian College and the Northside Christian Centre, (now Encompass Church) to allegations of child sexual abuse made against former teacher Kenneth Sandilands.
In a statement issued when the inquiry was announced Encompass Church pastor John Spinella said the church, based at Bundoora, Victoria, welcomed the inquiry.
“As a church we have recognised these past failures and take the opportunity to apologise for the suffering and pain endured by those who were abused,” he said.
The public hearing is expected to run for two weeks and will be the 18th held by the commission.
Source: Hillsong pastor Brian Houston to testify about abuse allegations response, The Guardian, http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2014/oct/06/hillsong-brian-houston-testify-abuse-allegations-response, Published 06/10/2014. (Accessed 06/10/2014.)