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World News

Hillsong founder Brian Houston asks for prayers as court hearing looms

by Kelly Valencia

Brian Houston has urged his social media followers to pray for him as he prepares to fight a charge of concealing child sexual abuse. 

The founder and former lead pastor of megachurch Hillsong is due to face a three-week hearing in relation to the reporting of abuse perpetrated by his father, pastor Frank Houston, in the 1970s.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges. 

Earlier this year, Houston stepped aside from his role as global senior pastor to prepare for the trial. 

At the time, he said: "I need to be fully committed to preparation and engagement with the case and work closely with my lawyers in defending this charge. I have said, including in a prior statement that I intend to fight the charge and welcome the opportunity to set the record straight."

He would later step down from the role following an internal investigation which found he acted inappropriately towards two women.  

Since then, both Houston and his wife Bobbie have not been part of the church's leadership. 

The couple have, instead, maintained a low-key public life with Houston only recently posting more frequently about his sermons in the USA. 

Addressing his almost 700,000 followers on Instagram, Houston said: "Well we are still here and mostly smiling." 

"We've had a wonderful last six weeks in USA and I've preached in eight cities in that time. We've had so much wonderful time with pastor couples and we are feeling the love. 

"We miss the congregation at Hillsong Church enormously and hopefully we'll have the chance to tell our story sometime soon. 

"The body of Christ at large have proved themselves to be just that. Grace-filled, loving and overwhelmingly supportive.

"Pray for me with a court case looming. Love and grace to you all."

Houston will face court for a hearing in December.

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