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Hillsong's Atlanta pastors resign over scandals

by Kelly Valencia
Sam Collier.PNG - Banner image

The pastor of Hillsong Atlanta - in the US state of Georgia - has decided to step down following a successive stream of scandals hitting the megachurch.

"It is with great sadness that I inform you of my departure from Hillsong," Pastor Sam Collier wrote on Instagram. 

He said it had become "too difficult" to lead the church in such an environment.

"My greatest reason for stepping down as Pastor of Hillsong Atlanta is probably not a secret to any of you. With all of the documentaries, scandals, articles, accusations and the church's subsequent management of these attacks, it's become too difficult to lead and grow a young church in this environment."

Pastor Sam's decision comes after Hillsong's founder Brian Houston resigned from his position of global senior leader following the conclusions of an internal investigation that found he had acted inappropriately towards two women.

Houston had already paused his ministry this to year to defend himself in court against accusations he concealed his father's sexual abuse.

Admitting he had "cried like a baby" when he told Hillsong's church leadership about his decision, Pastor Sam said  he truly loves the Hillsong family and believes "they will get through this storm and come out better than they were before".

Pastor Philip Dooley, the current interim global senior pastor, shared a message for Pastor Sam and his wife Toni.

"We love Sam and Toni Collier," he said. "We want to give you guys our absolute blessing for the next season that you feel to step into."

"I just want to say: 'God bless you, may his love, his grace, all the good things of God, be all over you guys as you move forward'. We are praying for you and I would just ask that you would continue to pray for us in this season."

Pastor Philip also took the opportunity to reiterate that Hillsong Church is committed to building "healthy communities" and asked for continued prayers.

"It is a tough season, there's no doubt that there's a whole lot going on in our world but we just want to say that we are continuing to put our trust and our hope in Jesus and we really appreciate your prayers at this time, God Bless," he concluded.

It is understood Pastor Sam and Toni Collier will plant a new house on Easter Sunday, called Story Church.

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