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World News

Scott Morrison 'shocked and disappointed' by accusations against friend and mentor Brian Houston

by Kelly Valencia

Scot Morrison 'shocked and disappointed' by accusations against friend and mentor Brian Houston

Australia's Prime Minister, Scot Morrison has shared his "disappointment and shock" at the alleged misconduct towards two women by founder of megachurch Hillsong, Brian Houston. 

Morrison's remarks follow Hillsong Church's announcement that its founder had stepped down from his position as global senior pastor after an internal investigation revealed he breached the Hillsong code of conduct. 

During a press conference, Morrison distanced himself from his friend and 'mentor' saying he believed it was "entirely appropriate" for Houston to leave the church. 

"I must admit we were very disappointed and shocked to hear the news," he said.

"My first thoughts were with the victims, as they've been rightly described. And so very concerned.

"And the actions that have been taken are entirely appropriate and I'm sure they will continue down that path as a church."

It is the first time Morrison has publicly spoken out against Houston as the relationship between the two goes back more than 15 years. 

In 2008, during his maiden speech, Morrison credited Houston for having an active part in his commitment to faith and has often been filmed attending Hillsong services. 

He said he had been "greatly assisted by the pastoral work of many dedicated church leaders, in particular the Rev Ray Green and pastors Brian Houston and Leigh Coleman". 

Their friendship was also confirmed when it emerged Morrison had asked the Trump administration to include Houston's name on a list of potential guests for a dinner, part of Morrison's official visit to Washington. 

"On that occasion, we put forward a number of names that included Brian, but not everybody whose names we put forward was invited," Morrison said.

"I've known Brian for a long time and Hillsong church has a very big network of churches all across the United States, and the ministry, when it comes to the music and so many other things have been very big - it's probably the single largest church organisation that is known in the United States."

Morrison was last since attending Hillsong's annual Conference in 2019, where he took to the stage with his wife Jenny Morrison to pray for Australia. 

"Lord, we pray for our country and thank you for it. But more than anything else, we thank you for Jesus and his love," Morrison prayed at the time. 

But when asked about his current association with the megachurch Morrison said he now attends Pentecostal church, ShireLive.

"I haven't been at Hillsong now for about 15 years, I go to a local church,' Mr Morrison said.

Hillsong church has committed to an "independent review" of their  "governance structure and processes". 
 

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