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Trailer for new docuseries exploring Hillsong Church scandals released

by Kelly Valencia

US streaming service, Discovery+ has released the trailer of a new series exploring Hillsong Church’s latest scandals.

Hillsong Church has been mired in controversy during the last few years. Last month, Brian Houston stepped down as global senior pastor after facing allegations of concealing his father’s sexual abuse.

According to Discovery+, the three-episode docuseries will feature several people who have come forward “to share harrowing allegations of the trauma, abuse, financial and labour exploitation and homophobia that created a culture of chaos at Hillsong”.

The scandal surrounding ex-pastor Carl Lentz will also be explored in the series.

Lentz was fired from leading Hillsong NYC in late 2020 after admitting he had been unfaithful to his wife.

At the time, Hillsong founder Brian Houston shared he had been fired for “moral failures” and later admitted that there were "leadership issues" with Lentz that included lying and a "narcissistic behaviour".

Ranin Karim, the New York-based fashion designer who has stated publicly that she had a five-month affair with Lentz, appears in the series speaking about the affair.

Among the individuals featured in the docuseries are Hannah Frishberg, a New York Post reporter who has covered Hillsong’s scandals, PreachersNSneakers founder and author Ben Kirby and as well as Jaclyn Hayes and Janice Lagata, two women who volunteered for Hillsong while Lentz lead Hillsong NYC.

“Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed,” also examines how Hillsong “was able to grow into a global brand, while uncovering the truth behind the headlines of recent scandals and shining a light on the fine line between culture, corporation and cult,” according to Discovery+.

This is the second series about Hillsong in recent years. The first launched by the BBC in 2021, covering how the church grew from a family church to one that frequented by celebrities.

It also suggests young people, donors and volunteers must be being manipulated to be so passionate about the church. Other interviews expose the hypocrisy of teaching by Carl Lentz.

The docuseries will be released on 24th March.

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