obtained, was sent through a subordinates account: Most of the things you have said here, I know absolutely nothing about. Kimes said in her statement that she told her husband about the alleged abuse after she learned of Lentzs departure from Hillsong, and she told Religion News Service that she had previously kept quiet because she feared both losing her family and Josh losing his job. But now, he wants to milk the clout and attention he is currently getting by going into the entertainment industry. Keatinge also brought two affidavits, William says, asserting that he had lied. Hillsong told V.F. While the source suggested that Termini had grown tired of Hillsongs controversies, the pastor struck a more sanguine tone when reached by text message. In January, Reed and Jess Bogard, who helped found Hillsong NYC, announced their departure. But as Beyer would soon realize, Finchs past wasnt what she claimedand Beyers own difficult history was up for the taking. Omar Abreu was in high school when they found Hillsong. When I stood up, Jason grabbed me, putting his hand between my legs and his head on my stomach and began kissing my stomach, Crenshaw later wrote in a statement. Then Lentzs former dog walker went public about a 2014 incident in which he stumbled in on Lentz making sex noises with a younger star. What do you do when you discover the shepherds are part of the problem and even the problem itself?. Where Is Carl Lentz Now 2022? Abreu summed up their experience as a queer Hillsong attendee: How do we get people to come to the church and make them feel safe and still remind them that they suck and are headed to hell?, Other congregants and their family members told similar stories of acceptance only on the churchs steeply qualified terms. The Lentzes home in the tony suburb became a hub of social activity. All rights reserved. Lentz recognized right away that the offer made little sense for him and his family. When Jesus went up the mountain, he only brought two disciples, she said. Take the volunteers away from Hillsong and the services absolutely will not run, says the longtime worshipper. And then he leaves. We value each member of our team, especially volunteers.. I was unfaithful in my marriage, the most important relationship in my life and held accountable for that. All rights reserved. A royal commission in Australia found in 2015 that Brian Houston failed to notify authorities about the allegations upon learning of them. He's 20 and she's 17, but not for long. Joness supervisor was pastor Kane Keatinge, a longtime friend of Lentz and Joel Houstons from Australia who had moved to New York. The report, commissioned by the Hillsong Global Board, was carried out by the NYC law firm Zukerman Gore Brandeis & Crossman, over a period of less than two months following Lentz's firing in November 2020.The confidential report, titled "Internal Investigation Report Regarding Carl Lentz and Other Matters" was submitted to the Hillsong Global Board on January 11, 2021. Sofia Richie Reveals She Converted to Judaism Ahead of Wedding to Elliot Grainge. Lead pastor Judah Smith, whose community also includes celebrity couple Ciara and Russell Wilson, had an emotional moment on stage with the Canadian performer. As they were leaving, the man who tried to intervene asked her not to tell anyone what had happened. Carl Lentz is one of the senior pastors of Hillsong Church in New York City and is growing his business each passing day. When a cheating scandal blew up the pastors life, some Hillsong congregants were left to question their relationship with a church that cultivated its own kind of fameand the double standards that often came with it. Celeb Pastor Carl Lentz Says His Family Is Together After "Challenging Road" Two years after Carl Lentz was fired from Hillsong megachurch for "moral failures," the former pastor proved he. advisers believed his return began with three months out of public view, followed by a news cycle dominating mea maxima culpaperhaps, as suggested for a time, in this magazine. 2023 Cond Nast. He and Joel grew a joint reputation for their nightlife exploits. Though Lentz came from a family of believers, by college at North Carolina State, where he earned a spot on the varsity basketball team, he had just about given up on his faith. People are not looking for stale religion, Houston wrote in his 2015 book, Live Love Lead. Hillsong Church founder Brian Houston said former pastor Carl Lentz had leadership issues that included lying and narcissistic behavior in an exclusive interview with "Today." Houston sat . The Secret to Owen Wilsons Infinite Chill? I agreed to forgive your father., Yes, okay, Ill get the money to you, Houston responded. The 92-year-old media mogul announced his engagement to the 66-year-old former dental hygienist a scant two weeks ago, following last years divorce from his fourth wife, Jerry Hall. She said Lentz introduced himself as a sports agent in Williamsburgs Domino Park and called her his Middle Eastern unicorn woman. Laura Lentz discovered the affair after a Hillsong staffer saw Lentzs messages on his office computer. Kane came out and he looked me right in the eye. FORMER Hillsong pastor Carl Lentz appears unrecognizable in shocking new photos after quietly relocating to Florida in the aftermath of his cheating scandal. When she showed up uninvited, she says she discovered a plan for a blue-eyed, blond-haired woman who has a reputation for singing Black to perform Amazing Grace backed up by Black singers in the shadows. They call it the Hillsong hangover, she says. Following months of scandal surrounding Hillsong, a pastor at the megachurch alleged on Monday that Carl Lentz repeatedly sexually abused her and threatened her during conversations about his conduct. Carl Lentz was an integral part of the Hillsong church family before his firing in early November of 2020. He reiterated that the action had not been taken lightly and was done . He phrased it carefully. Abreu left Sydney 11 months after arriving. The $16,000 a month rent on the house has reportedly been paid for by one of the only friends that have stood by him throughout this ordeal: Tyler Perry. In 2019 it opened new outposts in Indonesia, Brussels, Edinburgh, Milan, Dallas, Kansas City, and Monterrey, Mexico, as well as a college campus in Phoenix. When she once faced eviction, Lentz and Hillsong helped with the rent. A 2009 Virginian-Pilot report noted that the service, Soul Central, kicked off at 8 p.m., just as happy hours wound down. The choir revealed other fault lines too. In mid-November 2020, a crisis manager from the public relations firm Sunshine Sachs took on a new client: Carl Lentz, former head of Hillsong Church's four locations in the American Northeast.. Discovery+ is a streaming service owned and operated by Warner Bros. Lentz brought the Hillsong megachurch to the US from Australia and led a charmed life in a $1.5 million home in New Jersey as lead pastor of New York City before his world came crashing down. If you dont complain, you can climb the ladder.. Regardless of what words you disagree with that I used, you have to be able to hear my heart as Ive spoken and its not with any desire to attack you, she wrote. Lentz became head pastor of Hillsongs New York outlet in 2010 and quickly grew its base of young urban professional Christians, working with his wife, Laura Lentz. As college students, Crenshaw and her friend couldnt drink alcohol, but some of the men could. Crenshaw says the church notified Mays three months after her first report and took no action for two months after that. The doctrine, popularized by American televangelists, holds that Jesus wanted health and wealth for his followers. In 2015, Brian Houston forced its director Josh Canfield to step down from his post after Canfield discussed his identity as a gay Hillsong congregant on CBSs Survivor. William thought it would be a one-on-one, but other church leaders showed. As Ashley and Mary Jones graduated to become volunteer leaders, they were given their own connect group. At large churches like Hillsong, smaller groups such as these often serve as the elemental links in the greater social chain. Entering Montclairs Wellmont Theater for Sunday service, Lentzs three young children were gawked at like they were, one observer said, Jesus come down from heaven. Grown men and women aborted selfie attempts with the Lentz kids when security was called. When questioned, Mays denied the incident. In November, Houston announced an investigation of the Hillsong East Coast locations that Lentz led, and in February, he said the investigation was complete, though the results were not publicly disclosed. Crenshaw says Aghajanian said, How do you think they feel? Houston and Hillsong have falsely claimed that Frank Houston, who retired with a pension, didnt preach after his son learned of the abuse. Around the time Carl's firing was announced, he and his family moved to Manhattan Beach, California, and stayed away from the public spotlight. Keatinge eventually emailed William, who had at one point sought legal advice, to inform him that no one had confirmed his letters claims. PUBLISHED: January 5, 2021 at 8:31 a.m. | UPDATED: January 5, 2021 at 8:50 a.m. I personally thought it was what I was called by Jesus to do. Jones says she watched the group serve as an outlet for cronyism. Ex-Hillsong Pastor Carl Lentz's Wife Laura Breaks Silence on Sex Scandal on Wedding Anniversary Carl Lentz was fired from Hillsong in November, and later admitted to cheating on his wife,. Open main entertainment navigation Entertainment Get the latest chatter, from Kensington Palace and beyond, straight to your inbox. It took some time, but one of the men at the house caught on; he said he needed to take the girls home. (A Hillsong spokesperson said Keatinge has been suspended pending an investigation and would not answer Vanity Fairs questions on his behalf. Entertainment mogul Tyler Perry reportedly paid their $16,000 monthly rent. This church will fail you, he remembers the pastor promising. Lentz, the pastor from global megachurch Hillsong, who once ministered to Justin Bieber and a bevy of other . The appointment provided some continuity: Termini had been working at Hillsong in New York for much of the time since it opened in 2010, and he was embedded in Lentzs inner circle, along with a small group of other senior pastors. Church officials de-rostered her daughter from her weekly volunteer commitments. Having recently sold their home in Montclair, New Jersey, the Lentz family moved to a grand Spanish-style home with a terra-cotta roof and ocean views in Manhattan Beach, California. Unfortunately, the Hillsong church in New York, which has found itself in controversy in the last few years, just exploded again. And New York City had a reputation as a wasteland for new churches. In mid-November 2020, a crisis manager from the public relations firm Sunshine Sachs took on a new client: Carl Lentz, former head of Hillsong Churchs four locations in the American Northeast. ), If you complain, youll keep cleaning toilets. Left, photograph by Danielle Levitt; right, by Wagner Az/Backgrid. The woman confided that after the experiencewhich she said included the threat of a lawsuitshe quit her volunteer role and hadnt come back to church, ignoring emails from Lentz and Keatinge asking her to return. The effects of the split between the churchs founder and his most famous acolyte went far beyond the two mens relationship. Youre Mary Jones! Jones recalls him saying. Frank Houston, Brian Houstons father, started Sydney Christian Life Centre, the forerunner to Hillsong Church, in 1977. While working for the Lentzes, V.F. On May 31, 2021, the former nanny of Lentz's children accused him of bullying, abuse of power, and sexual abuse. It was a white church with a sprinkle of other races, and here was this safe space where you could go and not be antagonized, she says. He returned wearing the loudest shirts we had ever seen, Bullock, who left Hillsong in 1995, has said. Another Hillsong pastor named Leona Kimes ran Lauras life while enlisting a former Hillsong College student to look after her own daughter for $150 a week. Days after the meeting, the Nigerian student attended a special dinner party for Hillsong congregants who tithe above 10 percent. It premieres Friday, May 19 at 10 p.m. on FX with two episodes before the final two air on May 26. Ad Choices. Pictures of the family appeared on gossip sites: Carl, shirtless in cornrows, performing Sun Salutations on the beach; Laura beelining into a tanning salon. We just really feel that its time to transition off of our staff and take some time to remain healthy, get healthy, and to really see what the next season holds for us, Reed said. Ad Choices. Lentz, who garnered fame for himself and Hillsong via his friendships with celebrities, led the churchs locations on the East Coast until his firing in November. Tens of thousands of urban evangelical professionals followed Lentz for his soaring sermons at weekly services that resembled rock concerts. The members of the group were then given a simple choice: William or the church. In his last year of school, Lentz interned for Houston, washing his car and picking up his dry cleaning. A few months after Lentz was fired and the megachurchs scandals cascaded, John Termini confirmed his departure. (A church spokesperson said it was unaware if this occurred. By signing up you agree to our User Agreement and Privacy Policy & Cookie Statement. Hillsong College serves as a farm system for the churchs global network of pastors, who become centers of gravity wherever they land. From Spot/Vasquez-Max Lopes/Maciel/Backgrid. Several years after their marriage in 2003, the couple moved to New York City to help Hillsong founder Brian Houston open and run the New York branch of the megachurch. Now, Leona Kimes, a pastor at Hillsong Boston, is coming forward about the abuse, bullying, and exploitation she faced while working for a Hillsong New York pastor. Before greeting guests and distributing literature, the host team checks the theater seats for vomit left over from the night before. Early on, Hillsong derived its largely working-class and left-wing ethos from the Assemblies of God Pentecostal tradition Frank Houston had worked in, Bullock told The Sydney Morning Herald. (A church spokesperson said its leadership was unaware of any inappropriate activity at the Kent Avenue address. According to Jones, Keatinge brought the proposal to Lentz and returned with news that the idea had been approved. A version of this story appears in the 2021 Hollywood issue. When Elisabeth Finch met Jennifer Beyer in 2019, the two women forged a fiercely loyal friendship, and eventually got married. (It's unclear whether these amounts were AUD or USD). The lights, the rock show, the smoke. The Bogards said their 15 years with Hillsong had taken a toll. Posted to carl lentz, Justin Bieber In the wake of these allegations and the revelation of his affairs, Lentz's wife, Laura, has stood by him and has been open about her own struggles with mental . Every time, I froze. A legal representative for the Lentzes told RNS that the two vehemently deny the allegations and, in addition to that, have irrefutable proof the events did not happen as they are being described.. The church has 131 locations across the world, mostly in large cities. reported in February, Kimes paid a former Hillsong College student $150 a week to look after her own daughter. That felt like a nonanswer. (A church spokesperson said, We are unaware of this situation occurring.). The email summed up what he had heard over weeks and months. Pastors Reed and Jess Bogard met at Hillsong College, and Reed later established the church that would become Hillsong NYC. John Termini, Lentzs successor at Hillsong NYC, told William that he needed to defend the church the way that Termini would defend his wife. The upcoming four-part docuseries is based on Vanity Fair's expos of the firing of Carl Lentz from the megachurch after he admitted to having an affair.. FX states that "everything will come to light" in announcing the . After a few conversations where she outlined some preliminary stepsincluding leaving their role working with childrenshe proposed a longer-term path. He landed a new gig. She noticed a staff administrator and volunteer singer named Jason Mays, son of the Australian churchs human resources head, John Mays, drinking heavily. Ad Choices. For several years of his Hillsong tenure, Termini was a central presence at what congregants and volunteers came to call the compound. Lentz and other Hillsong NYC pastors lived, worked, and partied at the building, a converted warehouse of luxury condos along the Williamsburg waterfront. In the months following Lentzs exit, Hillsong volunteers and former congregants from New York; Los Angeles; Boston; Kansas City, Missouri; and Sydney offered stories about the church that included exploitation, bullying, and alienation. Wracked with guilt and confusion, Abreu opened up to a youth pastor and social worker. Im sure hes really sorry. But he never apologized and denied assaulting her. On November 4, Hillsongs global senior pastor and founder, Brian Houston, publicly fired Lentz and his wife of 17 years, Laura, pointing to leadership issues and breaches of trust, plus a recent revelation of moral failures. On Instagram the next day, Carl Lentz paired a photo of his family decked out in formal attire at the Biebers wedding with a confession: When you lead out of an empty place, you make choices that have real and painful consequences. Carl Lentz pastors Hillsong Church NYC, a thriving Christian congregation with locations in Manhattan and New Jersey. (A church spokesperson said John Mays was recused from the matter due to his conflict of interest and that it was unaware of any incidents of Houston praising Mays onstage from the time Crenshaws allegations became known. I would ask that you simply add, even in your own processing right now, phrases like from what I know and in my opinion rather than this is the state of our church., In a meeting to address the contents of the letter, Lentz said, Youve got some guts bccing the Houstons.. To revist this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories. As the New York head of celebrity-favorite megachurch Hillsong, Lentz achieved his own kind of stardom. In 2015, she said, he began making unwanted sexual advances on her. They are from the Bronx, identify as queer and nonbinary, and in New York evangelical circles had grown to expect homophobia but thought of Hillsongs policy as akin to dont ask, dont tell. Meghan and Harrys Revelations About Racism, the Rift Between Prince William and Prince Harry, Three-Way Sex Has Made Me a Better Person. Still, the churchand Lentzcould be welcoming. Then In July 2021, they relocated to a $70,000 home south of Tampa, Florida. My counselor encouraged me to report the assault instead of letting Jason just ignore it, she says. I wouldnt be able to function at work without it., When asked why he didnt just find another church, Vivar recalled a sermon Lentz had once given that stuck with him. Keatinge prompted her to tell her story. After her 15-year-old daughter said on social media in 2016 that she identifies as bisexual, Austen and her family, including her two younger sons, found themselves excluded from events. In the wake of Lentzs departure, Hillsong has experienced unprecedented turnover of staffers, including several notable pastors who worked closely with him in New York City. The service also streams programming from the BBC and A&E Networks. Carl is like a Brian Houston mini-me, the former employee says, observing the church leaders Sunday routine: Taking a chauffeured car to the churchs rear entrance and then a private elevator to the greenroom; sitting in the greenroom watching sports, sometimes chatting with celebrities or athletes who dropped in. Hillsong Church founder breaks silence about scandals surrounding ex-pastor Carl Lentz May 19, 202109:01 She said the sexual abuse also "started small," with her boss commenting on her looks.. (Lentz declined to comment for this story.). Rupert Murdoch and Ann Lesley Smith Call Off Their Engagement. But Lentz found the allure of having his own branch of Hillsong to run irresistible.