Hillsong church pastor resigns after scandal

Atlanta, Ga. (CBS46) – The first and only Black pastor of the Hillsong supermarket in Atlanta is stepping down after a worldwide church founder was embroiled in a major sex scandal.

Now, the local Black pastor there wants to distance himself from the international supermarket and its founder.

CBS46 spoke live with the local pastor shortly before he took center stage for his final Sunday service in front of his Hillsong church.

“The bitter thing is, you feel like you’re losing your family,” says Sam Collier.

Collier is the first and only Black pastor in the world ever assigned to Hillsong International Church. For the last year, he’s built a Hillsong Christian non-denominational chapter in Atlanta, but he says it’s not what he imagined.

“When me and my wife were announced as the world’s first African-American couple Hillsong, a week later Hillsong New York happened to be on the call, so for about a year and a half, it was just that. non-stop media,” Collier said.

Now, a new Hillsong scandal has once again become the focus of the media. This time, the supermarket’s founder, Brian Houston, is facing allegations of misconduct involving two women.

In a statement, “The Church confirms that its founder admitted to sending inappropriate text messages to female employees while on sleeping pills 10 years ago and in 2019, an in-depth investigation of The church also shows that according to a church convention, the founder mixed prescription drugs with alcohol, accidentally typed in the wrong hotel room, and spent time with a female roommate.”

“It was a sad moment, it was an emotional moment,” Collier said.

Blinded and frustrated by the news, Collier decides the best decision for him and his church congregation is to sever ties with the Hillsong super city branch. He resigned as pastor this week.

“We have a lot of people who say I don’t know if I can trust this place,” Collier explains.

He held his final Sunday ceremony under the Hillsong branch Sunday at the Central Stage Theater in Midtown.

“We realized that it might be better if you replant a new site that people can trust and have faith in,” says Collier.

Now, although this is the last time Collier’s congregation will meet under the Hillsong branch, he says a new church will be born. They will be called Story Church and they will meet this Easter Sunday.

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