Attendees include the Kardashian-Jenners, Justin Bieber, and Selena Gomez—but volunteers claimed the church was a "breeding ground for unchecked abuse."
Over a month after their New York senior pastor, Carl Lentz, was fired for having an affair, Hillsong Church is back in the headlines. Lentz, who allegedly baptized Justin Bieber, penned a lengthy statement after being let go from the international megachurch where he admitted to cheating on his wife. What followed was several interviews by the woman who he allegedly was with as she detailed their love affair. Others accused the pastor of repeatedly stepping out on his wife, and on Friday (December 18) a letter from a group of senior-level volunteers that was reportedly written in 2018 surfaced. In it, they complained about staff and interns having inappropriate sexual relationships with leaders.
Hillsong boasts celebrity attendees including Kardashian-Jenners, Selena Gomez, Chris Pratt, Katherine Schwarzenegger, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Vanessa Hudgens, Nick Jonas, and U2's Bono. Behind the scenes, the volunteers said there were “verified, widely circulated stories of inappropriate sexual behavior" going on with employees. There was an accusation that a church leader was having sex with a member of the congregation.
That same church leader reportedly voluntarily stepped down after it was revealed that he had “multiple inappropriate sexual relationships with several female leaders and volunteers and was verbally, emotionally, and according to one woman, physically abusive in his relationships with these women.” The group of volunteers who penned the letter added, “This environment is dangerous and a breeding ground for unchecked abuse.”
Leaders were also accused of screaming and yelling at volunteers while exhibiting bullying behavior. While it seems that this letter from volunteers exposes multiple staff members, Lentz has been the only member of the church formally named publicly.