One of the world’s most well-known church denominations, Hillsong Church, has appointed new global senior pastors.
Pastors Phil and Lucinda Dooley, who have been acting as interim pastors for the past 12 months, were officially commissioned during a service held in Sydney, which was streamed to Hillsong locations across the world.
The couple replace the positions once held by Hillsong founders, Brian and Bobbi Houston. Brian Houston resigned from his role to stand trial, after being accused of concealing crimes of abuse committed by his father, Frank.
The church has also been hit by a number of scandals in recent years, and this new appointment signifies Hillsong’s commitment to put the past behind and to start afresh.
Announcing the appointment, chair of the Hillsong Church global board, Dr Stephen Crouch, told the congregation that Phil and Lucinda have a long history with the church. “They have served in many roles — from youth pastors to creative pastors and in pastoral care, dedicating the last fourteen years establishing Hillsong Church in South Africa, a flourishing church.” He added: “They will lead our church with grace and wisdom.”
The permanent appointment follows a year of significant turmoil for Hillsong. Following independent reviews, recommendations were implemented regarding changes to Hillsong’s governance structure and to its complaints procedures against credentialled pastors. Members of the global board were also renewed, and a spiritual advisory team was formed to work closely with the senior pastors.