27 October 2009
I want to inform you of issues that have become increasingly clear in recent days, which have left me personally devastated.
Mercy Ministries Inc. have informed us that they are ceasing operations in Australia.
This we knew. Devastated might be a bit strong, but then it is Pastor Brian talking…only it seems his devastation springs from something other than just the closure.
Some of you are aware of Mercy Ministries, an organisation set up to rehabilitate and reach out to young women in need. It has come to my attention in recent days, that investigations into Mercy Ministries Inc. have been ongoing, over what is essentially unclear or misguided communication in relation to their funding and services.
Whoa! Mercy under investigation over unclear communication in relation to funding and services. Are we talking misappropriation of funds or bad financial management or both?
In the past, Hillsong Church has supported Mercy Ministries through financial donations. A number of individuals involved with our church have also served on the board and/or staff of this ministry.
Unfortunately, we believe that in the case of Mercy Ministries, concern about the way they delivered their message and services has unfairly affected Hillsong Church by association.
So the bad publicity finally started to stain. Interesting that Pastor Brian is not necessarily agreeing that Mercy’s Deliverance ministry is wrong here, merely that they are affected because the public is starting to see the close relationship. Well I suppose that’s what happens when you cultivate these close ties.
It is not my place to defend or try to explain what Mercy Ministries has or hasn’t done. Hillsong has done nothing wrong. Hillsong is not under investigation, but a number of key people from Hillsong Church over the years, have been involved in Mercy Ministries.
Translated: Hillsong has no official involvement but members associated with Hillsong might. Involved in what? We don’t know but Pastor Brian could not be more unequivocal. Reminds me somewhat of a stain, a white house and a blue dress.
It is wrong that anything Mercy Ministries may or may not have done could overshadow so much of what we as a church stand for: Loving God and Helping People.
Translated: If we get negative publicity from this its unfair ‘cause we do good things
To ensure that this does not happen again it is important that we take immediate action to protect the reputation of our church moving forward.
We will undertake an internal audit of Hillsong staff to identify what organisations or boards they are currently associated with.
From there, we will be strongly recommending that our executive level staff no longer participate on other not-for-profit boards.
We will also examine some future guidelines and boundaries for Hillsong staff in regards to their involvement in external boards.
It is so important that we continue to support and work in cooperation with organisations doing great things in our community and around the world.
We are instituting a full review of our staff for something that may or may not have happened *cough* damage control * cough*
Despite the numerous positive achievements of Mercy Ministries, Hillsong Church will no longer support, or be associated with this ministry.
Further, we sever any affiliation with Mercy Ministries internationally, and would not be associated with any attempt by Mercy Ministries Inc or Mercy Ministries Ltd, to recommence within Australia, under that or any other name.
So this is not an amicable parting of the ways. He is severing any ties with Mercy now and at anytime in the future. I think its safe to say Nancy Alcorn and her happy little bunch of Demon hunters ain’t commin’ back.
We would encourage those, that any investigation involves, to cooperate fully.
Are the police involved? Sounds like code for “this isn’t the time to use that old ends justifies the means stuff”
We will continue to keep the church informed as to any new developments with this situation, and would ask you to continue to keep this in your prayers.
- Brian Houston, Senior Pastor, Hillsong Church