Following the Church Update evening held on March 30, 2023, we wanted to make available the information we presented, especially for those who were unable to join us.
Attached you will find:
- A summary letter from legal firm Prolegis.
- The summary report from forensic accountants Grant Thornton.
- Our Hillsong Staff credo.
We would like to highlight two key areas.
- In mid-2022, Hillsong took steps to determine the factual basis of allegations made in the context of an employment proceeding. This included engaging the Forensic Consulting team at Grant Thornton to consider the allegations and then to prepare a summary report setting out findings.
We note the comments made by Prolegis Lawyers that:
– The factual matters established in the summary report do not support allegations that there has been unlawful conduct by entities that use the name Hillsong or its personnel, or that there has been non-compliance with their obligations as registered charities.
– The summary report demonstrates that the matters that have been alleged reflect a misunderstanding about the factual circumstances, the detail of transactions, or the arrangements generally.
– Since those allegations were published in August 2022, there have been further allegations set out in material tabled in Parliament House. Some of those allegations have cross-over with those made in the employment dispute. Others are new.
– Our initial observation is that allegations characterised as unlawful in the tabled material do not relate to unlawful conduct. Most of the allegations appear to relate to a concern about whether historic expenditure was appropriate in a church context. That is a discussion that should sensibly occur in a church context.
Hillsong is committed to complying with its obligations as a registered charity. We require time to work through the matters raised, as do the relevant regulatory bodies.
- We want to remind you of the several changes we have made over the past 12 months.
- We have made changes to the constitution, including separating the role of chair and senior pastor. As well as changes to the voting structure and how we nominate new members to the boards.
- We have completed a review of the board and its operations. We’ve had a refresh of both the Australian and Global Board and a few of them spoke at the Church Update evening. We would like to thank Stephen Crouch, Louise Markus, Amanda Tay and Jessica Martin for their continued support and for the expertise they bring to our governance. We would also like to thank Dane Gambrill who has helped us chair our Australian nomination committee. There will be more board members joining in the coming months.
- We have also been through voluntary resignations to right size our staff numbers.
- We have a new vision, new mission, and new structure.
A healthy church changing lives through Christ
- Healthy Church Communities
- Purpose-filled Jesus followers
- Significant and sustainable social impact
Finally, as a result of Hillsong’s first staff feedback survey undertaken in April 2022, one of the key areas was focus on improving our culture, therefore we developed a staff Credo. In essence, the Credo is a set of a statement of beliefs developed to help our staff guide their cultural behaviours and actions.
A few weeks ago, we said this was a ‘line in the sand moment’. We are grateful for what has been achieved in the past and the point it has brought us to as Hillsong Church, but we must fix our eyes on the future as we commit to a brand new season.
Stepping into God’s plan for our future, our focus and commitment moving forward is – to build a healthy church changing lives through Christ.
Lucinda and I desire God’s promise for you and collectively for our church, and we look forward to walking this pathway together.
We love you and thank you for your prayers and encouragement.
Ps Phil and Lucinda