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“Our world needs massive change. What difference can I make. Is it worth it. But then I heard God speak to me and He said, “you’re just one seed. But I got lots of seeds. If you just keep planting, there will be a harvest.” I am just responsible to sow seeds and plant where I am. I am responsible for my part.”

Phil Dooley, Hillsong Conference 2022

“In the world so many things have tried to divide. But what I love is that God is reminding us that in Christ that there is a different way. We are all equals. In Christ, we are all children of God. He has no favorites. He loves everybody the same. The church is the only vehicle that brings everybody together as equal. The church plays a critical role because it is the one place that can unite us.”

Lucinda Dooley, Hillsong Conference 2022

Hillsong Church is a globally diverse church which is committed to racial reconciliation. Our mission is to be a healthy church changing lives through Christ. Jesus Christ is our hope— as his Kingdom is the expression of his rule and reign in and amongst the nations. This has immediate and eternal implications for human thriving. As a global Church centered on Jesus and his gospel, we are compelled to ensure that all people are treated with justice, equity, and inclusion.

This mission to be a healthy church changing lives through Christ is foundational to our ongoing dedication to the work of racial reconciliation. We believe that reconciliation makes a claim on every person and church as “in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation” (2 Cor 5:19). Through Christ’s gift of reconciliation, we have hope that things do not have to stay as they have been.

Our prayers of lament for our shared pain filled pasts are anchored in this hope, as is every action we take to do our part in being the change. Although we are uncompromising in our declaration that “Black lives matter,” we recognize that racial injustice has been a consistent global theme throughout history.

We believe that racism is a sin and we do not endorse, support or accept any form of racism, both implicit and explicit. The very nature of racism is an affront to the Gospel, and we are committed to the journey we began in 2020 of listening, learning, lamenting, and acting to do our part to be the change.

We remain committed to building racial reconciliation, diversity, equity and inclusion, both internally and externally across our church. We have committees which have been and will continue to work collaboratively to provide strategic direction to our globally diverse church. We need to work together to collaboratively address issues and concerns and invite you to reach out to us with feedback and ideas. Please e-mail us at [email protected]

Here is an update on the work we have been doing.

We said

We were committed to providing strategic direction to enable us as a global church to make progress in racial diversity and equity.

What we did

  • Established a Global Racial Diversity Equity and Inclusion committee (link to RDI committee)
  • Developed a Global Racial Diversity and Equity and Inclusion Strategy to build racial equity into our church’s strategic planning, policy and governance process
  • Published a theological paper on Racial Inequality
  • Developed an Australia Racial Diversity Equity and Inclusion committee
  • Hired a full-time Race Diversity and Inclusion Manager

We will

  • Provide mandatory training to all staff, key leaders, and volunteers on the Racial Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategy
  • Publish the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategy
  • Implement the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategy
  • Establish local Race Diversity Equity and Inclusion committees at the various global Hillsong churches
  • Create measures of success to ensure effectiveness

We said

We were committed to providing training and awareness for all staff and volunteers to increase our capacity and understanding across our global church.

What we did

  • Engaged external experts to help develop education, training and development
  • Provided racial diversity equity and inclusion training for the global lead pastoral team
  • Provided racial diversity equity and inclusion training to the global board
  • Created racial diversity equity and inclusion training as part of the onboarding for new staff
  • Used our platform to educate, highlight and promote racial equity
  • Started the creation of a high-quality Race Matters 9-hour mandatory video training, composed of numerous global experts and lead staff

We will

  • Finish the recording of the Race Matters video training
  • Provide the Race Matters video training to all global staff and volunteers
  • Provide translations of the Race Matters training to make it accessible to all staff
  • Provide ongoing training to staff to ensure listening, learning, lamenting and action
  • Continue to use our platform to educate, highlight and promote racial reconciliation, diversity, equity and inclusion

We said

We were committed to improving representation and being a global church, which looks like and serves its community.

What we did

  • Assessed the diversity of our leadership team and staff across our various locations

We will

  • Review all campus human resource policies and procedures with a focus on improving recruitment and retention of diverse staff
  • Improve the diversity of our leadership team across every department and level
  • Attract students of diverse backgrounds and provide targeted scholarships to ensure Hillsong College is accessible to all
  • Identify qualitative and quantitative measures of success

“Racial diversity, equity, and inclusion absolutely stirs my heart. Of having been in South Africa for 14 years and seeing the damage of apartheid, there is work to do. There is a lot of work to do globally. We are gonna get there. As a church we should be a part of the change and we are part of the change. The change is so much a part of our current vision of a healthy church changing lives through Christ.”

Phil Dooley, RDI Committee Meeting, June 2022

Global Racial Diversity,
Equity and Inclusion Committee

Harry Phinda

Harry Phinda

Harry Phinda has over 10 years’ experience in campaigning, policy and advocacy. With a background in International Relations, Harry has worked as a Policy Advisor to the UK government, Parliament and numerous International organisations.

Fadzi Whande

Fadzi Whande is an award-winning Global Diversity and Inclusion Strategist. She has developed and implemented large scale diversity and inclusion initiatives across the not for profit, higher education, government and private sectors globally. Fadzi is the Senior Diversity and Inclusion Adviser at the United Nations Human Rights Office in Geneva, Switzerland.

Mahlatse Mashua

Mahlatse Mashua is the regional Director of RZIM Africa and a member of the organization’s global speaking team. He studied biochemistry at the University of KwaZulu Natal before serving as a pastor and elder at Every Nation Church Durban where he was also involved with training the congregation in evangelism and discipleship.

Femi Olu-Lafe

Femi is an award-winning diversity, equity and inclusion specialist. As the Senior Vice President of Global Culture & Inclusion for Kinesso and its sister IPG agencies, Matterkind and Acxiom, Femi’s responsibilities include extending the impact of DEI efforts and championing the companies’ focus on ensuring their data and technology products serve all people in a respectful and inclusive manner. Femi earned her PhD in Psychology at Boston University, her MSc in Cognitive Neuropsychology at University College London, and her BA in Psychology at Cornell University.

Darren Kitto

Darren Kitto

Darren Kitto is a key member of the Hillsong Global Team. Darren is involved with all of Hillsong’s Local and Global Aid and Development programs helping vulnerable people in the many countries Hillsong has been serving through Aid and Development and Disaster Relief. He has also worked developing the Global Ministry and has been on the Hillsong Team for 25 years.

To reach out with any questions or feedback please email [email protected]

Emily Langloh

Emily Langloh did her Masters degree in Global Migration and Policy, specializing in Human Rights Advocacy, with a primary focus on international policies on inclusion, integration and equal rights at the university of Tel Avivi in Israel.

Gary Clarke

Gary Clarke is the former lead pastor of Hillsong Church London. He has given his life to building the church and helping people. Gary is extremely driven by his passion for people to encounter Jesus, He loves raising up leaders, empowering the next generation, and has a deep drive to help the most marginalised and oppressed people in society towards security and wholeness.

Peachy Flores

Peachy Flores has worked in Human Resources for over 14 years in organizations including Defense Force Recruiting, Commonwealth Bank and now Hillsong as the Recruitment and People & Development Business Partner. She has worked with leaders on Talent & Performance Management, Workplace Relations, Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) and Case Management. She has helped shape and execute diversity strategy for the global HR function within Commonwealth Bank being part of the D&I Council.

Maria Hansen-Quine

Maria Hansen-Quine recently joined the Hillsong team as the Global Racial Diversity and Inclusion Manager. Maria passionately believes in the value of diversity and has spent the past 25 years pouring her heart into it. Maria has worked as a School Counsellor and Social Worker in numerous schools and non-profits in the United States and Canada. Maria’s passion was birthed when she spent two summers living and doing ministry in an inner-city community. Maria is a sought-after trauma and diversity trainer. In 2008 Maria became a TBRI trained practitioner through the Dr. Karyn Purvis Institute and in 2022 she received a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Certificate through Cornell University. Maria has a Masters in Social Work from Rutgers University and a Bachelors in Psychology from Trinity Western University. She has authored two children’s books: “Be Different & Be Kind, A Story About Diversity” & “Hope.” Maria is passionate about following Jesus. This deep surrender has resulted in Maria’s life looking radically different then she planned. Maria calls herself a precious jewels mamma as she & her husband Sam have 11 precious jewels, 2 biological and 9 adopted (from the US, Ghana, China & foster care).

“We are not building church for just one person. We are building a church for everyone. We want Hillsong to be a diverse church. We want church to be an open and welcoming place, but also a place of racial healing.”

Harry Phinda, RDI Training, Chair of Hillsong Global Race Diversity and Inclusion Committee

“The beauty of the church lies in its diversity. The diversity of every race, ethnicity and culture. The diversity of every human intentionally and beautifully created by the God of the Universe. It is only when we are all equally included that we fully reflect the image and glory of our Creator God. It is only then that we experience the perfect unity that Jesus prayed for in John 17, before He headed into the Garden of Gethsemane.”

Maria Hansen-Quine, Hillsong Race Diversity and Inclusion Manager

“Our prayer is that God will increase our capacity to deal with racism.”

“One step towards racial unity is to build a church on a platform that represents the church you are trying to create. When people see people of color on platform, they have hope for people who share their race. Representation creates safety for all people.”

Fadzi Whande, RDI training, Hillsong Race Diversity and Inclusion Committee Member

Australian Reconciliation
Action Plan Committee members

Pastor William & Sandra Dumas

Pastor William & Sandra Dumas

Pastor’s William & Sandra Dumas are the Senior Ministers of Ganggalah Church, Ganggalah Training Centre, and Ganggalah Aboriginal Arts, based in the beautiful Tweed Heads region of Northern NSW – Bundajlung Country. They are also the National Leaders of the Australian Christian Churches, Indigenous Initiative Committee.

Both William & Sandra know God has a mandate on their lives to “raise” up the next generation of Indigenous leaders in our Nation, who are comfortable with their identity as Indigenous Christian leaders.

Dr Robyn Ober

Dr Robyn Ober

Robyn Ober is a Mamu/Djirribal woman from the rainforest region of North Queensland. She is employed as a research fellow with Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education and has recently completed her PhD studies focusing on ‘Aboriginal English as a Social and Cultural Identity Marker in an Indigenous Tertiary Educational Context’. Robyn has an extensive educational background, teaching in early childhood, primary and tertiary sectors in remote, rural and urban contexts. She has a strong interest in both-ways education, educational leadership and Indigenous Australian language in particular, Aboriginal English. Robyn has undertaken several research projects focusing on these topics and has published papers in educational and linguistic journals, both nationally and internationally.

Benny Eggmolesse

Benny Eggmolesse

Benny Eggmolesse has over 10 years’ experience heading up Indigenous Workforce Development for organisations such as HealthShare NSW and St Vincent’s Health Australia and achieving monument growth for both organisations seeing him nomination for SVHA Innovative and Excellence Awards 2017. Since then Benny has expanded into business development owning AAK-ITHER, Ice Cream Productions and Yawul.

Hillsong Australia Racial Equity Working Group

Fadzi Whande

Fadzi Whande is an award-winning Global Diversity and Inclusion Strategist. She has developed and implemented large scale diversity and inclusion initiatives across the not for profit, higher education, government and private sectors globally. Fadzi is the Senior Diversity and Inclusion Adviser at the United Nations Human Rights Office in Geneva, Switzerland.

*More committee members to be announced soon.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I help the Racial Diversity and Inclusion Committee as a member of church?

As a member of our church, you are a key part of this journey. We are continually learning and would welcome any feedback experiences or insights which would be useful in implanting our plans or realizing our goals as a church. Please continue to pray for us as a committee, that we are led by the word and the holy spirit in supporting our church with our skills and experience.

Why use words such as Equity rather than Equality?

Scripture references both equality and equity as aspects of true justice used throughout the bible in various contexts. Biblical equity roughly corresponds to what people would call “fairness” today. This involves taking people’s needs and circumstances into consideration when they are relevant as well as remaining impartial when people’s needs, and circumstances are irrelevant. Likewise, biblical equality speaks to people’s fundamental sameness as image-bearers of God as well as ensuring that uniform standards, rules, and laws are used for everyone.

The principle of equality is referenced throughout the bible starting with the foundational truth that we are all created equally in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27, Proverbs 22:2, Romans 10:12), we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and we can each equally come and receive his redemption regardless of who we are. (Acts 15:11, Galatians 3:28).

We also see this principle in the parable of the vineyard workers (Matthew 20: 1–16). Those who started earlier expected to be paid more than those who started later in the day, but they were all given an equal amount highlighting that biblical justice and fairness is not based on human standard but Gods for “the last will be first and the first will be last.”

The principle of equity at work is highlighted in Luke 12:42 -48 in the parable about the master and his servants. One of the servants was knowingly disobedient of his master and received a “severe beating” whereas the other was unknowingly disobedient of his master’s will and received a “light beating.”

The Bible calls us to pursue justice that honors both principles of equity and equality. As a committee, we refer to racial equity instead of racial equality because we recognize that the sin of racism requires intentional actions on our part to create a racially just and equal world.

How is the RDI Statement rooted in God’s word?

Our position on racial diversity, equality, and equity is firmly grounded on the truth of scripture. God’s original intent and design for humanity was established in creation where everything existed in a state of shalom— wholeness, harmony, and sinless perfection. In that environment, humanity was created in the image of God and given equal worth, value, and dignity (Genesis 1:26-27). Subsequently, the image of God in humanity (imago Dei) was marred by sin, and people were divided by the Fall (Genesis 4). Fallen people organized societies and perpetuated cycles and systems of brokenness, which continues to be expressed in our communities, institutions, and nations (Genesis 11, Exodus 1-12; 2 Chronicles 7:14, Isaiah 25:7-8; 65:17-25). Prejudice, racism, oppression, and injustice are the fruit of sin (James 2:9). The gospel is the ultimate solution to sin, and when believed, it changes the human heart and empowers the believer to engage in the work of shalom— restoring the world to God’s original intention. In Christ, we have been made a new creation, and this distinction is of primary importance (Galatians 2:28). Though we have been made one new humanity in Christ, our ethnic distinctions are not dissolved but rather are acknowledged throughout the New Testament (Acts 13:1, Revelation 5:9, 7:9-10.) The work of racial reconciliation is gospel work, and it involves imaging God, standing for truth and justice, and working for the flourishing of every person in our communities (Luke 4:18; 2 Corinthians 5:11-21).

How is the committee representing diversity in age, ethnicity, socioeconomics, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse?

As a committee, we consist of representatives from vastly different backgrounds, covering a variety of nationalities, ethnicities, cultures, and languages, as well as a wide age range. We have first-hand experience with the issues we address, which helps us provide a more empathetic and accurate understanding, coupled with extensive experience of engagement with and consequent solution to the issues at hand. Through our diversity within the committee, we aim to embody the solution we seek to bring.

How can we continue conversations of race, diversity, and inclusion in church life?

As a church we are committed to fostering healthy and safe conversations about race, diversity and inclusion within our community. Those conversations often require courage and empathy. Healthy conversations start with the principle from Matthew 7:12, ‘Do unto others whatever you would like them to do to you.’ The essence of this scripture is to place yourself in the shoes of another, expressing empathy, seeking to understand, be prepared to listen, and lead with compassion. We recognize that these conversations can be sensitive and often require courage and should you need further guidance please reach out to your local campus pastor.
At the highest level of leadership, we recognize the importance of continuing these conversations, which is why we have seated committees, and are continually working towards improvements. We are also committed to equipping our pastors, staff, and volunteers by providing training and resources.

How is the church moving forward in diversity in campuses and leadership?

Improving representation is a key pillar of our initial steps as a church in addressing racial injustice. The committee will continue to support lead and campus pastors to continue to take positive action to increase representation at all levels across our church. We will strive for our goal of being a church which looks like and serves its community.

Does our church subscribe to Critical Race Theory?

Hillsong Church believes that the Bible is God’s Word and that it is accurate, authoritative, and applicable to our everyday lives.

We understand CRT to be a social theory. Generally, social theories aim to describe social phenomena, diagnose problems within lived experiences and offer solutions to the problems uncovered or made visible.

As a social theory, CRT is an explanatory framework for seeking to describe how race and racism functions in society. Its core ideas are that race is a social construct and that racism is not just individual bias or prejudice but is embedded in legal and other social systems.

We believe that where social theories align with Biblical truth, they can be useful tools for us as we learn how to love our neighbors better.