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Welcome Letter from Chrishan and Danielle Jeyaratnam

July 8, 2021

Dear Church,

We are so excited to be arriving in NYC later this month.

As we begin this new season at Hillsong East Coast and plan to gather in person as a church again in the coming weeks, we want to keep you updated on a few important details.

Earlier this year, Pastor Brian made two commitments to our church:

  • We would make significant changes across eight areas of our church in order to strengthen infrastructure and ensure greater accountability and stability.
  • We would be open and clear about these new policies and procedures.Over the past several months, we have gathered input on the ways we can strengthen our church from staff members (including our global team), volunteers, members of our community, outside experts, and others.During this time, all staff across each of our Hillsong East Coast locations completed mandatory Sexual Harassment Training. We have also scheduled a series of additional staff training sessions for later in the summer, specifically designed to raise awareness about the power dynamics that exist in ministry settings.Now, after what has been a valuable time of listening and learning, we are ready to start rolling out some organizational changes and improvements.Over the coming weeks, we will begin implementing supplemental policies and procedures that strengthen our church across the eight areas identified earlier this year.We know policies and procedures are not usually regarded as exciting or inspiring, but they are an essential part of ensuring we steward what God has entrusted to us in a way that honors Him and honors one another.We can’t undo past wrongs, but we can put safeguards and accountability measures in place for the future. We can roll up our sleeves and do the hard work that is needed to see Hillsong East Coast move forward with strength and integrity. Let’s embrace that challenge together!Here are three things you need to know about the policy and procedure roll out:

    1. The staggered pace of the roll out is intended to give people plenty of time and space to review each policy, begin staff/volunteer training, and seek clarity where needed.

    2. We will communicate regularly as we introduce these policies. Along the way, we will be collecting and integrating feedback from community working groups.

    3. Our webpage is intended to be a centralized source of relevant information about these changes. It will be updated regularly with the release of policies and new information.

    We realize this implementation phase will amount to significant change for all of us and will require patience, openness and diligence. Change can be challenging, but it is also necessary for growth and healing.

    We believe this ‘moment’ in the life of Hillsong East Coast presents us with an unprecedented opportunity to learn and grow. Let’s all be praying for our church as we step into this new season together.

    Love,

    Chrishan & Dani

Our Approach

Our global and local leaders have been working diligently together to delineate our path forward, starting with the Hillsong Global Governing Principles that every Hillsong Church must abide by. These principles are designed to ensure that high standards and requirements for governance, financial stewardship, and reporting are maintained across our network of churches. It includes policies and procedures that require strict adherence from our staff members around the world.

With these Global Governing Principles now in place, all local Hillsong churches are giving attention to making any necessary changes at the local level in order to comply with it. For Hillsong East Coast, our roll-out will therefore begin with our Financial Governance Policy, available here.

Here are some of our primary goals of every Hillsong Church location:

  • To fulfill our purpose as a Christian church by reaching the most people possible with the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • To provide Christ-centred care with practical assistance, coming alongside those who choose to call Hillsong Church East Coast home and resourcing people to face the challenges of everyday life.
  • To include and treat people equitably.
  • To prohibit and prevent discriminatory, abusive or predatory behavior.
  • To care for the vulnerable and those in need.
  • To display servant leadership as exemplified by Jesus Christ.
  • To establish and maintain environments that encourage worship and a relationship with God.With these goals in mind, we are taking a multidisciplinary approach to the development and implementation of our new policies and procedures. In addition to global and local Hillsong Church leaders, we are integrating community members, outside experts, legal counsel and local staff to finalize many of our policies and procedures.For many of our eight areas of focus, working groups have been formed to provide important feedback. Policies will also be reviewed by outside experts qualified in the areas of caring for victims of trauma and systems that must have respect for an individual’s privacy.Once a policy has been approved by local and global leadership, it will be outlined here and implemented. Staff and community education will be a key part of this process.

Our Policies:

While we recognize that our policies and procedures will evolve over time, comprehensive change must have a starting point. In that spirit, these are our basic policies and we are open to additions as we identify gaps in the future.

Here is the suite that will be introduced over the next several weeks:

FAQs

Why this approach?

We are honoring our commitment to be open and clear in our process moving forward. We value the input of our community and experts to create an environment that is healthy, encouraging and safe.

What happens if there is a complaint before the formal policy is introduced?

Until our formal policy is released, anyone with a concern can submit it to: [email protected]. These complaints will be reviewed by a member of our pastoral care staff and each submission will be reviewed thoroughly.

How will information be communicated?

To communicate this important information to all staff, volunteers and any member of our community, we will be providing updates in the following ways:

  • On our website
  • Staff meetings
  • Volunteer meetings
  • Church gatherings
  • Email
Who is responsible for implementing?

Our Hillsong East Coast leadership team, with the assistance of key staff members, will be responsible for helping to develop and implement new policies and procedures.

Are these the final policies?

We recognize that these policies may evolve and develop over time. However, they are comprehensive and will serve our community immediately.