WA pastor to lead Hillsong New York

Chrishan and Danielle Jeyaratnam, who pastor the Perth and Bali campuses of Hillsong Church, will take on former pastor Carl Lentz’s roles in the United States.

The church’s Global Senior Pastor Brian Houston announced the appointment this morning at Hillsong’s annual Vision Sunday service.

Today’s service was the only the second time the Sydney campus has met since the pandemic caused Australian churches to close at the start of 2020. In particular, Hillsong was curtailed by the COVID restriction of a maximum of 300 people allowed at church services in NSW.

Lentz was dismissed late last year from his role in pastoring Hillsong’s East Coast USA campuses following the revelation of an affair.

An investigation by a New York law firm into the Lentz dismissal has been completed, but has not been made public.

Houston said the investigation found “significant ways” the NYC megachurch had “failed to reflect Hillsong global culture,” according to journalist Julie Roys’ report.

“Every Hillsong location must honour our commitment to creating a caring and healthy environment for our team, volunteers and members,” Houston wrote to Hillsong East Coast members in an email. “Under the previous lead pastor, this was not always the case.”

The law firm Zukerman Gore Brandeis & Crossman, LLP, and the firm was granted “unfettered access to all relevant personnel, records, and correspondence”, Houston said.

Jeyaratnam’s family joined Hillsong during its first few years as a church planted in Sydney’s Hills District. Chrishan grew up as part of the church, while Danielle joined during her teen years.

After they were married, Chrishan and Danielle were Powerhouse Pastors at the Hills Campus – focusing on the 18-25 age bracket. They became Sydney City campus pastors before launching Hillsong Perth in 2017.

In another major Hillsong appointment announced today, Victorian pastors Tim and Nicola Douglass will take over Hillsong UK.

Gary and Cathy Clarke – who took over a struggling church plant in London 21 year ago for Hillsong – are moving into a new role of pastoral oversight for Hillsong Europe/UK.