Hillsong Church has named a married couple to head up its leadership in the wake of founder Brian Houston's resignation as he fights accusations he concealed his late father's child sexual abuse.
Interim leaders Phil and Lucinda Dooley were commissioned as global senior pastors at a morning service held in Sydney and streamed across Australia and internationally on Sunday.
Chairman Stephen Crouch told the congregation the Dooleys had a long history with the church, serving in many roles before dedicating the past 14 years of their lives to establishing Hillsong in South Africa.
"Each time they have applied themselves with diligence and excellence," he said.
"They will lead our church with grace and wisdom."
The appointment follows a year of significant change for Hillsong including the implementation of recommendations from independent reviews of both the governance structure and the process for complaints against credentialed pastors.
The Hillsong board has also been renewed and a spiritual advisory team created to work with its senior clergy.
Pastor Phil said during Sunday's service he and wife Lucinda resolved to "serve our global church family with humility of heart, love and conviction that the church is the hope of the world".
Houston maintains he did "the right thing" not going to police after his father, Frank Houston, told him he had molested an underage boy three decades earlier.
He told a Sydney court in December it was the victim's explicit wish for the incident not to be made public or for there to be an investigation by authorities.
Frank Houston admitted abusing the boy at a home in Sydney's Coogee in 1970, which he confessed to his son in 1999.
Houston has pleaded not guilty to a charge of concealing the crime until his father's death in 2004.
The case will resume in June.
Hillsong announced in April 2022 it had accepted Houston's resignation after it was found he had breached the church's moral code by having inappropriate relations with two women.
Australian Associated Press
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