By Leonardo Blair, Christian Post reporter | Wednesday April 28, 2021 Darnell Barrett, 32. | Hillsong NYC
Scandal-ridden Hillsong Church suffered another blow in the US on Tuesday when Darnell Barrett, creative director of Hillsong Church in Montclair, New Jersey, announced that he had resigned and cited “infidelity” in his marriage.
The 32-year-old dad and U.S. Navy veteran confirmed his resignation on DailyMail.com after accidentally sharing lewd training photos of himself in tights in a message to a former volunteer on Instagram last month.
“We thought it would be best for me to keep going. I don’t want to go into the details, ”Barrett told the publication.
The Christian Post reached out to Hillsong Church Wednesday for comment, but a response was not immediately available.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Barrett joined Hillsong Church as Creative Director in January 2019. This came shortly after he revealed to the Church in December 2018 how he had reconnected with his birth father Hampton Robinson for the first time that year after years of searching for him.
Barrett and his brother Daniel were put up for adoption because of their parents’ drug addiction.
“I was more concerned with drugs than being a good father at this time in my life,” Robinson told his son during a presentation in Hillsong. “It’s hard to look you in the eye and tell you that, but … that’s the truth.”
The Hillsong staff member, who also preached in the church, said he had struggled with this knowledge for most of his life, and told Steve Harvey in 2019 that he was working on his father’s mission through prayer and therapy.
“He (father) was honest with me. He told me he looked into my eyes and said, “I loved drugs more than you.” When I hear this, I still struggle with the idea of being enough to keep someone in my life. I’m working on it and I’m in therapy and I pray a lot, ”he told Harvey.
Barrett said the controversial photos showing his manhood were shared on Instagram with a group of “close friends” last month sharing his battle with depression and anxiety. He shared the photos, he said, as part of a “gym challenge,” and the unnamed former Hillsong volunteer was accidentally shot.
“Yeah, it shows me with my leggings,” he admitted.
“This was just an honest mistake and I notified my wife as soon as it happened,” he told DailyMail.com. “I didn’t try to lure them at all. I understand that in the context of what is happening to Hillsong, she would draw these conclusions. But I hardly know her. That was not my intention. ”
The former volunteer said she barely knew Barrett when she volunteered for Hillsong from 2014-2016, but he reached out to her earlier this year and said he was on his way to the state she moved to.
She accused him of fishing for prey in messages shared with DailyMail.com and said while she did not report him to Hillsong Church, another member did.
Earlier this month, Brian Houston, senior pastor of Hillsong Church Global, announced an interruption to Hillsong Dallas operations following an investigation into former senior pastor Reed Bogard and his wife Jess.
For months, Houston has also been struggling to mend the image of his church’s US arm after a string of sex and financial scandals.
Since last November, the Church has had to publicly address complaints about inappropriate sexual relations between staff and volunteers in Hillsong, New York, which led to the dismissal of its then senior pastor, Carl Lentz.
The embattled Australian denomination also faced an investigation into an attack on the daughter of a Philadelphia pastor at their headquarters.
Anna Crenshaw, the daughter of Victory Church senior pastor Ed Crenshaw, announced that Jason Mays, a Hillsong staff member, volunteer singer and son of the Church Human Resources Director, sexually assaulted her at a social gathering that was attending Hillsong College in Australia.
“Jason grabbed me, put his hand between my legs and his head on my stomach, and started kissing my stomach. I felt his arms and hands wrap around my legs and make contact with my inner thighs, bum and crotch, ”Crenshaw wrote in a 2018 statement from The Christian Post.
Anna and her father had to fight seriously to hold Mays accountable. He later pleaded guilty to “attacking with an act of indecency” in 2019. He is still listed as the Creative Director and Head of Sync at Hillsong Music.
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