One other Hillsong east coast pastor resigns, this time over Instagram selfie exposures and alleged infidelity

Another Hillsong east coast pastor resigns, this time over Instagram selfie exposures and alleged infidelity

NEW YORK (RNS) – A Hillsong East Coast pastor has resigned after sharing insightful photos of himself on Instagram. His resignation comes at a time when the global mega-church has been rocked by several scandals, including the firing of “celebrity pastor” Carl Lentz of Hillsong, New York City, after revelations of an extramarital affair last fall.

Darnell Barrett, 32, resigned Tuesday (April 27) as pastor and creative director for the Montclair, NJ, Hillsong campus after taking two “mirror selfie” photos of himself shirtless and Shared with white Nike compression leggings had little to the imagination.

He added captions to the photos, describing a recent battle against depression and anxiety and his pride in “going to the gym today, even if it was a cheap 30-minute workout”.

“One of the insidious things about grief is its moody nature,” wrote Barrett, who is married and has two children, in the caption above a photo taken in a gym locker room mirror. “I am learning to give myself grace as I deal with it.”

Barrett posted the photos to his “close friends” – followers he would have manually selected – on Instagram stories, but he also included a 30-year-old woman who once volunteered for him at New Jersey Church.

He quickly wrote a message to alert her that what he had sent was a mistake. “Hello! I think I added you to my close friends list by mistake,” Barrett wrote. “I’m sorry. I’m trying to figure out how the hell to edit it, ”the Daily Mail read on the news.

“Got it. We’re good,” he wrote shortly afterwards, letting her know that he had sent his friends “some real raw materials -“.

The woman seemed to shake it off at first. “Haha, that’s fine,” she replied, but then blocked him. She later returned to the news to release him and to express decisively stronger opinions on the matter. She said she was “offended that you thought I didn’t understand what you were doing.”

She accused the pastor of sending her the explicit photos as part of a “fishing” program to see if she would bite and that she was “appalled to think of how many other innocent girls did your trick with you have manipulated “.

“I assume you sent this to measure girls’ reactions and see if they would participate in this strange fantasy of online sexual relationship,” the news read.

Barrett insisted the Daily Mail sending her the photos was an accident and he had no intention of seeing the woman. “That was just an honest mistake and I informed my wife as soon as it happened.”

“I didn’t try at all to lure her,” he told the tabloid. “I understand that in the context of what happened to Hillsong, she would draw these conclusions.”

Even so, the Hillsong pastor stepped down from his role in the Church, citing “infidelity” in his marriage, saying he and his wife are “working on it”.

“We thought it would be best for me to keep going. I don’t want to go into the details, ”added Barrett.

In a statement to the Religion News Service, Hillsong confirmed that Barrett, “the creative oversight of the Montclair site on Hillsong’s east coast,” resigned Tuesday.

“We were disappointed to learn what decisions he made that were unacceptable to any Hillsong employee,” said the Church, adding that the Church “has countless staff and volunteers who do their responsibilities with trustworthiness, integrity and responsibility Perceiving excellence. “

“You represent the heart of Hillsong Church.”

Barrett’s resignation is the latest in a series of scandals, transitions, and general unrest against Hillsong, a global mega-church founded in 1983 by Brian and Bobbie Houston in the suburbs of Sydney, Australia. The company now has locations in 28 countries around the world and, according to its website, averaged 150,000 visitors per week before the pandemic.

In addition to Lentz’s release from Hillsong New York City in November, pastors at the Dallas location in Dallas resigned in January due to complaints from the leadership. This church was closed indefinitely in April.

Since Lentz’s release, the mega-church has been scrutinized for its celebrity culture. Some former volunteers described a hierarchy in which pastors were treated as “kings” and prominent participants like Selena Gomez were preferred. Justin Bieber and his wife Hailey Baldwin Bieber; Kevin Durant; Chris Pratt; and the Jenner sisters.


Article originally published by the Religion News Service. Used with permission.

Photo courtesy: © Hillsong Church Facebook

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