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Brian Houston, Hillsong megachurch’s disgraced founder is accused of threatening pastors

The discredited founder of the Hillsong megachurch, Brian Houston, is accused of making threats against other pastors.

Brian Houston, the discredited former pastor of the anti-LGBT+ megachurch, is accused by the former pastors of Hillsong Kyiv and Moscow of threatening them with taking over their congregation and assets.

Zhenya and Vera Kasevich started their own church in Ukraine in 1992, according to ABC’s 7.30. However, the couple’s church remained independent. Hillsong Sydney dispatched a pastor to the congregation and provided financial support for them to get started.

However, as the church’s success became apparent and its membership apparently started to expand quickly, Houston reportedly started to question their independence.

He is drawn to success, Vera added. In Ukraine, our church’s annual budget was approximately $1 million, all from donations.

Brian Houston, Hillsong Founder

Finally, the couple claims Houston threatened to start a competitor church in Kyiv unless they turned over control of their church to Hillsong and resigned as leaders in 2014.

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Hillsong Church Ltd asked the pair to make a “voluntary donation” of $230,000 (£176,000) in cash and the profits from the sale of a house, according to documents seen by ABC and signed by Hillsong Australia general manager George Aghajanian.

The Kasevich family was attempting to petition for US residence at the time, and Hillsong had promised to assist them with the procedure. However, they said that soon their use turned into leverage.

They said that Houston informed them he had “a lot of important information for the US embassy” and that Aghajanian threatened to “make things extremely difficult” for them “with the American authorities” in emails.

“I was in an impossible situation,” Zhenya remarked. You lose no matter what choice you select.

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They consented because they wanted to maintain the unity of their congregation, which they referred to as “family.”

They said that Hillsong then required them to sign a non-disclosure agreement that forbade them from ever attending a service at Hillsong Kyiv or Moscow or getting in touch with Hillsong personnel.

They were “excommunicated” for their refusal.

Brian Houston denied making any threats and called the pastors’ account a “fiction” in an interview with 7.30.

Hillsong has built up a property empire, according to Barry Bowen, a private investigator who collaborates with the Trinity Foundation to look into church fraud. Hillsong has acquired control of the facilities and money of churches in Australia and the US.

The megachurch does not have to pay any tax on property purchases because it is a charity.

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Crisis at the anti-LGBT+ Hillsong megachurch
Hillsong, which was formed in 1983 by Brian and Bobbie Houston, has a checkered past, particularly in terms of accepting LGBT+ people, but has recently been plagued by crisis after scandal.

After an inquiry revealed that Brian Houston had engaged in inappropriate behavior with two female employees that was of “severe concern,” he quit last month.

After an internal inquiry discovered that he had been accused of rape by a junior female staff member, it was later announced that Reed Bogard, the main pastor of Hillsong in Dallas, Texas, had resigned.

In the scathing new film Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed, Anna Crenshaw, a former Hillsong College student who spoke out about being sexually raped by a church employee, was also featured.

Nine Hillsong branches have severed connections with the megachurch since Houston’s resignation.

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