27 May 2011

Australian church affiliated with US fundamentalists opens school to teach how to raise the dead and cure cancer

The Queensland Times   -   Australia May 21, 2011

Westlife 'Cancer cure' course

by Chris Garry

A SCHOOL of the Supernatural has opened in Springfield, claiming to teach Ipswich residents how to cure cancer through prayer.

Westlife Church, which counts Hillsong Church [see related article links below] amongst its evangelical family, is running the six-month course for the first time this year.

Seventy people have enrolled in the School of the Supernatural.

Participants who complete the course are told they will be able to perform miracles through prayer, such as helping couples who can't conceive fall pregnant, healing broken bones and even curing cancer.

The course is based on the controversial teachings of fundamentalist pastor Bill Johnson who runs the enormous Bethel Church in California.

The pastor speaks to Ipswich students through a series of DVDs.

Bethel's members purport to have the ability to bring the dead back to life.

Westlife Church's website states: “Supernatural schools are designed to equip students to ‘live and do' in the supernatural through biblical teaching and practical application.

“This is an environment where people can take risks in learning to operate in the supernatural without fear of rejection or failure.”

School of the Supernatural director, Cherylyn Collett, said Ipswich students had shown great promise in their ability to physically heal.

“Our course is based on Bible scripture. The course teaches students to live outside the box and listen to what God really has to say,” Mrs Collett said.

“God fills the minds of our students with pictures and that helps them heal others physically.

“We are not out to convert anyone or preach.

“Our students are taught to transform the atmosphere around them but to do so in an accepting way.

“Some Churches in the past have had agendas and have not been real with their congregation. This is real.”

Mrs Collett said the course did not teach students how to “speak in tongues”, but she would discuss the technique with pupils if asked.

Westlife Church has contributed immensely to Ipswich's recovery since January's flood disaster.

Westlife Church manager Yvonne Baker said several miracles had been performed at their church this year and it was hoped those who completed the School of Supernatural course would increase the number physical healings.

Mrs Collett attended Bill Johnson's Bethel Church several years ago to have her chronically ill son healed at their School of Supernatural Ministry.

When it worked within two days, she said she felt obliged to bring the Bethel teachings back to Australia.

But Bethel Church has come under severe criticism.

Pastor Johnson has claimed angel feathers have fallen in his church.

The church even claims to heal physical ailments over the internet through the use of Skype.

This article was found at:


Hillsong: Exorcism in the suburbs

They sought help, but got exorcism and the Bible


  1. From: Sarah of the Collage sarahscollage.blogspot.com

    You're receiving this email because i have had contact with you at some point about Mercy Ministries, or you have written about Mercy Ministries on your blog in the past. Basically, my reason for writing to you is that there is renewed media interest in the US, and myself and some others are wanting to maximise this opportunity to make some waves and hold Mercy accountable.

    Here is some of what has been happening of late:

    Lincoln News Messenger published some articles a few weeks ago detailing allegations about the use of recovered memory therapy at Mercy. Although the articles were report style and gave Mercy plenty of opportunity to respond, they have been (unsurprisingly) branded by many of their supporters as "an attack". (These articles have been posted on the Mercy Survivors website). Some discussion ensued in the comments section of these articles which became heavily censored thanks to the misuse of the Facebook "report" feature.

    Mercy has gone into damage control, tweaking information on their website and suddenly appearing at the top of the google rankings when they were in third place or lower for a long time

    Upon further examination, I discovered that the Mercy page on wikipedia had been heavily modified since i last saw it, with whole chunks and other criticism missing and "Mercy Ministries Australia" replaced with MMA or "an Australian affiliate". A friend created a "US controversy" section, which i added to and i also unabbreviated MMA, which seems to have put wikipedia at no 2 on google. We haven't been vocal about that in public arenas as Mercy are watching and will have a team of dedicated minions to censor it around the clock.

    Over the last couple of years, a steady flow of US survivors have joined the Mercy Survivors network and are currently our most active and vocal members. I have had contact with many of them. The two that have the most powerful stories i have come across are currently being interviewed by the Chicago Times with an article or two to be published in the next week or so, so keep a look out for it.

    If you are interested, here are some ways you can help:

    Forward this email to people you think may be interested in writing about Mercy on their websites

    Pass on any media contacts you may have (myself and a few others are currently compiling a list of our media contacts so we can alert them when new stories come out and to create more media interest)

    If you share about Mercy Ministries on your blog, linking back to media articles, websites and blogs about Mercy can help improve google rankings of sources containing critical information about Mercy. (On this note, there are currently two Mercy Survivors websites, long story, but basically MS now has a host and will be going back to mercysurvivors.com which is currently ahead of the other one floating around). Also, consider adding to your blogroll the various blogs and websites dedicating to sharing girls experiences and raising awareness.
    If you have the time, patience and knowhow, you could help restore accurate information to the Mercy Ministries wikipedia page.

    Myself and a few others are currently working on a website called Mercy Ministries Exposed (mercyministriesexposed.wordpress.com). It was created to hilight the stark discrepencies between who MM present themselves to be and the facts and first-hand experiences that continue pouring out of the organisation. It is more for factual writing that draws attention to inconsistencies between MM's claims and what current evidence hilights. It's still very much under construction and needs more content, but if you would like to be involved, let me know and i'll add you as a contributor. Also, if you have any ideas for content for this website or Mercy Survivors, send them my way.

    Websites and blogs you may wish to add to your blog roll:

    continued in next comment...

  2. continued from previous comment:

    Some of these are blogs of survivors, others are bloggers who have taken an active interest in the past. I will be forwarding this email to as many of them as i have email addresses for, let me know if there is anyone else that should be added to this list.

    Mercy Survivors

    Mercy Ministries Exposed

    Sean's old blog

    Remnant's of Sean's other old blog
    returnoftheblogonaut.wordpress.com (remnants of seantheblogonaut.com)

    Sarah's Collage (this is my blog)

    (For some reason, my blog which for awhile was above Mercy Ministries on google has disappeared, i can't find it now when i search Mercy Ministries. If you wanna link to the Mercy Ministries page on my blog would really appreciate the help as i don't have $ to pump into my google ranking)

    Mercy Ministries Abuses

    Group Sects
    (This website is still very high on google ranking)

    The Truth About Mercy

    Benediction Blogs On

    The Cynic Sage

    Against Biblical Counselling

    Grace to Light

    Comfortably Numb

    RH Reality Check (one of Lisa Kerr's blogs)
    http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/02/16/dark-side-mercy-ministries (this is a recent piece she did on Mercy with more to come)

    Jeanette Bartha
    http://jeanettebartha.wordpress.com/2012/03/17/mercy-ministries-harm-continues-to-women-patients/ (this is a piece she recently did on MM, there may be more to follow)

    One more ex-Mercy blog:

  3. Justin Biebers Pastor Runs NYC Branch of Controversial Aussie Cult “Church” Whose Founder Confessed to Molestation of a 7 Year Old Boy

    by Roger Friedman - ShowBiz 411 November 20, 2014

    You cannot make this up. Justin Bieber, not exactly the brightest bulb in any lamp, is a follower of a sketchy Virginia man who calls himself a pastor and runs a church every Sunday at the Manhattan Center on West 34th St. Carl Lentz portrays himself as the Punk Pastor, and says he’s Pentacostal. His latest iteration is called Hillsong NYC church. But what his American, Canadian followers– and Bieber– may not know is Hillsong NYC is a branch of Hillsong Australia. That organization is considered by many in that country to be a cult.

    Hillsong’s founder, Frank Houston, had to resign in 2000 after confessing to having molesting a 7 year old boy in 1969. He was never prosecuted, and the case haunts Hillsong and the Houstons, and now Lentz to this day. Even though Frank Houston is now dead. the story isn’t over. A recent hearing in Australia revealed that Frank’s son Brian, who now runs Hillsong. trivialized the incident and let his father continue to preach as part of their church, albeit surreptitiously. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=11339319 He is also accused of trying to bribe the victim.

    Bieber’s pastor, Carl Lentz, only became involved with Hillsong four years ago. In the video above, he explains how he hooked up with the Houstons– that’s Frank Houston’s grandson Joel with Lentz in the video, looking like Jay from “Silent Bob and Jay.” These two are supposed to be religious leaders; they are Justin Bieber’s spiritual guides. Joel has been running Hillsong NYC with Lentz since 2010.

    Before he hooked up with the Houstons, Lentz operated Cal Lentz Ministries out of Washington state. The IRS recently revoked the 501 c 3 status of that outfit after Carl Lentz Ministries failed to file tax returns for three years. Lentz runs Hillsong in New York as a straight ahead business with no tax free standing. He’s registered Hillsong out of his father’s law office in Virginia, but hasn’t filed any paperwork. There is no transparency at all.

    The connection between Lentz and the Houstons, and the history of Houston’s father, finally came to a boiling point in October in New York at a Madison Square Garden conference of Hillsong followers. Not only was Frank Houston’s molestation case examined, but also multiple scandals about finances at Hillsong and the cult’s attitude toward homosexuality. Brian Houston’s sidestepping has caused a lot of controversy among the followers.

    I spoke to Carl Lentz’s father, Stephen Lentz, an attorney in Virginia Beach. He couldn’t have been nicer. Mr. Lentz explained that churches don’t have to file Form 990s, so nothing is amiss. He said he knew nothing about Hillsong Australia, and very graciously invited me to the Manhattan Center. Entrance to the services, which run all day long every Sunday, he says, is free. You donate what you want. But the Manhattan Center isn’t free. They charge $17,000 a day for the Grand Ballroom where the Hillsong services take place. Someone is paying for that, most likely Hillsong Australia.

    Watch these videos about Hillsong Australia:




  4. Woman Arrested in Attempt to Resurrect Child

    NBC DFW Texas April 14, 2015

    A woman who operated a church at her suburban Dallas home has been arrested for allegedly helping starve a 2-year-old boy to rid him of a "demon," then holding a resurrection ceremony shortly after he died to try to revive him, investigators said Tuesday.

    Police believe the boy was dead during the ceremony but that his parents took his body to their native Mexico for burial without reporting the death, said Balch Springs police Lt. Mark Maret. He said an anonymous tip about the ceremony at Araceli Meza's home, where several other church members also lived, led to the investigation. He noted that more arrests are likely.

    Meza was charged Monday with injury to a child causing serious bodily injury by omission. The 49-year-old was being held on $100,000 bond at the local jail, where records didn't list an attorney.

    No one answered the door Tuesday at her home in Balch Springs, about 15 miles east of Dallas, and phone calls to the home went unanswered.

    Witnesses told police that Meza and the boy's parents believed he had a "demon" inside him, and that fasting was the way to save him.

    "They didn't give the child any food for about 25 days," Maret said. "They just gave him some water, which ultimately caused the child to die."

    Church member Nazareth Zurita said she saw the child "looking frail and weak" the day before the resurrection ceremony, according to a police affidavit. She said the toddler fell and hit his head several times, but she hesitated to help him "due to his demon possession."

    Zurita said the next time she saw the child was the next day being held by church leader Daniel Meza, who was trying to revive the boy through a miracle during the ritual. Zurita said "it took her a while to figure out" the child was dead, according to the affidavit.

    Investigators believe the boy died on March 21 or early the next day, and that the ceremony was held March 22 at Meza's home.

    "Apparently... they had a ceremony called `the rising,' trying to resurrect the child back to life," Maret said.

    Police went to the home to check on the boy, whose name was not released, and discovered his parents had returned to Mexico.

    Another church member, Delia Guadalupe Oyervides Herrera, told police she tried several times to feed the child during the 25-day fast, "but was scolded by the pastors of the church," according to the affidavit. She asked the child's mother why she would allow her child to be starved and was "advised that it was God's will."

    Meza wasn't affiliated with any traditional religion but held regular services at her home with her husband, Maret said.

    Zurita said Meza "was considered a prophet" who "would advise to the other members of the church what God has spoken to her." Zurita identified herself as the secretary and third-ranking officer of the Iglesia Internacional Jesus es el Rey, and said Menza's husband was the church's leader and Menza was its second-ranking officer.


  5. Hillsong's Brian Houston failed to report abuse and had conflict of interest – royal commission

    Royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse finds multiple failings with Hillsong Church’s response

    by Helen Davidson, The Guardian November 23, 2015

    Brian Houston, the founder of the Hillsong Church, failed to alert the police about allegations his father had sexually assaulted children, and had a conflict of interest when he assumed responsibility for dealing with the accusations, a royal commission has found.

    In October 2014 the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse examined the responses of the Assemblies of God in Australia (now Australian Christian Churches) to allegations against three men, including Frank Houston, a preacher who helped build the Pentecostal movement in Australia and who died in 2004.

    Frank Houston had abused up to nine boys in Australia and New Zealand, and in its final report on the case released on Monday, the commission found multiple failings within the church executive – at the time led by Frank Houston’s son Brian – in responding.

    Both the New South Wales executive and the national executive failed to follow its complaints procedure when handling the allegations, the royal commission found in its report.

    The royal commission found both executives failed to appoint a contact person for the victim (referred to as AHA), did not interview AHA about his allegations, did not interview Frank Houston, and did not record any of the steps it took.

    The royal commission also found neither the national executive nor Brian Houston referred the allegations to police, and determined Houston “had a conflict of interest in assuming responsibility for dealing with AHA’s allegations because he was both the National President of the Assemblies of God in Australia and the son of Mr Frank Houston, the alleged perpetrator”.

    The October hearings heard from AHA, who said he had been sexually abused by Frank Houston in 1969 and 1970 as a seven- and eight-year-old boy, when the preacher would stay with AHA’s family on visits to Sydney.

    AHA told the commission he remembered Frank Houston coming into his room “nearly every night of the week” on his Sydney visits, and sexually assaulting him.

    AHA also alleged Frank Houston abused him when they were alone in an office, and at an evangelical camp in Windsor.

    “The abuse in my home and at the different church meetings continued over a period of years until I reached puberty,” AHA told the commission. “Pastor Frank wanted nothing to do with me after I reached puberty.”

    AHA told his mother in 1978 but she warned him off pursuing it as the Houstons “were almost like royalty” in church circles. His mother eventually brought the allegations to the church decades later.

    Brian Houston, who was then the national president of the Assemblies of God, confronted his father with the allegations in 1999 and the preacher confessed.

    Brian Houston called a meeting of the national executive, and relinquished the chair, but remained present during discussions on the allegations and disciplinary actions against his father.

    continued below

  6. The Assemblies of God executive began investigations – later discovering a further eight alleged victims of Frank Houston – but did not to make them public, telling its churches in a letter from Brian Houston there was “no reason” for it to be announced as others may use it to further their agendas, the commission heard.

    Brian Houston defended his failure to go to the police, despite having no doubt it was criminal conduct, and told the royal commission in October 2014 the revelations about his father had hit him in “waves”.

    “I was like, ‘homosexual?’ getting my head around that, then thinking, ‘A minor? Hold on, we’re not just talking about homosexual, we’re talking about paedophilia’,” he said.

    Brian Houston had told the commission his father was stood down instantly, and Frank Houston “never, ever preached again anywhere after I confronted him”. However evidence to the commission revealed he continued to preach in Canberra the following month.

    “Pastor Brian Houston and the Australian Christian Churches provided no written evidence recording the suspension of Mr Frank Houston’s credential to the royal commission,” the report said.

    Frank Houston gave up preaching and retired in late 2000, and the national executive allowed him to publicly resign, with a retirement package, and “without damage to his reputation or the reputation of Hillsong church,” the commission’s report said.

    AHA had also told the commission he met Frank Houston and another church member at a McDonalds, where the preacher offered him $10,000 and asked him to sign a dirty napkin, allegedly saying, “I don’t want this on my head when I stand in front of God.”

    AHA said Frank Houston told him to call Brian Houston if there were problems, but when the money did not appear two months later Brian Houston responded: “You know it’s your fault all of this happened – you tempted my father,” AHA told the commission.

    Houston denied the accusation in a statement outside the royal commission. He also denied trying to hide his involvement in the meeting from the royal commission, and sought to distance Hillsong from the abuse, saying people should understand the abuse claims being examined happened before Hillsong existed, “when I was a teenager myself”.

    On Monday Hillsong church said it supported the objectives of the royal commission, but sought to distance itself from the findings. “The royal commission did not directly involve Hillsong church,” and the abuse by Frank Houston “occurred many years before Hillsong Church existed”, the church board and elders said in a statement.

    In response to the findings of a conflict of interest, they said it was “easy to look back many years in hindsight”.

    “Pastor Brian acted in the best way he felt at the time and took decisive and immediate action against his own father,” read the statement. “We are confident that the actions of Pastor Brian, from the moment he discovered the news about his father, were done with the best intentions towards the victim.

    “The findings of the royal commission confirmed that his actions resulted in the perpetrator being immediately removed from ministry.”

    The statement also said several other people knew of the abuse before Brian Houston, and noted as an “indisputable” fact that AHA was a 36-year-old adult and “could have taken the matter to police himself at any time”.

    In the 16 years since the revelations, “no one had ever advised that this historical complaint coming from a mature adult needed to be reported to the police,” the church said.

    continued below

  7. A spokeswoman for the Australia Christian Churches said it had “actively addressed many of the points that emerged at the royal commission hearing ... and will continue to do so to build a stronger culture of transparency and accountability when it comes to creating a safe environment for children and youth.”

    A binding child protection policy was adopted by the national conference in April this year, the statement noted, and every local church was aware of its responsibilities towards protecting children.

    It also defended Brian Houston, saying again the victim was an adult who had expressed a wish the abuse not be reported to police.

    The royal commission also examined the responses of the Assemblies of God (now Australian Christian Churches) and other churches to allegations against two other men – former Victorian teacher Kenneth Sandilands and former youth pastor Jonathan Baldwin.

    Several complaints were made that Sandilands, a teacher at Northside Christian College, had abused a number of students in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

    By the end of 1992 Pastor Denis Smith, chair of the church board and college council overseeing the school, was aware of numerous complaints, concerns and incidents but did not take steps to remove Sandilands from his teaching position.

    The commission found that Smith alone had knowledge of each complaint, their sexualised nature, and that Sandilands had breached the warnings given and conditions imposed upon him. He had the power to remove Sandilands from teaching and failed to act to ensure the protection of the children at the school, said the commission’s report.

    “He deliberately did not disclose the complaints to the board and thus kept his inadequate handling of them from the scrutiny of the board which he chaired.”

    In its findings on the third case study, the report said Baldwin was hired as a youth pastor at the Sunshine Coast church in 2004, by Dr Ian Lehmann, the senior pastor. Baldwin shortly after married Lehmann’s daughter.

    The commission found that no background checks of Baldwin were carried out by Lehmann despite a legal obligation, and within months Baldwin began sexually abusing ALA. The abuse continued for two years and concerns were raised by other church elders with Lehmann over the following two years. Lehmann spoke with ALA but took it no further.

    In 2007 ALA told the pastor at his new church, and as a result Baldwin was charged with 47 sexual abuse offences. He was convicted of 10 counts of child sexual abuse in 2009 and sentenced to eight years incarceration.

    The Sunshine Coast church and Australian Christian Churches did not communicate with ALA’s family until five years after Baldwin’s conviction.

    The royal commission found Lehmann had a conflict of interest, and failed to tell ALA’s parents, the board of the church, or Australian Christian Churches, despite being aware of the allegations and personally observing some indicative behaviour between Baldwin and ALA.