The lifelong secret pedophile Frank Houston the founder of Hillsong Church in Double Bay, Sydney in 1977

The lifelong secret pedophile Frank Houston the founder of Hillsong Church in Double Bay, Sydney in 1977

 

This is the 2nd in a series of blog articles about Pastor Frank Houston, his homosexuality, his pedophile activities and my experiences with the man.

I’d like to clarify that Frank Houston never tried it on with me. If he had (and he would have known this) he would have required at least a trip to the dentist and maybe to the hospital.

I was a leading lay pastor in Inner City Sydney during the 1980s under Frank Houston’s leadership. I also worked as a builder full-time for Frank in 1982-1983 doing fit-outs and other installations at the Church on the corner of Goulburn and Riley Streets, Darlinghurst and at the Bible School down the road.

Pedophiles prey on young people and children with psychological and emotional weaknesses or the young who have homosexual tendencies often due to harsh parenting by their father that makes them desperate to seek father-love and approval.

My first sighting of Pastor Frank Houston was in 1977 when he was invited by Pastor Tom Marshall to preach at Tom’s Church, Kapiti Christian Centre, in Raumati South, north of Wellington, the capital of New Zealand.

At this time Frank was head of the AOG (Assemblies of God) in New Zealand and had a reasonable size AOG church in Lower Hutt, a suburb on the northern side of Wellington Harbour. Lower Hutt is adjacent to Petone which was the first area settled in Wellington by the first settlers in the 1840s. Some of my forebears came ashore there. Back in Old England plans were drawn up for a thriving utopian settlement in the Petone area. On arriving the pioneer settlers found no infrastructure. Nothing but mud, a chill windy climate, sand-flies, mosquitos and hostile Maoris (indigenous New Zealanders).

120 years later by the 1960s, the suburbs of Petone and Lower Hutt had morphed into a working class battler area of small charming historic often run-down houses, bland 1930s fibro houses, the odd dull apartment block and colour-less white Anglo-saxon shopping precincts.

Inject into this sea of conservatism and suburban boredom a colourful youthful preacher named Frank Houston who preached boldly and loudly great words of faith and encouragement to a captivated audience. Frank Houston had success in growth in his church which was rare in those days in the AOG movement. This gave Frank a lot of manna with his minister peers in the AOG. The AOG movement back then was very working class in its membership. It was not hard for a charismatic and determined Frank Houston to dominate things in his local Lower Hutt AOG Church and also in the leadership of the National AOG.

I have heard that his temper tantrums at National AOG Meetings were legendary. I know it sounds incongruous that a Christian pastor should behave in this way but he did. And Frank Houston also behaved in this way in Australia.

The astounding thing is that all this time in the 1960s in Lower Hutt AOG, Frank Houston was molesting young boys aged about 10. I know from solid contacts of 6 boys but I suspect the figure is greater.

I also know that one of these boys lodged complaints with the New Zealand AOG and the police and there had been a pay-off. Shame that Frank Houston wasn’t named and shamed in the 1960s as he continued his pedophile activities until at least the 1980s. If you google “Frank Houston” or “Frank Houston sexual abuse” there are details of this case of sexual abuse on-line.

I heard about these scandals from an elderly couple I befriended at Kapiti Christian Centre, Stan and Sheila Carter. These were great people. Sheila had ministered as a single lady in missionary work in Africa with the AOG all her life. In her mid-60s she returned to New Zealand again. Sheila met Stan who had been widowed and they fell in love and married. They built a nice modern home over-looking the ocean at Paraparaumu. Unfortunately Stan dropped dead from a heart attack just as the house was completed.

They were great solid Christians. They had been devoted members of Frank’s church in Lower Hutt. And they were very down on Frank Houston and were very upset that he had been invited to preach at Kapiti Christian Centre. They were reluctant to talk about their reasons for their very strong anti-Frank feelings. They shared about serious allegations against Frank. They mentioned a Hearing. They said there was a cover up and Frank was intimidating people. They spoke of paedophile activity by Pastor Frank Houston in Lower Hutt and at Christian youth camps in South Australia.

One must remember that it was not until the 1990s that it became acceptable to raise allegations of pedophile activities by the clergy. In the 1960s and 1970s these things went on but they were kept under wraps.

I remember Frank Houston “preaching up a storm’, as he would like to describe his style, at Kapiti Christian Centre. Tom Marshall was a lovely man aged in his early 60s who really loved God. When he preached it was more in a conversational style. Tom would talk with a glow on his face about the Presence of the Lord and all the wonderful things about God and His ways.

There was one leader at Kapiti Christian Centre, Rid Harrison who preached more in Frank’s style. Rid was a former AOG pastor whereas Tom lectured in accountancy at Petone Technical College. Kapiti Christian Centre was an independent Charismatic Church that had grown from a couple of small home bible groups that Tom used to run at night in the Kapiti area.

Tom’s preaching style was the opposite of Franks. Tom told me he had some reticence about Frank preaching at KCC. Tom felt obliged because he had talked at Frank’s Church and felt obliged to return the favour. Many at KCC weren’t keen on Frank or his style. I personally was ok with it as my father’s was a preacher too. Dad had modelled himself to some extent off Billy Graham. Frank was influenced by Billy Graham too but also by old-time pentecostal preachers who were often more animated and sometimes extreme.

Frank could be sensitive and a little quieter but his preferred and normal preaching style was the old school preaching. It could become very animated, loud and there could be antics. One of his favourite was jumping up on a chair in the congregation and letting fly from there for a few minutes or even throwing a glass of water over the congregation. Frank Houston certainly was charismatic. And a little mad.

Frank could be harsh on opponents. Frank had some bad blood with Don Crosby the pastor at Wellington Central AOG over something. I remember in 1976 Frank was the guest preacher at Wellington Central AOG. The meeting was packed as there was quite a move of God at the time. Frank publicly rebuked Don Crosby over something that had happened between them. It was quite uncomfortable being part of the congregation.

This is an area of Frank’s character I will delve into in later blog articles on Frank. Frank had an almost sadomasochistic delight in attacking and humiliating people publicly. Frank could be so kind and also so evil. The man had a real Jackyl and Hyde personality.