Hillsong Church’s campus in New York City draws more than 7,000 weekly worshippers. Photo courtesy of Jessicalsmyers via Flickr (http://bit.ly/1gwwwpL) *Editors: Image is available to RNS subscribers, but not for resale.

Hillsong Church in New York City draws more than 7,000 weekly worshippers. Gays are still ministering in the Hillsong NYC choir despite Pastor Brian Houston’s spin, lies and denials- including the celebrity gay from the American ‘Survivor Series’, Josh Canfield. Josh Canfield and his former boyfriend Reed Kelly planned to marry at Hillsong NYC in 2016, but they split up in March 2016. Josh says he’s still looking for his dream “Christian” gay man to marry.

 

Last year “Pastor” Brian Houston said to the media that gays aren’t in positions of ministry at Hillsong Church.

Then this year Brian Houston said that gays are not only welcome at Hillsong and “whatever makes you happy”.

Brian also said that he foresees it’s inevitable that gays will be married at Hillsong Church.

However despite Brian’s public declaration that gays aren’t in positions of ministry at Hillsong Church, the article below confirms that gays are still in positions of ministry at Hillsong Church.

Gays can be involved in the choir but supposedly not lead the choir, although there is no evidence gays aren’t still leading the choir and there is no evidence gays aren’t leading other Hillsong ministries at Hillsong NYC and at other Hillsong Churches. Like Hillsong London- which is very gay too.

The article below says that Josh Canfield and Reed Kelly told the journalist the following:

“Canfield and Kelly, for example, can sing in the choir, but would not be eligible to direct it”.

So the Hillsong leadership have supposedly taken Josh Canfield out of leading the choir, a position he held for eight years, but he is still ministering in the choir.

 

Hillsong NYC openly gay celebrities who monster in the choir. Josh Canfield (right) led the choir for eight years.

Hillsong NYC openly gay celebrities who minister in the choir. Josh Canfield (right) led the choir for eight years.

 

The article concludes:

“Canfield and Kelly have decided to keep singing each Sunday at Hillsong, despite the restrictions. They recognize that the decision they’ve made is not one that every person in their position should make. But they believe it is the right one for them.

“If every gay person leaves their church because they have been treated poorly, nothing will change,” Canfield said. “They still want us, and we feel called to stay. And we’re telling all our gay friends at Hillsong to do the same.””

Josh Canfield says, “And we’re telling all our gay friends at Hillsong to do the same”. That is, to stay at Hillsong New York City.

In other words, there are lots of openly gay men and women at Hillsong Church and despite theses gays not having the slightest intention to repent of their gay sins, they don’t even think that they’re sinning, and they’re going right on with their gay faith at Hillsong, and even ministering in non-leadership levels at Hillsong Church.

This however is a contradiction because ministering in worship is a form of leadership.

It is also a very holy, important and dedicated ministry towards our Holy God.

Gay uncleanness and a Holy God are an impossible fit.

In fact, according the the Holy Scriptures in the Holy Bible- homosexuals and lesbians cannot even enter the kingdom of heaven. The Bible says this in many ways and many places throughout the Old Testament and the New Testament.

It is probable that Josh Canfield is still helping in various ways in leadership.

How can Josh Canfiled, who was brought over from Hillsong London by Head Pastors Joel Houston, Brian Houston’s son, and Carl Lentz to help found Hillsong New York City eight years ago and lead the choir suddenly take a back-seat?

Here is the article confirming that gays are still ministering in the Hillsong New York City choir.

 

Religious New Service

Why TV’s ‘Broadway Boyfriends’ will keep singing with Hillsong Church

Jonathan Merritt

August 11, 2015

NEW YORK (RNS) The only thing worse than a false story is a partial one.

That was the real lesson behind an article published on a conservative Christian website last week claiming that the Hillsong Church was allowing an “openly homosexual couple” to lead worship. The article, about the New York City campus of the Australia-based super-church, where tens of thousands worship weekly, drew from a 7-month-old article from Playbill.com about two Broadway actors and contestants on the “Survivor” reality TV show, Josh Canfield and Reed Kelly.

The article triggered statements from Hillsong’s senior pastor, the Rev. Brian Houston in Australia, reaffirming the church’s belief that “marriage is between a man and a woman” and stating that neither man is serving in a leadership role any longer. But Houston also said that Hillsong wants gay couples to feel welcome.

Like many conservative churches, Hillsong holds a traditional view of sexuality but wants to welcome and include all people. Canfield and Kelly, like many gay couples, disagree with the church’s views on homosexuality. But unlike some others, they say they want to stay with the church they love and work for change.

Their story — echoed by so many LGBT Christians — is one that needs to be told.

 

Dating couple Josh Canfield and Reed Kelly, will be among the castaways competing on SURVIVOR this season, on the CBS Television Network. Photo courtesy of Monty Brinton/CBS ©2014 CBS Broadcasting, Inc.

Former dating gay “Christian” couple from Hillsong New York City, Josh Canfield and Reed Kelly in the Survivor series on CBS Television Network.

 

Sitting in a Manhattan diner, Canfield and Kelly use Christian language with ease and regularly inject Bible verses into conversation. Canfield was raised in a conservative pastor’s home, attended an evangelical college and served on staff as a music minister years ago. Kelly, who was raised Catholic, says that rather than date, the couple chose to “court,” which included a mutual commitment to refrain from having sex until their wedding day. (They haven’t set a date.) On paper, they have a perfect conservative Christian relationship — except for their genders, of course.

Canfield was a music director at Hillsong’s campus in London and moved to New York City, in part, to help launch the congregation there. Soon after, he met Kelly and they both served the church faithfully in various capacities. Kelly even hosted (but did not lead) a Bible study group in his home for the church. In December, the couple informed the Rev. Carl Lentz, the lead pastor in New York, that they were getting engaged, which triggered a series of personal and ongoing conversations.

“At Hillsong, we take the time to sit at the table and hear their pain and hear their journey and consider their thinking,” Lentz said. “And when it is time to speak back to these people, we can speak from a place of observation, not condemnation.”

Lentz said his priority was to “make sure that these amazing guys weren’t mishandled or mistreated.”

Prior to the publication of the Playbill article, Lentz spoke to Houston about the situation and, as a result, asked Canfield and Kelly to step down from their leadership roles. At the same time, he invited them to serve in other roles and reaffirmed his desire to help them feel welcome and included in his congregation, which draws more than 7,000 worshippers weekly.

But the conversation did not end there.

“Me and my wife, Laura, are deeply involved in Josh and Reed’s lives,” Lentz said. “We have had ongoing, face-to-face discussions about God, sin, life and Jesus, because this is what you do in a church.”

In turn, Canfield and Kelly profess gratitude for their pastor and the rest of Hillsong’s staff. The couple’s demeanors do not darken when they speak of the ordeal.

 

Josh Canfield and Reed Kelly during a vacation in Tulum, Mexico in September 2013. Photo courtesy of Josh Canfield

Josh Canfield and Reed Kelly during a vacation in Tulum, Mexico in September 2013. Photo courtesy of Josh Canfield.

 

“We’re grateful for Pastor Carl, and we feel God has called us to be at Hillsong. He wants us to be a part of the church, knowing what we believe,” Kelly said. “This is our home church, and we are not leaving. It’s important for us to be there dialoguing about this.”

By all accounts, Hillsong does seem to want LGBT people to feel welcome — with limits. They are welcome to attend, worship, even participate as members. They are eligible to serve in some roles, but not others. Canfield and Kelly, for example, can sing in the choir, but would not be eligible to direct it. Houston even called Hillsong “a gay-welcoming church” in a statement. While this may sound regressive to many unfamiliar with Christianity, it is astounding given the history of evangelicalism’s treatment of LGBT people.

Lentz recognizes the obstacles he faces, but he said that won’t stop him from trying to find a way forward.

“(Hillsong’s) heart on this matter is to reach all people, even communities that present extreme complexities,” he said in an email. “We would rather be misunderstood and look ‘messy’ to some in the Christian community that do not agree with us and help some, than appease people that think differently and reach none.”

Lentz noted that young gay people are committing suicide in record numbers and yet they find no refuge in most churches. Furthermore, he said, many churches have accepted a system that forces people to “hide their tensions, questions, and strongholds for fear of exclusion.”

“People can’t get over the fact that we’re preaching the whole counsel of God and that people still want to listen to it, even in disagreement, because they know they are loved,” Lentz said. “But here are two people — and there are many more — who know what we believe and still want to be a part.”

READ: How Hillsong Church is becoming ‘gay-welcoming’ without compromising its convictions

So, two things of value have happened that may not satisfy conservative evangelicals or LGBT activists. One of the most influential evangelical churches in the world has both reaffirmed its commitment to traditional views on sexuality and has shown a level of openness and flexibility on the matter that would have been difficult to imagine even a decade ago.

Canfield and Kelly have decided to keep singing each Sunday at Hillsong, despite the restrictions. They recognize that the decision they’ve made is not one that every person in their position should make. But they believe it is the right one for them.

“If every gay person leaves their church because they have been treated poorly, nothing will change,” Canfield said. “They still want us, and we feel called to stay. And we’re telling all our gay friends at Hillsong to do the same.”

 

Photo courtesy of Jonathan Merritt Show caption

Photo courtesy of Jonathan Merritt

Jonathan Merritt is senior columnist for Religion News Service and author of “Jesus is Better Than You Imagined” and “A Faith of Our Own: Following Jesus Beyond the Culture Wars.” He resides in Brooklyn, N.Y. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Merritt

The tale of Canfield, Kelly and Hillsong Church is something of a love story. There’s a church with a conservative theology that loves the people that theology affects. And there are two men who love each other and a church with which they have a profound disagreement.

Like all love stories, the relationship grows messy as all seek to stay true to who they believe they are. It’s complicated, yes — but it’s worth it.

(Jonathan Merritt is senior columnist for Religion News Service and author of “Jesus is Better Than You Imagined” and “A Faith of Our Own: Following Jesus Beyond the Culture Wars.” He resides in Brooklyn, N.Y.)

LM/MG END MERRITT

 

josh canfield b13

Hi there it's Josh Canfield and my man Reed. We love Hillsong New York City. It's sooo camp.

Hi there it’s Josh Canfield and my man Reed. We love Hillsong New York City. It’s sooo camp.

Kissing on the US 'Castaways' series set.

Kissing on the US ‘Castaways’ series set.