The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ universal. Far greater than the Houstons. Far greater than Hillsong.

The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ universal. Far greater than the Houstons. Far greater than Hillsong.

Donald Elley of Bellingen:

The article below was written by me and published on this, my personal blog-site, on 26 October 2014.


CLC Darlinghurst (Early Hillsong name) musical. Peter Fitzgerald, Peter Laughton and Geoff Bullock were involved in writing and producing

Blog article of 26 October 2014.

“The king is dead, long live the King”

“And the Bishop said to the altar boy: “Come, sit on my lap”.


Pastor Frank Houston was the King and the Bishop at Christian Life Centre, Darlinghurst in the 1980s and then at Waterloo from the late 1980s to 1998/99 when he retired.

Frank Houston. "I will never retire. I will die in the saddle".

Frank Houston. “I will never retire. I will die in the saddle”.

It eventuated that rather than being retired he was fired, and by his own son, now a King and Bishop in his own right.

Frank Houston’s offence: lifelong covert pedophilia and homosexuality while a prominent Assemblies of God clergy.

My name isn't Brian any more. I'm St Peter of the Holy Mount, Baulkham Hills. My father was called the "Bishop". Dad has retired. I'm greater than he. I'm now His eminence the Pope.

The life of Brian. My name isn’t Brian any more. I’m St Brain of the Holy Mount in Baulkham Hills, Sydney, Australia. Back in the day, my dad Frank was called the “Bishop”. Dad has been fired. I’m now far greater than Frank. I’m now His Eminence Pope Brain of Hillsong.


Christian Life Centre, Darlinghurst in the 1980s was loaded with heaps of talent.

Christian Life Centre, Darlinghurst was the first of many name changes of the current entity, ‘Hillsong City Campus’.

When we look at Christian Life Centre, Sydney, in the 1980s and Pastor Frank Houston’s pedophilia and homosexuality, it’s important to be objective.

Although Frank Houston did an unimaginable number of horrific deeds to innocent children, a lot of good has come out of CLC Darlinghurst.

The fruit of Frank’s life wasn’t all bad.

Pastor Frank Houston. One of his favourite sayings was "God is about church and people. I want you all to know that Hazel and i really love you all".

Pastor Frank Houston. “Friends, I want to let you into a secret today. Despite my thing about boys which was pretty bad, I’m not all bad. I’m one per cent good”.

Peter Aiton early CLC member in 1978:

“…I first attended Eastern Suburbs Christian Life Centre there were about 60-80 people when I started (as it was first known) in Feb 1978 when it was in Sherbrooke Hall in Double Bay until March 1982 at Darlinghurst, I made some long life friends I still see, I remember very well spending hour after hour, night after night cleaning & painting the Darlinghurst building along with many members at the time so we could move in and start the services it was the 3rd home for what was known as Sydney Christian Life Centre at that time, in the early days we all knew each other the church grew very fast.”


Tony Talifero (left) with friends at CLC early 1980s. Tony and Liz Talifero had a deaf singing ministry there, which was very progressive for that time.


Early Hillsong, then called CLC (Christian life Centre) Darlinghurst.

Here are some of the leading lights at CLC Darlinghurst who became pastors and some very talented musos and poets.

Pastors, musos and poets

Pastor Jeff Beecham

Successful evangelist for decades.

Identified with End-Time preacher Barry Smith and used his teachings in the 1980s.

Barry Smith- End-time preacher.

Organised ‘Catch The Fire’ meetings with the Arnotts in the 1990s.

Died last year in his new home, America.

Jeff Beacham. A real nice guy.

Jeff Beacham. Warrior for the Lord.

Jeff Beacham in CLC church fun run 1980s

Pastor Laurie Murphy

Laurie and Heather Murphy early 1980s

Pastor of Hillsong City, Glebe Outreach Church, Sydney for decades.

Laurie is a great guy and a personal friend of mine.

He keeps trying to kill himself on motorbikes.

We worked closely together at CLC Darlinghurst in the 1980s among the down and outs of Inner City Sydney plus Uni students etc.

Laurie and Heather Murphy today

Pastor Sean Stanton

Sean and Linda Stanton early 1980s.

ACC (Australian Christian Churches pastor and teacher. Now in Queensland.

On the ACC National Executive.

Got quite a bit of air-time in the pulpit at CLC Darlinghurst.

One of Frank’s boys. (PS. spiritual boys)

Sean Stanton

Sean and Linda Stanton

Pastor Paul de Jong

Paul de Jong CLC Youth Pastor

Paul de Jong was CLC Youth Pastor. Frank knew the De Jong family from New Zealand and brought Paul over.

One of Frank’s golden boys (spiritual again).

Now prominent in Auckland as a pastor.

There seems to be a trend with hair-loss.

Pastor of “Life” Church, Auckland. That’s the shortest CLC/ Hillsong name change yet. Go Paul.

Paul and Maree de Jong

Paul and Maree de Jong

Trevor King

Very talented musician. Last sighted by me in Auckland, NZ.

Some years ago, I attended my parent’s church, Howick Presbyterian Church, one of New Zealand’s more successful Presbyterian Churches.

Its quite a big church by Presbyterian standards. I couldn’t see who was playing amazing piano. I thought it sounded like Trevor; and it was him. Still cheeky, perky and talented.

Fine head of hair. Looking good Trevor.

Trevor King

Trevor King

Geoff Bullock

Also extremely talented. Pioneered early Hillsong music at Baulkham Hills with Brian.

Still ministering.

Geoff Bullock

Geoff Bullock

Geoff Bullock 2

Pastor Terry Appel

Terry Appel early 1980s

Northern Beaches, Sydney. Pastor of Christian Life Centre Mona Vale. Good hearted and successful.

Brickie turned the Lord’s soldier.

It’s good to see a CLC church that hasn’t had a name change, or multiple name changes.

What’s wrong with Christian Life Centre and what’s wrong with The Assemblies of God, which is one of the oldest and most successful Pentecostal Churches on the planet.

Why call it Australian Christian Churches?

I liked it when T.L. Osbourne said at Darlinghurst in about 1984, we should call CLC “Christian Love Centre”.

Best hair coverage yet.

Pastor Terry Appel. Brickie turned the Lord's soldier.

Pastor Gary Canham

Pastor of Northside Church, Bundoora, Victoria.

Gary was Frank’s business manager at CLC Darlinghurst. He was then an AOG missionary in Eastern Europe sent out by Frank.

Gary returned to Australia to pastor.

Always enthusiastic, very polite and kind-hearted. One of nature’s gentlemen. Like the hair-style Gary.

Pastor Gary Canham

Pastor Gary Canham

Pastor Brian Houston

Brian Houston on left in CLC church pantomime early 1980s.

The jury’s out on Brian, or may be out one day trying to decide if he’s guilty of hiding and failing to report his old pedo dad.

Guilty or not, it’s not very Christian to turn your back on the victims of the AOG/ ACC/ CLC/ Hillsong victims of abuse. Poor form Brian. Not Christian.

Receding hair-line. Hair transplants? No evidence of botox. Was Brian’s nose always that thin?

Pastor Brian Houston

Pastor Brian Houston. A troubled soul.

Pastor Jonathan Wilson

Jonathan Wilson and first family early 1980s.

Now living the dream in America, as a pastor.

Churches in Orange County and Santa Monica Beach, California.

Nice work Jonathan. Santa Monica is where I like to stay in my infrequent visits to LA. Love The Pier and watching the sights at Venice Beach nearby. Mailbu Beach up the coast. All good Jonathan.

Jonathan Wilson

Jonathan Wilson

with second wife

with second wife, Dianne

Jonathan Wilson’s first marriage fell over spectacularly in front of everyone in the 1990s. They married young and there were the usual problems.

Quite quickly soon after, Jonathan got entangled in a complex love quadrangle (new term) involving Jonathon, his daughter Besse and Dianne and Geoff, who were married.

I can’t recall the chronology, but the outcome was that Geoff and Besse got together, as did Jonathan and Dianne. All good. Life’s a beach.

Dr David Johnson head of IICM the CLC Bible College

David Johnson

David Johnson

David Johnson was a pastor and very talented classical violinist and orchestra conductor, Frank brought out from California.

David was brought out to set up the IICM church bible college. The full name was International Institute for Creative Ministries.

Here was a talent if honoured and used properly could do great things.

I think Frank was threatened by David and when David tried to question things to improve them, Frank cast him off.

See my blog article “Pastor Frank Houston. Part 13. Dr David Johnson- Frank Houston’s biggest hatchet job”, posted on 16 February 2013.

After being dismissed by Frank, Rev Gordon Moyes of the mega Wesley Methodist Church snapped him up. Wesley Methodist has the biggest welfare system in the Southern Hemisphere and a Bible College.

This is one of the main reasons I left CLC. I didn’t like Frank’s hatchet job on Ian Carlisle, who was struggling and his own son in law. When Frank did a severe hatchet job on David Johnson that was it for me.

David later returned to California.

Steve Coleman musician

Steve Coleman (on left) and Steve Atkins

Steve Coleman was one of the early CLC musicians who sang solos and played the guitar.

Steve liked singing Jackson Brown’s song, “I’ll be your handyman”.

Steve Coleman was convicted for pedophile acts against young girls.

Michael Driscoll

Michael Driscoll went back on heroin and died in Ireland a long time back. Suicide.

Michael was in Ireland trying to reconnect with his Irish, poetic and musical roots.

Michael Driscoll with Brett Whitely

Michael Driscoll with Brett Whiteley

Michael and Brett Whiteley were artistic soul-mates, and along with Wendy Whiteley, Brett’s wife, were heroin buddies.

Brett Whiteley was one of Australia’s greatest modern painters in the 1969s to 1980s. He died from a heroin overdose, alone in a motel in a Southern part of Sydney.

Michael became a Christian in 1981 through the influence of Jonathan Page and others.

Michael tried to convert Brett Whiteley but was unsuccessful.

Michael wrote a poetry book “Desert Rose”, with poems on the Australian Outback themes and Brett illustrated it.

Managing Michael Driscoll, when he was a home fellowship leader under my leadership, required the patience of Job and the love of Almighty God in big doses.

It wasn’t Michael’s fault. He came from a privileged background, was very complex, had a sense of entitlement, was extremely talented musically, in poetry and to a lesser degree in painting, and was in recovery from heroin abuse.

A sketch of Michael Driscoll by Brett Whitely for a gig, before Michael was a Christian,

A sketch of Michael Driscoll by Brett Whitely for a gig, before Michael was a Christian,

Michael was very zealous for God and led a lot of people, who others couldn’t reach, to Christ.

Michael was a bit of a Christian pied piper and had an eclectic following.

He was big on casting out of demons for a time. A lot of people coming off heavy stuff needed it.

Michael and his band, including Rick Jelliffe and Peter Fitz, put out a Christian Album in 1981. I can’t remember the name of the album but I think it had a sketch by Brett Whitely? on the front cover. Was it “Reel to Real”?

I could write a whole article on Michael and maybe I should. I’d probably need Rick Jelliffe’s help.

Michael had a good heart despite his complexities, which is normal for an artist of his talent. I handled Michael patiently and we had some great times in the home fellowships etc.

Michael found it hard to relate to Frank and his ways. Maybe he sensed something wasn’t right.

Bob Harris

Bob Harris was another talented artist who became a Christian in the early 1980s. In this case, a published poet who won awards. He died in 1994. Heart issues.

Michael and Bob were both home fellowship leaders under my leadership in the early 1980s.

Terry Darmody

Terry Darmody performing at Naphtali Cafe, a Christian cafe in Chatswood 1984.

Terry Darmody (on the right)

Terry Darmody (on the right)

The loveable Terry

The loveable Terry

Terry (middle)

Terry (middle)

Terry and his wife, Deidre, attend Hillsong Glebe Outreach Church. Laurie and Heather Murphy are the pastors.

Terry is still doing a gospel slot on Radio Skid row. He’s been doing it for over 30 years. A faithful servant of the Lord.

A very talented gospel muso. Go Terry.

Terry’s knowledge of old gospel music is encyclopaedic.

Also a home group leader under me in the 1980s.

Terry used to fall asleep when I was leading the bible study so I figured the only way to keep him awake was to make him a leader.

Tony Venn-Brown

Tony Venn-Brown was a successful AOG evangelist who went out from CLC Darlinghurst to do great things.

Tony left his wife and children and went gay.

Hi there. i'm gay.

Fruity. “Hi there. I’m Tony and I’m gay”.

gay rights boys

Gay rights bros

Tony has some kind of Christian gay rights thing going.

I read somewhere he believes the Church will eventually accept gay marriage and the right to be gay at some time in the future.

Tony thinks it will happen maybe in 30 years, after his life-time. Come on Tony, you can live to 90. (P.S. watch the HIV though)

Sorry if I missed you

I can’t think of anyone else from the CLC Darlinghurst days who is a pastor, successful muso, poet or famous or infamous.

If you think you’re amazing or important and I missed you out, don’t worry. I didn’t make it on to the list. Missed the pastor gig, only got to grade 3 piano and my poetry is for readings at the Bellingen Poetry club.


Me. Donald Elley. On Bondi Beach this winter in the cold. All year swimmer. See all you baldies, I’ve still got my hair.