Jeff Beacham in New Zealand rock band 1970s. Front and centre. Jeff was a drummer.

Donald Elley of Bellingen:

This article was published on this site on 22 October 2014.

I knew Jeff Beacham, Barry Smith, Frank and Brian Houston and all the players at CLC Darlinghurst in the 1980s to 1990s.

Blog article of 22 October 2014

Early Hillsong

I was at CLC Darlinghurst, the second name and second location of Hillsong, from 1981 and knew Jeff Beacham.

Pastor Jeff Beacham formed an end-time prophet style ministry

In the 1990s, Pastor Jeff Beacham formed an end-time prophet style ministry based at Christian Life Centre (CLC) Sydney. Former names: CLC Double Bay, CLC Darlinghurst. Later names: Hillsong City Church, Hillsong City Campus.

Jeff’s ministry was derived from Barry Smith, a self-styled end-time prophet from New Zealand.

Frank on Barry Smith: “Barry Smith fills the church coffers”

Although no intellectual, Barry had devised a complex system of end-time interpretation of the scriptures related to current events. Some people would write off Barry Smith as a misguided mad false prophet. Frank Houston liked Barry and gave him a lot of playing time at CLC Darlinghurst in the early days.

Although Frank liked Barry he secretly thought Barry was a bit of a looney. Frank told me, “Barry is a looney but the people love him. Every time he comes here, he packs in the crowds and fills the church coffers”.

Barry Smith was popular and filled the house at CLC Darlinghurst. Translate “filled the church coffers”. Frank told me Barry’s ability to draw the crowds, and intrinsically the cash, was a plus for Barry, “even if I don’t believe everything he says”.

Impressionable young people believed every word Barry said.

Barry Smith

Jeff was greatly influenced by Barry Smith, a fellow New Zealander and similar personality type to Jeff.

Barry died before his time. He was a tall solid man and he liked hamburgers and used to make negative jokes about health foods. He died from a heart attack.

Pastor Jeff Beacham or “Jeff” as he was commonly known, took over from Barry Smith and formulated his own end-time ministry.

Jeff Beacham

In those days, Jeff was a bit of a knock-about man. Like Terry Appel, a bricky who became a pastor at CLC Darlinghurst and operates on the Northern Beaches as a pastor. Terry Appel started ministry as a head deacon at CLC Darlinghurst.

Terry Appel was a kind of spiritual bouncer meets servant of God. Solid and strong but big-hearted behind that rugged exterior and gingery beard.

Similarly Jeff Beacham had a bit of a Sylvester Stallone edge but again he was good-hearted and well-intended.

After his formation of his End-Time ministry, the prophecies hadn’t come to pass as quickly as Jeff had thought, so he decided to focus on the Holy Spirit.

Jeff hooked up with John and Carol Arnott, who were having success in Toronto, Canada and he brought their “Catch the Fire” ministry to CLC at Waterloo, its current location. Its now called Hillsong City Campus.

Jeff Beacham

Jeff Beacham was an astute businessman, but Pastor Frank Houston, that old fox, was far craftier

Jeff Beacham was an astute businessman, but Pastor Frank Houston, that old fox, was far craftier. Jeff was born in the late 1940s but old Frank had been around 28 years longer.

Jeff Beacham had a large family to feed. Five kids. He was serving God, and Jeff is a very genuine guy, but a man’s got to provide for his family.

Jeff told me the following story in about 1998, before the Frank Houston pedophile scandal hit the fan. At the time of the story, Frank was still the great man of God. Highly respected and almost revered.

Jeff had been ripped off by that cunning old fox Frank Houston the first time he brought Catch the Fire to Australia. Jeff’s Ministry was independently incorporated to CLC Waterloo with no legal ties or obligations to CLC. But Jeff made the mistake of not setting up a bank account separate from the treasury of CLC.

The first Catch the Fire made a healthy profit and the profit was, by verbal agreement with Frank, supposed to go to Jeff’s ministry. But CLC were a bit short of cash as always, and Frank took the profit.

Undeterred, Jeff forgave old Frank and decided to stage a second Catch the Fire. This time, remembering his first experience with Frank, he got Frank to sign a contract with the profits going to Jeff’s ministry coffers.

The 2nd Catch the Fire was an even bigger success. It made a profit of $150,000, which was a decent sum in the late 1990s. Still is today.

Cunning old Frank eyed the profit and took it into the CLC coffers. Jeff was very upset about this and shirt-fronted Frank.

Old Frank said to Jeff, “Sorry, we need the cash”.

Jeff replied, “But Frank, you signed a contract”.

To this Frank retorted, “It doesn’t matter. If you don’t like it, sue me then”.

Jeff, who greatly respected Frank, although this respect was being severely tested, decided to forgive him, give it to God and move on. There was nothing that he could do about it.

Frank Houston

Frank Houston at early Hillsong in Darlinghurst, Sydney in 1980

Frank Houston was a crook of the highest order

Frank was a crook of the highest order. This was soon to be revealed when his secret homosexuality and pedophilia was exposed in 1999.

It’s taken another twenty years for everything about Frank Houston and Brian Houston to be exposed to the whole world.

Jeff Beacham with second wife Melva

Jeff with his second wife Melva.

Jeff Beacham died from throat cancer in 2013

Jeff Beacham died from throat cancer in 2013. He’d been a heavy smoker in the 1960s to 1970s when he was a rock musician in New Zealand.