ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact

There is palpable disappointment this afternoon across the world after black smoke emerged from the Hillsong Church chimney in Baulkham Hills, signifying that the church council hasn’t elected a new leader.

Acrid black smoke billowed from the chimney just after lunch, which is created allegedly when the council burns evidence documents in the fireplace, as per the popular theory. It also lets the church’s 50-odd thousand followers in Australia know that further deliberation is required.

Brian Houston, the church’s current chief, is stepping down from the position to fight charges stemming from allegedly concealing sexual abuse of a child by his father, Frank, of which he became aware in the 1990s.

The last time white smoke billowed from the chimney was when Brian was elected as the Church Group CEO not long after Frank’s death in 2004.

The odds on favourite to win the race this time is the Grand Elder of the South African Hillsong, Phil Dooley.

Whoever becomes the new leader of the mega-church, they will have their work cut out for them.

The church generates nearly $90 million in revenue each year and has branches all over the world. They’re hoping the new leader can usher in a new era of stability after years of constant controversy and sandal. Mostly surround Brian Houston and his many trespasses against himself and other people.

More to come.


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