After selling their $4.5 million home in Australia amid a year of resignations and court appearances, Hillsong Church founding pastors Brian and his wife Bobbie Houston are hosting an online sale of their “pre-loved” designer clothes, furniture, and other home goods.
Bobbie announced the sale on her Instagram page on Jan. 25, though the account has periodically listed items for sale since July. The Houstons listed their home for sale in September.
“IT’S NO SECRET THAT WE’VE SOLD OUR HOME,” she wrote. “We have gifted & donated things our entire lives, and will continue to do so – a good friend will help get some of these items to college students & local charity drop offs – but right now we are selling in order to move things properly and efficiently.”
The post directs followers to ClosetBabyCloset, an Instagram account that as of Jan. 31 exclusively posts Bobbie’s used designer clothes and furniture, like an ivory “Trelise Cooper Blazer” with beaded sleeves that retails for $879 and is listed on the account for $400.
“Needs a wee steam,” Bobbie wrote about the blazer in the comments. “Purchased it myself for a College Graduation . . . Hope whoever gets it enjoys it.”
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The Houstons and Hillsong have come under fire for fostering a culture where pastors lived lavishly on congregants’ tithe money. The listings at ClosetBabyCloset reveal the type of lifestyle the Houstons enjoyed.
Other items include gold BCBG stiletto boots for $255 (retail for $505), a Grayse black shirt with the tags attached for $395 (retail for $795), and an Isaia pinned stripe suit for $700 (retails $5,000-7,000).
The Houstons have also listed marble décor balls with a bowl for $200 (retail for $350), a linen grey couch for $2,200 (retails $5,000+), a circular wooden coffee table for $2,000, and more.
Brian Houston temporarily stepped down from his role as the megachurch’s global senior pastor in January 2022, when Australian police charged him with covering up child sex offenses committed by his preacher father Frank Houston. Brian co-founded Hillsong with Bobbie in Australia in 1983.
In March, Brian resigned as global senior pastor of Hillsong Church after two women alleged he had acted in a sexually inappropriate manner with them within the past decade. Bobbie reportedly stepped down from her role as co-pastor in April.
In 2013, Brian Houston exchanged an inappropriate text message with a female staff member, causing her to resign shortly after. The church network confirmed that during an annual church conference in 2019, Houston had entered the hotel room of one of the victims for 40 minutes while under the influence of prescription anxiety drugs and alcohol.
According to Phil Dooley, Hillsong’s interim global senior pastor, Houston does not recall having sex with the woman in the hotel, and the woman also has not said if any sexual activity occurred.
Houston insisted in a video posted online in November that he resigned not because of misconduct but “because of the announcements and statements that had been made, which Bobbie and I felt made my position untenable.”
After many delays, Brian Houston’s criminal trial began in Sydney in December 2022. The court is seeking to prove that from 1994 to 2004, Houston intentionally covered up his father’s sexual abuse of a child and only offered information to police after his father died in 2004.
A government inquiry found that Houston became aware in 1999 of allegations that his father Frank sexually abused a boy over several years in the 1970s. Brian allowed his father to retire quietly rather than report him to police. Frank founded Sydney Christian Life Centre, which merged to become Hillsong Church under Brian’s leadership.
Houston has pleaded not guilty to the charge of concealing the serious indictable offense of another person. If convicted, he would face up to five years in prison. His defense rests on whether Brian had a “reasonable excuse” not to report his father’s crime because the abuse survivor did not want to report the crime to police.
In most Australian jurisdictions, legislation requires people in designated occupations including clergy to report known or suspected cases of child sexual abuse to government officials.
Meagan Saliashvili is an award-winning freelance religion reporter based in New York. Her bylines have appeared in Religion News Service, Christianity Today, Religion Unplugged, Newsweek, Dallas Morning News, and more. Follow her at @Meagan_Salia.
5 thoughts on “Ousted Hillsong Church Founders Brian and Bobbie Houston Are Selling Their Designer Clothes, Furniture”
I notice they don’t go after the Roman Catholic church on this website. Pope Francis just said homosexuality isn’t a crime last week and no one here wrote about it. That makes me wonder if you all are a bunch of Jesuits going after protestants.
I’ve made it clear that our focus is the Protestant church, not Catholic Church. There are plenty of journalists covering abuse and corruption in Catholicism and very few covering the same in evangelical or Protestant churches.
Will there be a forthcoming story on the recent Andy Stanley controversy?
I recognize this may be being researched and reported on now and not quite ready for publication. Thanks!
There’s also the nuance about secular criminal law vs God’s sin code… (or even man’s imperfect interpretation of God’s sin code) I assume Pope Francis has a better handle on that than a lot of american conservative protestants… In fact there’s a bunch of things most american protestants don’t say anything about (anymore) that Scripture does in fact say or suggest are sins, but are perfectly legal in this USA… therefore it takes some arrogant chutzpah to always harp on other branches of the Christian tree supposed failures in this arena…
Btw, I’m happy with our protestant power to dictate in such matters, being diminished and curtailed because the alternative would be a massive food fight over which protestant group (possibly reminiscent of the European religious wars of yore) gets to decide what should be “criminal” based on their particular, human (therefore flawed) interpretation of God’s sin code…
I don’t know whether it’s more offensive to me that these guys had this many designer clothes that they don’t need, or that when they’re selling them, the clothes look like a hobo slept in them. I’m no opponent of nice clothes, but there is something really obnoxious about buying them in excess and not taking care of them.
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