Information that a Hillsong choir director (or former choir director) has come out as “gay” and is engaged to another member has raised debate to the church generally and has draw out a response from the leader of the international chain of churches.
Josh Canfield, a Broadway performer, told Playbill earlier this year that he had become engaged to his boyfriend, Reed Kelly. Both had been featured on the reality show “Survivor. He outlined that he is a choir director at Hillsong New York City and that he had admitted his homosexuality to his church.
“I became truthful with my church,” Canfield said. “I’m a part of Hillsong NYC. I’m one of their choir directors. I also sing on their worship team.”
But he stated that after coming out to his congregation, “nothing changed, they’ve been amazing as well. Nothing has changed there now that I’m completely out and with Reed. He sings in the choir as well.” Canfield explained.
Following the attention to the matter, Hillsong leader Brian Houston issued a statement about the situation, stating that both men are no longer in the choir. It is not clear as to whether the men voluntarily left or were ousted by leadership.
“I wish to correct reports that Hillsong church has ‘an openly gay couple directing a choir’ at our New York City campus,” Houston wrote. “Hillsong’s position on homosexuality and gay marriage has not changed and is consistent with Scripture. As I have stated previously, I believe the writings of Paul are clear on this subject.”
“Several months ago when one of our choir directors made an unexpected public statement regarding his engagement to a man who sometimes sang in the choir, it was a complete surprise to us as well,” he continued. “It is my understanding that they have not been involved in an active leadership or ministry role since.”
Houston added that although the information has come to light, “We still love them and acknowledge that they—like all of us—are on a journey, and our role as a church is to assist them on this journey with grace and compassion.”
He said in a separate blog post that although homosexuals are welcome to attend the services, they are not permitted to serve in leadership roles.
Compilation with additions from Christian News Network and Hillsong.com/media