When Scharold and Yan first realized they had feelings for one another, they confessed to their pastor, Vito Aiuto, in tears. They hoped their church would create space for them to explore these questions while serving as members — Resurrection Williamsburg, though conservative, had been profiled as a “hipster church” that attracted tattoo-wearing, artistic millennials. But when they tried to dialogue with Aiuto, Scharold recalls the pastor accusing her of being “disqualified” from interpreting Scripture because she “had an agenda.” Of all his reactions, Scharold said over email, this comment stung the most.
The ubiquitous praise song “Shout to the Lord” can be found in many churches across the U.S. on any given Sunday. What fewer people realize is that it comes from a church in the outskirts of Sydney, with a Hillsong brand that is spreading across the globe.
Hillsong Church has combined Christian rock, charismatic energy, and Australian accents to create a winning combination in major cities across the globe. On Sunday at their main campus just outside of Sydney, children and adults swarmed a petting zoo for children and coffee stations outside the glass entrance as volunteers gave out balloons celebrating the 30th anniversary of one of the most globally influential churches.