Apr 5, 2021

A Different Disgraced Hillsong Pastor Has Planned His Next Move

Michael Guglielmucci, who admitted to faking a cancer diagnosis to distract from his porn addiction, says God has given him a new calling to help the people of Port Adelaide, Australia.

Vanity Fair: 
April 2, 2021

Over the past year, Hillsong Church has faced a number of major controversies that have shaken up both its ministry and celebrity parishioners. But now, a pastor involved in another of the church’s scandals from over a decade ago has announced he’s turning over a new leaf with a brand-new charity.

In 2008, former Hillsong pastor and band member Michael Guglielmucci admitted to faking a cancer diagnosis to distract from his addiction to pornography after an Adelaide newspaper revealed he’d been lying about the state of his health for years, according to the New York Post. During his tenure at the church, Guglielmucci was reportedly known for regularly performing his hit song “Healer” with an oxygen tube affixed to his nose, was reportedly believed to have received donations to help pay for his treatments. After the newspaper’s discovery, the pastor released a brief statement claiming his illnesses were real, but tied to an unholy lifestyle rather than cancer as he previously claimed. “As a result of this secret life of sin, my body would often breakdown,” he said. “I’d report the cause of my symptoms simply as illnesses and I’ve thrown my life into a ministry for many years trying to compensate for my sin…. Two years ago, I reported that I was suffering from cancer, the truth is that although I was ill I did not have cancer but was again using the misdiagnosis to hid the lie that I was living.” He ultimately admitted to being addicted to pornography for over 16 years and using the cancer hoax as a distraction.

Now, 13 years on, Guglielmucci and his wife, Amanda, who together go by “Team Gug,” per the Post, have found a new calling from God, registering their charity, Lighthouse City Mission Incorporated. According to the filing, the charity’s goal is to help financially disadvantaged people, people with chronic illness and disabilities, people suffering from unemployment, homelessness, and victims of crime, as well as the “general community in Australia.” The Lighthouse City Mission’s Instagram account bio further specifies, “Our mission is to provide food, clothing and a community of support for people who need it in the Port Adelaide area.”

It seems that this project has been at least a year in the making for Team Gug as, according to the New York Post, the pastor wrote in a September 11, 2020, post on his Instagram account, “Over the past 6 months God has given us an unshakable burden for the people of Port Adelaide. We believe that God is calling us to pioneer a raw, organic, missional, gospel centered faith community with a heart to serve our city and shine the light of Jesus in the darkest places!!”

He also told the Daily Telegraph that he doesn’t believe this charitable endeavor erases his prior mistakes, but he does deserve another chance, telling the paper, “We believe people are more than the mistakes they make…everyone is worthy of being loved and supported…. Thirteen years ago, after the reality of my brokenness was made public, our marriage went through a time of separation. I am so aware of the pain that my past decisions have caused others, and I will never run and hide from that.”

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