Pastor in sex-abuse furore surrenders credentials

By Chris Barton

Wayne Hughes, the Takapuna Assembly of God pastor at the centre of sexual abuse claims, has voluntarily surrendered his credentials as a minister and withdrawn from all ministry in the church.

In a statement released on Friday, Assemblies of God general superintendent Ken Harrison said: "The executive has concluded that to further pursue the matter is inadvisable as, amongst other things, the only sanction available in terms of the constitution and by-laws, is suspension of, or removal of credentials."

The Executive Presbytery, which is the Assembly of God movement's governing body, has been conducting an investigation into the matter since November. Mr Harrison said the investigation "has been considerably hampered by issues of legal and court privilege".

The abuse of a teenager occurred 20 years ago, but the victim has not complained to police. Both Mr Hughes and the victim have acknowledged some form of abuse occurred.

After a series of articles in the Herald, Mr Hughes opted for early retirement last month, citing personal reasons and concerns about how the publicity might affect the church.

The abuse was brought to the attention of the executive by a longtime member of the Takapuna church who, when he accidentally stumbled on the information, believed God was testing him.

"I've fulfilled my obligation to God by not sweeping it under the carpet," he told the Herald in March.

"God doesn't want this stuff going on in His church.

"He wants it exposed."

Another who tried to discuss the sexual abuse claims with pastors at the Takapuna church in September, but was asked to leave the premises, was Nasir Ali. Mr Ali was married in a Muslim ceremony in 1992 to Wayne Hughes' daughter, Angela.

"I rang him and told him, 'How could he stand there at church and preach to people when he had been guilty of that?' And that he had to resign - that it was just completely hypocritical."

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