City on a Hill church quietly edits ‘holocaust’ sermon

New Essendon FC AFL CEO Andrew Thorburn delivers a speech at a podium city on a hill
Image: NAB/YouTube

The City on a Hill church this week quietly edited one of the sermons at the centre of the Andrew Thorburn media storm. Thorburn resigned as CEO of the Essendon Football Club one day after the announcement of his appointment.

Thorburn came under fire for his role as chair of City on a Hill. The City on a Hill movement comprises eight churches across eastern Australia.

The church’s website hosts articles condemning homosexuality, ‘transgenderism’, and abortion.

Critics argued Thorburn’s leadership at the church made him unsuitable for the role of Essendon CEO. The football club’s code of conduct directly contradicts the ethos of the conservative church he leads.

Members will “refrain from engaging in or endorsing any form of threatening conduct, or vilification or abuse on the basis of race, gender, religion, disability or sexuality.”

After news of his resignation became public, Andrew Thorburn claimed intolerance of Christianity cost him his job.

Personal Christian faith not tolerated or permitted

“Today it became clear to me that my personal Christian faith is not tolerated or permitted in the public square, at least by some and perhaps by many…

“Despite my own leadership record, within hours of my appointment being announced, the media and leaders of our community had spoken. They made it clear that my Christian faith and my association with a Church are unacceptable in our culture if you wish to hold a leadership position in society.

“This grieves me greatly – though not just for myself, but for our society overall. I believe we are poorer for the loss of our great freedoms of thought, conscience and belief that made for a truly diverse, just, and respectful community.”

However, Essendon apparently offered Thorburn a choice: boss of City on a Hill or boss of Essendon. He chose the church. Thornburn and others tried to paint the issue as one of religious freedom. But he is not simply a member of the church. He is the leader of a church that describes LGBTIQA+ people as sinful. And he wanted to stay in that job and lead an organisation which celebrates its queer supporters.

Edited holocaust sermon

Meanwhile, City on Hill quietly edited one of the most contentious statements on its website. It removed a sentence that compared abortion with the Nazi Holocaust.

“Whereas today we look back at concentration camps, future generations will look back with sadness at the legal murder of hundreds of thousands [sic] human beings every day through medicine in the name of freedom.”

Church founder Guy Mason now claims he used the wrong words when he previously described same-sex relationships as sinful.

The church also claims it will now update the website to address concerns about homophobia and abortion.

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Destiny Rogers

Destiny Rogers embarked on her career in the media industry immediately after high school, initially joining Mirror News, which later evolved into News Ltd. She fondly recalls editing Ian Byford's 'Passing Glances: A History of Gay Cairns' as one of her most fulfilling projects. Additionally, Destiny co-researched and co-wrote 'The Queen's Ball', chronicling the history of the world's longest-running continuous queer event. Her investigative work on the history of Australia's COON Cheese and Edward Coon culminated in the publication 'COON: More Holes than Swiss Cheese', a collaborative effort with Dr. Stephen Hagan. Destiny's journey at QNews began as a feature writer, and she was subsequently elevated to the role of Managing Editor of QNews Magazine in 2018. However, in July 2022, she decided to resign from this role to refocus on research and feature writing. For contact, please reach out at

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  1. Peter Turner
    10 October 2022

    FFS! I am so over Christians and other religions trying to use their beliefs to justify their bigoted discrimination against our community.
    Well, guess what! In Australia in 2022 my human rights are equal to theirs and I am claiming them back.
    By all means exercise your right to freedom of religion but don’t for one minute think you can use that religion to discriminate against our community or anyone else!

  2. Peter Turner
    10 October 2022

    Andrew Thorburn, as CEO of NAB, had no qualms about stealing $Millions fraudulently from his customers. He even charged some fees to customers who had died!

    To now claim the moral high ground and allege religious persecution is a bit rich.

    We should all be judged by our actions and his have been found wanting!

  3. Shan72
    18 March 2023

    I was after a local church, guess I’m not joining now

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