Justin Bieber sent Australian media and social media into overdrive on Monday as news spread that he and longtime friend Hailey Baldwin had arrived in Sydney to attend the five-day Hillsong church conference at the Allphones Arena. It begins today and ends July 3.
As befits a superstar, the 21-year-old flew to Australia’s capital in a private jet. Shots of the singer disembarking at Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport raced across social media as news outlets and fans tracked the heartthrob’s landing.
Photos of Justin Bieber arriving in Sydney, Australia. (June 29) pic.twitter.com/uYI5HlKpCg
— JustinBieberCrew.com (@JBCrewdotcom) June 28, 2015
— Australia Trends (@trendinaliaAU) June 28, 2015
“Justin is in Australia” “Justin is in Sydney” “He’s staying a few days” pic.twitter.com/etNrgpDJn0
— kidrauhl. (@bieberft9viners) June 28, 2015
Hailey arrived in Sydney on a commercial flight after flying out from the U.S. on Sunday. She is expected to attend the conference, along with thousands of Hillsong delegates from around the world.
Amid rumors, the Topshop model previously told E! News last December that she and the Biebs were not dating and have friends since childhood.
“I’ve known him since I was so young — since I was like 13 — and we’ve just been good friends over the years. We have just stayed close and there’s nothing more to it than that,” Baldwin told E!
Headed to Sydney tonight! Really excited for this coming week.
— Hailey Baldwin (@haileybaldwin) June 27, 2015
Honestly shocked I endured that flight.
— Hailey Baldwin (@haileybaldwin) June 28, 2015
The 18-year-old daughter of Hollywood actor Stephen Baldwin would make further denials in 2015 in response to fabricated gossip outlet claims that she is involved in a romantic or sexual relationship with Bieber.
Just a few weeks ago, Hailey took to Twitter to respond to a fan who attacked her after the model went on a church-related trip to Miami with Bieber in May. Baldwin later deleted her biting reply to the troll.
Minutes later, the blonde also fired back at dating talk by tweeting — then deleting — this message. “I’m single. So everyone just quit while you’re ahead with the assumptions.”
A Hillsong spokesperson confirmed to enquiring media outlets that Bieber is in Sydney for the church conference.
The Herald Sun reports the spokesperson told the outlet that, “People come from across the world to Sydney each year to attend Hillsong Conference.”
“Justin is here — like tens of thousands of others — as a delegate who is seeking to build stronger foundations into his life,” the statement continued.
The spokesperson added, “He is not participating in the conference in any other capacity. Out of respect for his privacy we will not be making further comments. The purpose of the conference is to honour God, and our hope for all attending is that their lives are enriched.”
Justin and Hailey are often seen attending the Los Angeles and New York City branches of Hillsong church.
Mutual pal and model, Kendall Jenner, has also been spotted at Hillsong.
Justin Bieber and Kendall Jenner at hillsong tonight pic.twitter.com/MxFHyLwMY3
— Josh (@Josh3Estrada7) November 10, 2014
The Biebs and Hailey are known to be good friends with Pastor Carl Lentz. The so-called “hipster pastor” co-founded the New York City location of Hillsong church with Pastor Joel Houston in 2010. Joel is the leader of the youth worship band Hillsong United, and the son of Brian and Bobbie Houston, who founded the original Hillsong in Australia in 1983. It now has satellite churches in 14 global cities.
Hillsong is known for concert-like services, real talk preaching, and what Mashable called a “come as you are” policy. The outlet notes accusations of alleged financial irregularities within Hillsong were previously denied by the founders.
In June 2014, TMZ reported that Bieber was baptised in a bathtub in May by Pastor Lentz, who has known the superstar since 2008. Bieber later revealed that he stayed at the home of Lentz from late November 2014, following his split with former girlfriend, Selena Gomez.
Bieber previously said Pastor Judah Smith of The City Church and Lentz helped him step out of his troubled 2013-2014 and reconnect with his Christian faith, which he was brought up in by his mother, Pattie Mallette.
On Friday, the “Where Are U Now” singer was seen leaving a nightclub in Hollywood with Pastor Houston and other friends. Bieber often posts links to Hillsong bands, psalms, and inspirational quotes and text at his social media accounts.
Alongside a pic taken with Lentz and Smith — both are in Sydney — Bieber wrote, “Back with the two best human beings on the planet they inspire me to be better, thank you for pouring your heart on me so I can continue to pour into others #ducklips.”
Meanwhile, Laura Lentz was spotted helping Hailey negotiate a gauntlet of screaming fans as they left their hotel.
An eyewitness posted this Instagram from the conference.
Australian press look to be staying on top of Bieber’s unforeseen Sydney visit and have been posting updates on social media in addition to reports.
— Australian Reporter (@TheAusReporter) June 29, 2015
— news.com.au (@newscomauHQ) June 29, 2015
— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) June 29, 2015
[Images via Instagram/Twitter]