Laura and Peter Toggs, the daughter and son-in-law of Hillsong Church’s founder, Brian Houston, have left their posts as global pastors of the church’s youth ministry after over three decades as part of the congregation.
The announcement was made on Sunday when the couple was invited to the pulpit by Philip Dooley and his wife Lucinda, the church’s global pastors, to bid farewell to the congregation.
During the farewell, Phil Dooley spoke highly of the couple and acknowledged their contributions to the church over the years. “We just wanted to honour a couple moving on from roles in our church,” Dooley said. “They’ve been just a blessing over so many years.”
The couple expressed their gratitude towards the pastors for allowing them to address the church before their departure, which was an opportunity that Brian Houston claims he was not given when he stepped down from his role as global pastor.
“Thank you pastors Philip and Lucinda. We respect you guys, we love you guys and the fact that you would do this is an indication of your character, so thank you much,” Peter said.
“I just want to say thank you for allowing us to be part of your journey of faith…I want to say thank you to pastors Brian and Bobbie, our founding pastors, who have laid such great foundations for our church to build into the future. Thank you.”
The departure of Laura and Peter Toggs comes amid a period of upheaval for Hillsong, which has faced a number of scandals in recent years, including allegations of sexual abuse and financial impropriety.
Hillsong Church has a rich history that spans over four decades, beginning with its founding in Sydney, Australia in 1983 by Brian and Bobbie Houston. Originally called Hills Christian Life Centre, the church started as a small gathering in a school hall with just 45 members.
Under the leadership of the Houstons, the church grew rapidly, and by the early 1990s, it had established a significant presence in Sydney and beyond. In 1996, the church changed its name to Hillsong Church, reflecting its growing influence and reach.
One of the key factors in Hillsong’s success has been its music ministry, which began in the early days of the church with the release of its first album, “Spirit and Truth,” in 1988. Over the years, Hillsong’s music has become a major force in the Christian music world, with popular songs like “Shout to the Lord,” “Mighty to Save,” and “Cornerstone” achieving global success.