The daughter and son-in-law of Hillsong’s founder, Brian Houston, have left their post as global pastors of the church’s youth ministry after over three decades as part of the congregation.
Laura Toganivalu, and her husband, Peter, also known as Laura and Peter Toggs, announced on Sunday after Philip Dooley and his wife Lucinda, the church’s global pastors, invited the couple to the pulpit to bid the church farewell formally.
“We just wanted to honour a couple moving on from roles in our church,” Phil Dooley said. “They’ve been just a blessing over so many years.”
The couple thanked the pastors for allowing them to address the church before they left, a chance that Brian Houston says he was denied when he resigned 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 began saying before thanking his parents-in-law for “laying the foundation” of the church.
“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.”
Dooley also thanked Brian and Bobbie, telling Laura: “Obviously your parents, Laura, have just been the reason why so many of us are here, and we are so grateful for them, and we just want to also honour them in this moment.”
Laura also spoke about her experiences growing up in the church and took to opportunity to emphasise that their decision to leave was not influenced by her parents’ recent departure but about following God’s call on their life.
“We are moving into a new season that we never imagined but we are so excited,” she said.
“This is about Pete and I stepping into our future and carving out a path that God has strategically called us to. We are so excited about that so thank you, keep us in your prayers. You will always be family to us,” she concluded.
Laura has previously voiced her support for her father after he faced several scandals, including allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards women, which led to his resignation.
Brian Houston is also facing a criminal case for allegedly concealing his father's child sexual abuse and is expected to appear in court during the summer.