A year after her father stepped down as global senior pastor, Hillsong Church founder Brian Houston’s daughter, Laura Toganivalu, and her husband, Peter, announced that they, too, have officially stepped down as global pastors of the denomination’s youth ministry, Hillsong Young & Free.
Hillsong Church’s new Global Senior Pastor Phil Dooley made the announcement on Sunday that the couple, who are also known as Laura and Peter Toggs, were “moving on” and invited them on stage to formally bid the church farewell.
On Tuesday, both Laura Toggs and her husband shared a clip of their parting statements to the church on Instagram. Both thanked Dooley and his wife, Lucinda, for allowing them the opportunity to address the church before they left, a courtesy Brian Houston was not allowed when he stepped down in disgrace.
“Thank u Ps Phil & Luc for creating a moment in the service as we step into a new chapter. It gave us the chance to share our hearts with our church of 30/36 years & it meant a lot to be prayed for alongside our kids in the place we have both grown up in,” Laura Toggs wrote on Instagram.
“Both of us have been in our church for as long as we can remember & our affection remains for the people, places & experiences that have made an indelible mark upon our hearts. We will forever be grateful & will always call the people that we’ve shared so much life & ministry with ‘family.’ Thank u @hillsong church.”
In his parting words to the congregation, Peter Toggs said he and his wife are moving on to a new season and compared it to the recent shift in the British monarchy with the coronation of King Charles III.
“Life is lived in seasons, you know. I mean last night, the coronation of a new king and a new season,” he said.
“I think life is lived in seasons, but life is also lived in tension because it’s the tension of letting go of so much that you love but also for Laura and I we are so full of anticipation and vision for the future,” he noted. He thanked the church and Brian and Bobbie Houston for laying the foundation that created the denomination.
In her remarks to the church, Laura Toggs explained that their decision as a couple to move on from the church her parents founded is about following God’s call on their life.
“All 36 years of my life have been spent in this house and I love you so deeply,” she said as she became emotional in her address to the congregation.
“We are moving into a new season that we never imagined but we are so excited,” she continued. “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.”