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Who we are

A Brief

Church History

New Zion Christian Fellowship, a multi-cultural, charismatic congregation, was begun in 1984 by Hilton and Rhoda Toohey in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. They began planting churches from this base in the early 1990s and eventually shifted to Cape Town to plant a church there in 1998. New Zion Ministries International (NZMI) was formalized and launched in 1998 – a network of likeminded churches existing to fulfill the Great Commission through global church planting.

We are currently thoroughly reviewing NZMI for the sake of greater cohesion, stronger congregational support and more effective fulfillment of our God-given mandate. We have 15 NZMI congregations across 4 of South Africa’s provinces and very strong ministry friendships in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Swaziland.







Him we proclaim, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man mature in Christ.

Colossians 1:28 (NSV)


Our Church



To be Christ-centered – in our preaching, policies and practice.


We believe in a strong culture of love and honor – deeply respecting our seniors, loving our peers, treasuring our juniors, seeking the lost – accountable, relational, quick to apologize and reconcile.


To build our ministries on a strong home-base (with family values very evident in our homes as well as in our churches).


We believe that we are called to evangelize, by sharing the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ, and that the best means of doing evangelism is through planting new churches.


We are convinced that the best way to plant and nurture churches and their pastors is through building a unified, cohesive network of churches.


We are passionate about the leadership and work of the Holy Spirit in our midst, the manifestation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the need for His church to be revived, so as to operate in the fullness of the Holy Spirit.


We are intent on every one of our congregations developing sound, excellent Equipping Systems to take every incoming person through a thorough discipleship track, all the way from salvation to being released into pastoral ministry.


We believe that old churches get rejuvenated and newer churches do much better when they are actively engaged in preparing and sending church planters.


We are determined to avoid irrelevance and stagnation by directing most of our focus on reaching, empowering and releasing the young, as in under 35s.


We are deeply committed to building belonging, fellowshipping together regularly in our regions and nationally at least once a year at our National Conventions, where we reaffirm our deep commitment to each other.


That the pastors powerfully get behind the vision and the ministry of our presiding apostle to give our network great impetus and momentum (through financial contributions, moral support and owning the vision).


That we give steadfast support, deep gratitude, unstinting honor, consistent loyalty to our leaders in general, particularly to our most senior leaders, and to the vision and passions of our founders.

Who we are

Meet Our



They were born again in the great Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement of the 1970s. By 1980 they had given up their dream house and left all to serve God in a Roman Catholic Community. In 1984, because of their decision to be baptized by immersion, they had to leave Catholicism and that is when they began New Zion Christian Fellowship in the home of Chester and Rose Rawlins, Zeederburg Str, Pietermaritzburg. After that church was well-established they left it to their children Russell and Nina Toohey in 1998, and moved on to plant to Lansdowne, Cape Town. In that same year they began the apostolic network, New Zion Ministries International, to support the growing number of church plants and the independent pastors wanting to be ‘fathered’ by apostle Hilton. Since then the Tooheys have spent a large part of their time traveling to the various relating churches nationally and internationally to teach, encourage and to impart prophetically. Apostle Hilton and Rhoda carry a distinct mantle for supernatural impartation, prophetic ministry, apostolic release and revelatory preaching. Despite being in their late 70s the Toohey’s continue to pastor actively and energetically in the local church, at a pace that few young ministers can match.


Russell and Nina Toohey, both ex-teachers, led Breakthru Church International – Pietermaritzburg, from 1998, when they took over from his dad, the founder, to 2015. Russell and Nina give oversight to a number of churches. The Tooheys have three daughters, Eden, Jordyn and Bethany that work closely with them to form a powerful ministry team.

The family moved to Cape Town from January 2016 to assist Apostle Hilton Toohey lead his local church in Lansdowne, and the network of churches, New Zion Ministries International.


Pastor Meryl has been part of New Zion from the very beginning. Ps Sherwin came on staff in 1996 as the first Full Time Youth Pastor of New Zion, Pietermaritzburg. Since then they have continued to serve with distinction decade after decade, whether they were rescuing an ailing church plant in Pretoria, or returning to take the helm in Pietermaritzburg, after 14 years away. No wonder they are part of New Zion’s Apostolic Team. The Haines’ carry a great leadership gifting, a passion for evangelism and missions, amazing servanthood and they are brilliant at developing children and youth to become well-rounded humans and kingdom assets.  They have one son Kyle, a daughter in law Bianca, and one granddaughter.

Their church, Breakthru/New Zion, Pietermaritzburg, is a multi-cultural congregation located in Pietermaritzburg’s inner city, that is passionate about leadership development (through Home Cell Group emphasis) and about global impact through church planting and missions