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