Church looks for new flock

The Waltham Forest Guardian/February 23, 2003

Followers of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God have been trying to recruit new members in Walthamstow.

Several church group members were handing out leaflets in Walthamstow over the weekend, offering to "break curses" through the power of prayer.

The church group, which owns the multi-million dollar EMD Cinema, in Hoe Street, Walthamstow, have been making their presence felt in the town, despite being refused planning permission last year to turn the former cinema into a church.

The blow has failed to put a stop to the church's activities in Walthamstow. Last year, members in luminous Help Centre vests crowded shoppers in the High Street, asking for donations to the church, which raises billions of pounds worldwide.

A member of staff from the Guardian was approached around six times by different church members while walking through Walthamstow on Saturday.

He was offered a leaflet which declares that curses can be broken through prayer and fasting, with support sessions at the UCKG's base at the Rainbow Theatre in Finsbury Park.

The leaflet states: "This breaking curses method has been used for many years and has proved to be highly successful especially in the lives of those who have tried every other method and failed."

Those troubled by curses are then asked to tick boxes of the problems they would like to see an end to. Problems listed include jinx, white magic, spells, omens, charm, love potions and financial bad luck.

There is also a testimony by a woman named Julie Tedeschi, who is quoted as saying: "For many years I suffered nightly as a spirit tormented me. It would strap me down against the bed, holding my arms and legs so that I couldn't move.

"The psychiatrist said that it was just a sub-conscious feeling of falling asleep. If this was true, then how could the black and blue marks that I awake with be explained? I was invited to the UCKG Help Centre to break the curse in my life.

"The peace I immediately felt was astonishing and the strong prayer worked. I am now able to sleep very well during the night."

The church is currently at the centre of a year-long investigation by the Charity Commission, over child protection issues and money distribution. The commission's results are due to be published shortly.

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