Controversial church opens Help Centre in Woolwich Argos building

An evangelical church has opened a “Help Centre” on Powis Street in Woolwich.

The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God have applied to install signage on the building, and opened the site on 18th July.

UCKG have a history of controversy, and were involved in the Victoria Climbié case, with a UCKG Pastor stating she was possessed by an evil spirit before her murder.

In 2020 Angola banned the church accusing it of tax evasion.

The group begun in Brazil, where the Economist reported this month on its influence over right wing President Balsonaro and move into politics.

UCKG was founded by billionaire Edir Macedo Bezerra. He has been accused of opposing interracial marriage and sexism stating in 2019 that women should not be able to attend higher education.

Critics have accused it of pushing the prosperity gospel of many evangelical churches, with followers encouraged to donate 10 per cent of earnings.

Woolwich help centre

The centre appears to be on an upper floor of the building above now vacant retail space. The planning history of the site doesn’t show UCKG ever applying to operate on site under their own name.

Applications for various uses on floors above retail space have been made over the past decade.

Signage plan for building

Greenwich’s planning portal site history lists a 2013 refusal for use as religious space.

Then in 2015 a planning application for extending hours stated: “At present the operational hours of the property, which benefits from planning permission for ‘education and training’ use and ‘use of public worship/religious instruction and ancillary activities (Class D1)’”.

Greenwich’s planning portal does not show an application that was approved under the properties history.

Doing some digging to find out why, it appears they have listed approval in 2014 under a neighbouring building:

Two addresses

UCKG operate a number of “Help Centres” across the country in an ongoing expansion.

 

 

 

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15 thoughts on “Controversial church opens Help Centre in Woolwich Argos building

  • July 20, 2021 at 4:28 pm
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    The teachings of this Church are very worrying and in some cases inhuman. However they are as bad as some other faiths, etc operating in Greenwich. Is there a particular reason you are highlighting this sect or are you speaking out against all faiths that are discriminatory sexist and homophobic etc.
    Is there a personal reason for you singling out one sect/religion rather than condemning these discriminations across the board? It seems very strange.

    Reply
  • July 20, 2021 at 4:57 pm
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    If you spend 2 minutes searching you’d see other religious groups with controversial beliefs have been highlighted before.

    Any opening in such a prominent town centre spot would be covered I’d have thought. No one is being picked out and seems strange to make that point.

    Reply
  • July 20, 2021 at 6:24 pm
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    A clear and concise response. Thanks Bob, I think it was needed.

    Reply
  • July 20, 2021 at 11:40 pm
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    It’s worth reading the Wikipedia entry linked to above on this church: appalling and horrific …

    The Belgian government’s opinion sums it up very well:

    “In 1997 the Belgian Parliament Inquiry Committee on Cults[75] described the UCKG as a dangerous cult, and recommended its formal proscription. The report said that “[The church] claims that the Kingdom of God is down here [on Earth] and that it [the church] can offer a solution to every possible problem, depression, unemployment, family and financial problems. In fact, [the UCKG] is apparently a truly criminal association, whose only purpose is enrichment.”[76] The Belgian report generated controversy for varied reasons, and the Parliament ultimately rejected most of it.”

    As it’s run by a billionaire, though, they of course repeatedly get away with multiple counts of fraud, extortion, child abuse, abuse of adults, and money laundering. No doubt they’ll have no problem getting whatever planning approval they need also.

    Reply
  • July 20, 2021 at 11:49 pm
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    These kind of ‘churches’ are responsible many hate crimes in Greenwich. A number of people in my area have experienced this.

    Reply
  • July 22, 2021 at 5:58 am
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    Well said Bob.

    Also thank you to Ballard. You have raised some excellent points and concerns so thank you Ballard for bringing these to our attention.

    I understood Greenwich Council had said no more churches of this type will be allowed to open in the Borough after they refused a church openiing in Eltham a couple of years back. I wonder why they changed their mind? .This church should be closed down immediately and the Argos store replaced back to retail or other commercial space.

    We have already seen some Church pastors from other church organisations preaching that the Covid-19 virus is fake and selling fake Covid cures as reported in the media.

    However, the opening of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God will be extremely worrying for the residents of the Borough of Greenwich.

    Reply
  • July 22, 2021 at 9:54 pm
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    A clearly much needed addition to Woolwich which will undoubtedly fill a gap in the spiritual market place. Hopefully we will see the whole of Greenwich Council get behind this. With the council, like so many others, facing financial difficulties perhaps they could ask if the church is able to provide voluntary sector help with children?

    Reply
  • July 23, 2021 at 11:23 am
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    ” … perhaps they could ask if the church is able to provide voluntary sector help with children?”

    Satire?

    Reply
  • July 23, 2021 at 11:35 am
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    “The UCKG has several “HelpCentres” in England, where it is registered as a charity with an annual income of £15m, and a small presence in the Republic of Ireland, however it has no permanent base in Northern Ireland.

    It isn’t just financial or advertising standards issues the UCKG has found itself embroiled in over the years, however.

    Back in 2000, the church was linked to the death of 8-year-old Victoria Climbie in London, in what is still regarded as one of the UK’s worst abuse cases.”

    “In December last year, Portugal’s Attorney General’s Office opened an inquiry into the alleged illegal adoption of babies arranged by a centre run by the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God.

    A seven-month inquiry by a Portuguese TV station alleged that at least ten Portuguese children were stolen from their biological mothers in the 1990s from a reception centre in Lisbon that was funded by UCKG.

    Allegedly, the babies were taken from Portugal and adopted by couples based overseas.”

    – Belfast Telegraph, April 25 2018.

    Reply
  • July 23, 2021 at 12:37 pm
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    Fascinating video of a speaker at the CRL Rights Commission, South Africa here, explaining the brain-washing process employed by this church.

    Reply

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