Ver Angola

Society

Angolan Bishops of the UCKG take over temples and take management away from Brazilians

A group of Angolan pastors from the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG) took over the direction of several temples this Monday, including 30 in Luanda, rejecting "any kind of negotiation" with the Brazilian wing, one of the dissidents told Lusa.

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According to Pastor Silva Matias, in November 2018 several crimes committed by about 200 Brazilian bishops and pastors in Angola against Angolans and the Angolan government were denounced, culminating in this Monday's decision.

Silva Matias stressed that although an investigation process was underway this decision had to be taken because it was found that Brazilian management practices had not changed and had been getting worse.

"And as we know that the church in the management of Brazilians works a lot with active and passive corruption, we have felt that there is a slowness in the process", stressed Matias.

The pastor stressed that "there is a very big internal conflict at Universal", so the decision was taken to "show that the institution, in the management of Brazilians, has no conditions to move forward".

"That is why today we have taken the decision to break with the Brazilian wing, not least because countless crimes committed by the Brazilian management have been verified and we can no longer live with these crimes," he said.

Regarding the current situation of Brazilian shepherds, Silva Matias said they are in Luanda in a condominium "built by Angolans, but where only Brazilians live".

"They are there, but there are no longer forms of coexistence, good relations, between the two wards, Angolan and Brazilian, because the crimes that the Brazilians have been committing, attack the dignity not only of Angolan citizens but of the government," he said.

Currency evasion, money laundering and racism are some of the practices accused of by Brazilian bishops and pastors.

According to Silva Matias, this Monday was taken the direction of churches in almost the whole country, and in Luanda, about 30 cathedrals are now run by Angolans, especially the one located in Morro Bento, which will become "the headquarters of reform of pastors of the UCKG in Angola.

Asked if there was any attempt to contact the Brazilian bishop in Angola, Honorilton Gonçalves, the Angolan shepherd replied that he refuses to dialogue with the national side.

"How are we going to maintain a negotiation with a bishop who is prejudiced, racist, says that he would rather die than see the church under Angolan management, being in our country, a bishop who treats pastors with disrespect, an arrogant man, a man who works through corruption. We have tried, but he has always denied himself," he said.

To the question whether there was any contact with the church in Brazil, Silva Matias answered no, because "the problem begins there in Brazil", besides that the UCKG is an Angolan law.

"We want a reformed Universal, without distortion, mistreatment, public humiliation, castration of pastors. We want a reformed church with principles based on the word of God," he said.

The controversy dates back to 2019, when a group of about 300 Angolan UCKG bishops announced their departure from the Brazilian leadership and Bishop Edir Macedo for practices contrary to the Angolan reality and currency diversion.

In a statement signed by 330 Angolan bishops and pastors, practices contrary to "the African and Angolan reality" were denounced, such as vasectomy, which has been imposed on pastors by Edir Macedo, currency evasion and the sale of more than half of the assets of the UCKG Angola "without prior consultation".

At the time, the management of the UCKG reacted through its Facebook social network page, in a statement signed by António Pedro Correia da Silva, repudiating the "defamatory and lying network" set up by "former shepherds disconnected from the institution due to moral deviance and even criminal conduct" whose aim was "to have their greed satiated.

In December 2019, the Attorney General's Office opened two criminal proceedings against the UCKG, based on denunciations made by Angolan pastors.

The UCKG, founded by Edir Macedo in 1977, has accumulated controversy all over the world, including involvement in an alleged illegal adoption network in Portugal, and in other Portuguese-speaking countries, such as São Tomé and Príncipe, where the faithful rebelled against the arrest of a San Tomean shepherd in a protest where a young man was killed.

The religious organisation has already been in the sights of justice in several countries, besides Brazil, where Edir Macedo, who built a real business empire and was even considered one of the richest evangelical pastors in the country, was arrested in 1992 on charges of charlatanism and swindling, which were later annulled.