Universal Church of the Kingdom of God
The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG) (Portuguese: Igreja Universal do Reino de Deus, IURD) is an Evangelical, non-denominational church with its headquarters at the Temple of Solomon in São Paulo, Brazil. According to UCKG-owned RecordTV, in 2019 the church had more than 7,000 temples in 128 countries. Regardless of location, UCKG temples offer the same spiritual experiences aimed at overcoming common human deprivations: “lack or prosperity, lack of (mental) health, family and marriage problems, vices and insanity.” The church was founded on July 9, 1977 in Rio de Janeiro by bishop Edir Macedo, owner of the multi-billion television company RecordTV.
In 1999, it claimed to have 8 million members in Brazil and was already considered a "commercial church" and had established temples in the United Kingdom and, since 1992, in Africa and India, claiming a total of more than 12 million members worldwide that year. By 2013, the church had congregations in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, and—according to the website of the Universal Church in the United States—now has more than 300 congregations in 33 U.S. states. The church openly supports Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro.
In 2017, the church was accused of adopting children in Portugal and taking them abroad illegally. It has also been accused of Cult-like illegal activities and corruption, including money laundering, charlatanism, and witchcraft, as well as intolerance towards other religions. It has been subject to bans in several African countries. A London UCKG pastor in 2000 arranged a service to cast out the devil when his help was sought for an ill and badly injured child whose guardians thought she was possessed; she died and her guardians were convicted of murder. There have been accusations that the church extracts money from poor members for the benefit of its leaders.