The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG) has not abandoned its professed belief that children are possessed by demons, it would appear.
This is the church connected with the Victoria Climbie case. She is the little girl brutally murdered by Marie Therese Kouao, her great-aunt, and Carl Manning, Kauao’s boyfriend. Victoria had 128 injuries when she died, including cigarette burns and broken bones. Her great-aunt claimed that Victoria was possessed by evil spirits and the pastor of the UCKG church she attended, Alvaro Lima, did nothing to discourage her from this notion. Indeed, he seemed to go along with it. He was later to explain that the Bible says demonic possession happens and “We do not question the Bible”.
One would like to believe that the UCKG would be chastened by this experience and perhaps learn from it. Regretably, this does not appear to be the case. Take what happened during the Easter Sunday ritual at their Peckham centre, for example:
The pastor played a Beyonce video and started banging on about pop music and rap music being a vehicle for the Devil. This is nothing new, you might think, Black Sabbath faced these sort of accusations thirty years ago (although in their case the name did not help matters). What was new here was that the pastor had the children at the ritual convinced that they were possessed, to the extent that they started speaking in growly voices, saying that Satan could take the souls of those made angry by rap music. I can’t quite follow the logic here, perhaps someone could explain it to me. One girl told me that she was physically restrained while she was “possessed” and that when the pastor placed his hands on her to drive Satan out she immediately stopped struggling..
Assuming that all the children involved were not merely faking just to please the pastor, what was really going on here? It sounds to me like some form of hypnosis. I recall many years ago watching a stage hypnotist convince a number of people (including a friend of mine) that the water he was giving them by the tumblerful was in fact vodka. They all became appropriately drunk, staggering and slurring their words. When the hypnotist ended their trance, they immediately became sober.
From the description of the UCKG ritual, I suspect the pastor (maybe even unknowingly) put members of his congregation into some sort of hypnotic trance and when he told them they were possessed they began behaving like extras for an Omen remake.
I emailed the UCKG (without mentioning the name of my informant) to express my concerns. As yet, they have not bothered to reply.