Pastors under the National Fellowship of Born Again Churches in northern Uganda have called for a restriction of crusades in Gulu town.
They say that most of the crusades hosted lately are targeted at extorting money from residents, promoting immorality, religious extremism and child trafficking instead of preaching the gospel. The churches are also facing accusations of fueling defilement and rape of young girls by ending crusades too late in the night without ensuring that there are major security arrangements on the ground.
Pastor James Ochan, the regional overseer of the National Fellowship of Born Again Churches says the crusades have turned into a business venture. He adds that it is wrong for Churches to keep collecting money from people seeking salvation in crusades.
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The pastors observed that greed has taken over the church turning the temple of God into a sanctuary of hopelessness. Pastor Ochan also castigated followers for allowing to be deceived saying they are ready to partner with government to eliminate false doctrines in Uganda.
Pastor Obonyo Ronnie, the deputy regional overseer says it is time for the unscrupulous churches to be exposed to rid the public of extortion. "We won't allow our churches to be turned into dens of robbery," he said. They resolved to have a collection of offertories restricted during crusades as well as access to Kaunda ground where most crusades are hosted regulated by Gulu Municipal council.
They also agreed that clear distinction is drawn between activities of churches engaged in charity and social services such as education and health from those of non-government organizations to prevent exploitation of communities.
The pastors raised the matters during a meeting with Gulu district Chairperson Martin Ojara Mapenduzi, this afternoon. Mapenduzi says they have received similar complaints from communities in the district implicating some churches of administering fake miracles.
He warned that the northern Uganda district will not hesitate to close down churches that are extorting money from their followers.
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Mapenduzi named New Jerusalem Ministries operated by the founding father of Holy Spirit Movement Severino Lukoya as one of the unscrupulous churches that need to be uprooted from the area. He implicates Full Harvest Ministry founded by Pastor John Alele of extorting up to One million Shilling for what they call a miracle handkerchief.
According to Mapenduzi, 54 children have been trafficked to unknown destinations purportedly for scholarships by an undisclosed church. In 2014, Police rescued 154 children trafficked from Gulu in Luzira where they were being subjected to hard labour.
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"The Catholic Church recently complained of their rosaries being burned. It is illegal for any church to consider the property of another church unholy," Mapenduzi told the Pastors.