Capacity crowd at Ellis Park for UCKG's Good Friday service, prays for South Africa
The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG) once again hosted one of the largest Good Friday services in South Africa, filling the Ellis Park Stadium to capacity with overflow crowds in the adjacent precinct. Almost 90,000 Church members and their guests gathered for the annual event to have their lives restored through the resurrection of Jesus.
For the third year, President Jacob Zuma chose to attend the UCKG’s Good Friday service. President Zuma said: ”As children of God we are here to hear the Word of God and to remember the supreme sacrifice made on Good Friday for our sake. We come from a past which was not acceptable to all of us, but now we are a free country. It is right that we take time to hear God’s word today. I have come here for three years because this is where I feel at home. Here, I receive comfort, love and prayers and these give us hope in the tasks that we are given. Pray for us. Pray for our leaders, pray for the jobs, pray that crime goes away, pray for peace, and pray that the love of God is with us.” President Zuma asked people to remember those in hospital, those who are suffering and those who are facing difficult problems. He thanked the Bishop, Pastors and the Church leadership for having him with them at the service and for the work they are doing, saying: “you are the marshals of the congregation at large”.
Bishop Marcelo Pires, leader of the UCKG’s evangelical outreach in South Africa, addressed the gathering, encouraging those who are facing overwhelming challenges and sharing a secret of how to be successful. He said: “You feel afraid when you don’t have enough money for rent or food, and also when you do have money but it can’t solve your problems. Money can’t buy love or health. The solution to all problems lies in surrendering your life to God and making Him the first priority. The Biblical commandment is to serve the Lord your God, and Him alone. If you do this, no problem is insurmountable. But you have to put God first.”
Citing an example of Queen Elizabeth who said she would rather face an army, than a man of prayer, Bishop Marcelo said: “That is what we are at the Universal Church – people of prayer. As a Church, we are committed to praying for our country and we are launching a national prayer campaign which will be held every Friday from midnight. We will pray for South Africa and Africa and for all its leaders.”
Bishop Crivella, recently elected mayor of Rio de Janerio, attended the service as a member of the Church and said that the Universal Church has grown internationally during the last 40 years because God was always placed first. It is through His power that so many people have had their lives changed.
One of these people who put God first and saw complete transformation in their life is Siviwe “Chippa” Mpengesi who attended the service with Chippa United Football Club. He said: “My situation was worse than yours, but when I gave my life to God, I began to see positive changes. As an 18-year-old uneducated person with no hope and no future, I was living in a shack which was cold. It was horrible. With no qualifications, the only job I could get was as a security guard and to pass the time I began to read the Bible. In time, I came to the Universal Church and learned how to use my faith. God started to bless my life. Through hard work and determination, I am now a successful business man who has achieved what seemed impossible. You too can find a solution at the Universal Church.”
Blessed oil from Mount Sinai was distributed free of charge and everyone was invited to watch the daily television programmes, to anoint themselves with a drop of oil on their heads, and to pray every morning. Bishop Marcelo said: “As you pray, ask for wisdom and go to work blessed.”
Before the service, the Board of the Church made a statement clarifying its position as a religious organisation whose objective is to preach the Word of God, to stop suffering, and to save souls for eternal life. Anyone is welcome to attend a public event and to be blessed by the teaching and testimonies. The Church undertakes to follow the Biblical instruction to pray for its governing authorities because if the country’s leadership is blessed, the country and its people will be blessed.
For further information, please contact the church’s public relations department on 011 224 3447 or email@example.com