Christ Embassy Sydney, the church fined a total of $35,000 for breaching lockdown orders last night, is a branch of a Nigerian mega-church.
Global cities across the world have branches of majority world churches generally made up of emigre refugee and migrant groups.
Christ Embassy is headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria and was founded in 1987 by Pastor Chris Oyakhilome. It is a Pentecostal church (teaching a second blessing and healings) with premillennial beliefs. It is sometimes known as LoveWorld Incorporated.
Oyakhilome also founded the first African-based Christian TV network aimed at a global audience and has run large-scale gatherings, one claims an audience of 3.5 million. Loveworld USA has announced they are launching a TV channel in association with Benny Hinn.
His personal wealth was estimated at US$50 million, placing him at number 5 in a list of the world’s richest pastors. (Kenneth Copeland at US$300m is at the top, Oyakhilome is only Nigeria second wealthiest pastor ranking behind David Oyedepo who is at number two with US$150 million.
The Sydney church which meets in a small industrial unit in Blacktown is a small branch of this global ministry.
“Halfway through the 90-minute service, Christ Embassy Sydney pastor Marvin Osaghae said, ‘We declare the lockdowns are over … in the name of Jesus … lockdowns are over in the cities of NSW.’ The Australian reports.
“Before that claim, Mr Osaghae also said: ‘Businesses are returning to normal, every park is coming back alive, the streets are coming back alive … in the name of Jesus, we refuse every lockdown.’”
Perhaps ironically the Christ embassy Sydney website says “Our vision is to take God’s divine presence into every man’s world through the social media platforms. The idea behind what we do online was to help God’s people to use their tongue right.” It might have been better to use this strategy.
The NSW police report that “Just before 7.30 pm (Sunday 22 August 2021), officers from Blacktown Police Area Command attended a premises on Fourth Avenue, Blacktown, after Crime Stopper reports of a gathering in breach of the Public Health Orders.
“Police arrived and located a group of approximately 60 adults and children inside the building, participating in a sermon.
“Additional police attended to assist and the details of those at the location were obtained, before the group were dispersed and directed to return home.
Further inquiries revealed there was no QR code present at the entry to the building and those in attendance were from various other LGAs including Canterbury-Bankstown, Fairfield and Liverpool.
Thirty adults were issued $1000 Penalty Infringement Notices for fail to comply with noticed direction re s7/8/9 – COVID-19.
“The organisation has been issued a $5000 PIN for fail to comply with noticed direction – Corporation”
Christ Embassy also has a meeting place in Dandenong, Victoria, and also lists cell meetings in Adelaide.