I was passing by the huge UCKG building on seven sisters rd and was wondering what was the use of it.
I checked online and found some infos, but because I pretty much never see anyone going in/out I was wondering if this was still active. Is this a real thing or some sort of suspicious association?
I think this building could be a great asset for the community. Some place to feature Art/dance/music/cinema show?
Anyone knows if there are some plan regarding this building for the future?


  • edited February 2017
    I am gutted this is no longer a music venue. Pretty much everybody played there...Bowie, Hendrix, Clapton, ...I went past yesterday and wished it were still The Rainbow!
  • Thanks @TheMimsy
    Well that's a shame...
    Is a church more profitable than a legendary music venue?
  • From the UCKG website:
    In 1996, the UCKG acquired the derelict Rainbow Theatre in Finsbury Park. Initially no heat or light was available in the building, but that did not deter the growing congregation from attending daily services. The UCKG then embarked on a major renovation programme and associated fund-raising to restore the Grade II* listed 1930s cinema to its former glory
  • I've been on a local history tour that included the old Rainbow. They seemed to have restored it to it's former glory - very impressive. Try google images of the Rainbow N4.

    And yes, there is plenty of money there, they practice a sort of titheing system with members and it's a massive international church.
  • Somebody (@Arkady?) insinuated that this church was corrupt, but I don't know on what evidence. I know someone from the Andover estate that pays a significant sum to the church they attend but I don't think it is this one.
  • I'd be very wary of the UCKG - they're a fairly worrisome group, with heavy political involvement in its native Brazil, some pretty extreme relationships with tithing and money (as previously mentioned in the thread) and the weird thing where they front their churches as "help centres" even though they're no such thing. I'm not anti-religious by any means but these people are a scary bunch.
  • Members were handing out a newspaper at the weekend on Holloway Road. The Church must have a lot of money...
  • It particularly annoys me that they have billboards presenting them as if they were some kind of drug rehabilitation centre.
  • UCKG built a replica of the Temple of Solomon in Sao Paulo, which cost somewhere around US$300 million. Because Jesus would have done that, obviously.

    They also featured in the Victoria Climbie torture/murder tragedy - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/1695601.stm - and are clearly pretty sensitive about it - https://www.uckg.org/newspaper-publishes-clarification-and-pays-costs-to-uckg-over-climbie/
  • no time for this culty bunch of rip-off artists at all...


    they have a large billboard, only visible from the treadmills at the Puregym across the road, that just says "WHAT ARE YOU RUNNING FROM?" in giant letters. for that, i have to applaud them.

    edited December 2020
    <edit - MOD>

    After this I started researching UCKG and wrote this article: https://londonhomelessinfo.wordpress.com/religious-cult-uckg
  • Apologies LHI but I worry a bit about litigation when people go quite as far as you did there, but if people want to read your thoughts on your blog then they're welcome to follow your link.
    edited December 2020
    Ok thanks, I’m just trying to raise awareness that UCKG “HelpCentre” in Finsbury Park are not a centre providing help but a dangerous religious cult preying on vulnerable adults and children.
  • Ooff! That blog article is a long read! But all churches are cynical cons aimed at getting something from the desperate and/or gullible: It’s just that some cults/churches (one of the glories of English; we have more than one word for the same thing!) are more flagrant or shameless in their activities than others. And all this fuss about the UCKG’s tithing? Christian churches have operated rackets such as tithing for centuries (to say nothing of selling “indulgences”.) Who can blame the UCKG for posing as a charitable organisation? It’s one of the marvels of our scientific and analytical age that we tolerate the need for charities in the first place.
    edited December 2020

    UCKG are brainwashing people on benefits and a low income to give them 10% of their income and everything they own, forcing them into debt.

    While collecting free food from the UCKG soup kitchen / food bank in Finsbury Park they repeatedly tried to manipulate me to go to their services. When I said I’m not religious, they said it’s not religion. When I said I was in pain from standing in the queue over half an hour, they said they can cure my (incurable) disabilities.

    You don’t see anything wrong with that?
  • Plenty wrong with that, @LHI, but why pick on ONLY UCKG? ALL churches are brainwashing organisations, blithely fleecing people by pushing product that doesn’t exist (or at least no one has ever shown to exist, which is as good as that for practical purposes), so I’d happily ban them all, or at the very least abolish the tax dodge of charitable status.
    edited December 2020
    Yeah, but I’ve never heard of any other church trying to manipulate people to that extent, claim they can cure my incurable disabilities if I go to their mass or service, ask for 10% of income and belongings, or give targets to recruit others every week, or harass people with constant phone calls if they miss even one Sunday service.That’s the difference between a religious cult and any other church.
  • When I moved back to London in my late teens I saw The Rainbow building as some sort of mythical place where Bowie and lots of 70s talent played. My dad when he was a bus conductor in the 60s would relate tales to me in the 80s of queues for the Beatles there. He was a bit of a fantasist so not sure if they played there. Then in the 90s it got taken over by some uniform evangelical cult who dressed in bow ties and white shirts. A cult as KRS said. Sad times that a venue that was so liberal got taken over by a some militant thought police.
  • @LHI, tithing is by definition rated at 10%, and according to Wikipedia, “Tithing remains an important doctrine in many Christian denominations, such as the Congregationalist Churches, Methodist Churches and Seventh-day Adventist Church.” The entry also states that tithing has a history in Judaic traditions too. I maintain there’s NO difference between a church and a cult; you seem to be balking merely at this particular cult/church’s audacity and lack of subtlety; they seem to have found their particular niche in the market and seem to be doing extremely well by it. I’ll bet the other cult/churches are terribly envious.
  • I'm with RHI on this. At this time of year they get their kids collecting money outside supermarkets in SG and Crouch End, and elsewhere that I haven't noticed I'm sure.

    They'll tell you it's for a youth club or something. A few years back I stood next to them in Crouch End shouting over their carol-singing and telling people not to give them money. Eventually the police arrived and told us all to leave. I think I dented their income that afternoon.

    A passer-by gave me his card and it turned out he was a researcher and had uncovered all sorts of unsavoury things about them.

    I totally agree with Scruffy that other churches hide this nonsense and have got better at being 'acceptable', and yes, although I'm not sure about banning, I'd certainly like to see the back of them all, but that doesn't mean I (or LHI) shouldn't pick on on particular local one that's particularly overtly exploitative.
  • Kreuzkav. A bit off subject but you mentioned the Beatles. They played their first London gig in Stroud Green Road in the theatre that used to be where the bowling alley is today
  • No, we can’t ban the buggers any more than we can ban (for instance) the Conservative Party that supports and condones an established cult/church in this country, a cult that automatically has 26 bishops and archbishops in the House of Lords. Take a shot at UCKG by all means, but the sense of outrage is a bit much if you consider the crimes of the long-established cults. (I didn’t expect the Spanish Inquisition!)
    edited December 2020
    The young people collecting for UCKG are from UCKG’s Victory Youth Group (VYG) for teenagers aged 14 up to 25. Each UCKG “HelpCentre” has a Victory Youth Group - in London in Finsbury Park, Hackney, Stamford Hill, Wood Green, Edmonton, Kilburn, Willesden, Hammersmith, Southall, Plaistow, Stratford, Brixton, Peckham, Tooting, Catford and Croydon. UCKG brainwashes them into getting money which is money laundered by UCKG leaders. UCKG gives them targets of how many people they have to recruit each week. UCKG have these youth groups in many countries, and from videos I’ve watched on YouTube by ex members they all operate the same way.
  • @kreuzkav, given that the Beatles had long since broken up by the 80s I suspect that the queues of people to watch them then were invented or confused!

    @Scruffy, I am not as anti-religion as you. I think that some religions actually do try and do some good for its own sake, whereas others are in it for self-enrichment and power - which is not to say that the two aren't often mixed in the same church: the question is to what degree. I have a friend who is becoming a COE vicar, who is a genuinely good person who wants to help others. I would contrast that with UCKG which seems to be in it more for enrichment.

    Tithing seems to be a tricky area all round. Certainly under Jewish law the poor are not required to tithe, and from what i can see of many Christian denominations, the poor are required to tithe only 10% of discretionary income if at all. Many seem to say that the poor should receive but not give tithes. I would say that one way of distinguishing between a body on the more cultish as opposed to worthy end of the spectrum would be the view on tithing - whether it is an absolute requirement or if understanding of an individual's circumstances affect the amount that can be tithed.
  • edited December 2020
    I appreciate your more nuanced, equivocal stance, @therattle (indeed, FEW people are as anti-religion as I am! Which bewilders me), but if your friend wants to do good (and accept that there are religious people who genuinely want to do good, relieve suffering, etc.), why needlessly conflate it with the garden path of religion?

    So UCKG squander tithes on themselves and advertising/propaganda, such as restoring the old Rainbow to its former glory? While a bishop or two used to profit personally from owning brothels, the main church in this country used tithes to build magnificent cathedrals (which were extremely costly—forget just restoring the Rainbow!—but in terms of propaganda seemed to be an excellent investment!)

    Still, I was veering off-topic; although I maintain all religions are cults, I take @LHI ’s point that the UCKG is very bad by current standards.
  • As a journalist I did a lot of work on cults, one in particular, and I'd say that while there's a spectrum - some groups are more 'cultish' than others - the word gets bandied inaccurately quite a lot. There are several characteristics that define a 'cult', that all true cults share, such as: a powerful authority figure at the top; a clearly defined heirarchy; secretiveness; psychological pressure to join and stay; extracting money from adherents; guilt-tripping; strategies to separate members from 'others', non-members, friends and even family; establishing dependence; a belief system (however bonkers); control; sometimes even threats.

    So you can define the Moonies or Scientology or even the Jehova's Witnesses as a cult, but though you might personally argue that the Church of England has some of these characteristics (hierarchy, belief system) it doesn't have all of them, and not to a great degree, so it's not a cult. Most churchgoers are free to come and go, to join or to leave. I understand and share your antipathy to established religion, but I'd say you're dislike doesn't justify the label.
  • edited December 2020
    Point taken, more or less, @krappyrubsnif, but how long is a piece of string? It seems to me, by your own definition, that there's no clear distinction in the middle of the spectrum between a religion and a cult. The more established cults—I will continue to refer to allof them so—don’t need to go to the same extremes to maintain their well-established influence and wealth, or have at least dispensed with most of them over time. What makes me regard them all as cults* is one common factor alone; being bound together by a belief system, where “belief” implies requiring faith (or at least professing faith) in something supernatural/irrational; I’m coming around to the conclusion that everything else is just a matter of means.

    * Or equally, regard all religions as cults, and vice-versa. Any practical distinction seems to relate to what the law of the land allows (let’s not forget those bishops “Lords Spiritual” in the House of Lords!)
    edited December 2020

    I don’t “just pick on UCKG only”. I explained in my first post that I wrote an article on my website about UCKG after they repeatedly asked me to go to their services while collecting free food from their soup kitchen / food bank in Finsbury Park. And they said that they can cure my incurable disabilities.

    But the moderator Arkady, scared of being sued by UCKG, deleted all of my post except the last paragraph.If you want to read what happened to me and other people I know at the UCKG soup kitchen / food bank, see https://londonhomelessinfo.wordpress.com/religious-cult-uckg

    When other food handouts run by other churches decide to prey on me or abuse me in any way, or do that to people I know, of course I will be writing an article about them too.

    Actually most of UCKG’s money from 10% tithes from mostly poor people is being money laundered and sent abroad so founder Edir Macedo can buy a luxury $8 million flat and a TV channel, and the other UCKG leaders can buy properties and businesses. I watched a video about it on YouTube yesterday showing all these properties and businesses are registered in the names of Edir Macedo and other UCKG leaders. If you understand Spanish this is the link
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