preaching of the Gospel, the Work of God,
On the 9th July, 2022, the Universal Church will celebrate its 45th anniversary.
In this article you will learn how supernatural faith was fundamental so that a Church that started in a bandstand could reach hundreds of countries and millions of people around the world.
Edir Macedo was born on 18th February, 1945, in the quiet town of Rio das Flores – Rio de Janeiro. He was the fourth child of Henrique Bezerra and Eugênia de Macedo Bezerra or Dona Geninha, as she was affectionately known.
In 1963, he began his professional career as a civil servant. He became a regular at the Lottery of the State of Rio de Janeiro (Loterj) and worked as a researcher at the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) during the 1970 economic census. He left this to dedicate himself to the Work of God, which, at the time, was considered by some people to be madness.
Having been baptised with the Holy Spirit, Bishop Edir Macedo asked for an opportunity to preach the gospel in the church he attended, “Nova Vida”, but his leaders at the time would not let him. With the intense desire to save souls, Edir Macedo and his brother-in-law Romildo Ribeiro Soares, known as R.R. Soares, migrated to the Casa da bênção church, but once again, his call to preach the gospel was denied.
But the urge to preach the gospel continued to burn inside Bishop Edir Macedo so he decided to go on his way. With a Bible in hand and a portable speaker, he went to the Bandstand of Méier in the state of Rio de Janeiro, where he held his first meeting. He took the Word of God to those who passed by. Today, 45 years later, we see the impressive growth that the Holy Spirit has seen through this work for the glory of God.
“Those who passed by the bandstand at Méier knew that something different was happening there…The bandstand was grimy and had an unbearable smell of urine. Still, I stood and continued the impromptu meeting with a teaching from the Gospel. I always talked about salvation and prayed for those who wanted to accept Jesus… Five, ten, fifteen, even thirty people began to faithfully follow my preaching in the open”. (Excerpt taken from the book “Nothing to Lose 1”).
It was the morning of Saturday, July 9th, 1977, and some people who lived in the Abolição neighbourhood, in the north of the city of Rio de Janeiro, witnessed a different movement. On this day the first temple of the Universal Church came to existence.
The place that was chosen for this was the former shed of a funeral home, it held around 225 people at the inaugural meeting. After the inauguration, the church received more than 400 people during the daily meetings.
“Days before, we spent the mornings taking care of the minimum for the operation of the property. We paint the walls, strip the floors, fix the bathrooms, done a general cleaning. The carpenters hired at the cost of labour completed the final adjustments to the altar and the pulpit. The wooden benches, bought in instalments as far as the eye could see, were positioned to receive the new public.”
In the 1980s, Universal carried out the work of evangelisation through the media at times rented on radio and television. But Bishop Edir Macedo felt the need to have his own platform to preach the Gospel. That’s when the opportunity arose to acquire Rádio Copacabana, one of the most popular and famous AM stations in Rio de Janeiro at that time.
“The station required my frequent presence in its first years of operation. And I understood this acquisition as a goal achieved for the preaching of the Gospel”, says the bishop. His days, nights and early mornings were dedicated to programming and providing spiritual assistance to listeners.
45 years later, the Universal Church has grown and multiplied around the world. Today, there are more than 12,000 temples in more than 142 countries on five continents, where thousands of bishops and pastors bring faith and belief in the living God.
“There, at that moment, in the resurrection of the ‘dead at the funeral home, the Universal Church that we know today began. All this was tiny, something very, very small compared to so many extraordinary situations that we would live. Countless battles that put us between life and death, but countless triumphs out of the ordinary. Hundreds of countries, thousands of pastors, millions of faithful assistants and members. A church pulsating faith and life. Souls won for the Kingdom of God”. (Excerpt taken from the book “Nothing to Lose 1”).
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