Church closed for being divisive

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Selma Ikela

Windhoek-The Namibian police have again ordered Bishop Vilho Paulus of the Jesus Christ Ministry (JCM) in the Okuryangava Ongulumbashe area of Windhoek to close his church, for causing division and strife in the local community.

Churchgoers who attend JCM come from other locations around town and many do not know the intricate problems of the church, which had also been ordered by the police to close last year. It is understood that Paulus afterwards re-opened it himself. Nampol Khomas Regional Community Affairs team, led by Inspector Christina van Dunem Fonsech, last week again ordered the church to close after the pastor’s wife, Helena Paulus, aged 39, was reportedly beaten up by a church member alleged to be having an affair with Bishop Paulus.

During a visit by law enforcement officers to the church last week Paulus’ wife approached the police for assistance, saying her husband was engaged in extra-marital affairs with female members of his congregation. The church was also said to be misleading people.

Pastor Paulus’ wife further complained that her husband had bought rings for two female churchgoers and had taken them to the north to meet his parents.

The couple have a six-year-old son. The churchman has two older children from previous relationships before he and Helena were married. It was further alleged that Paulus had also fathered an unknown number of children with members of his church. Community members of Ongulumbashe cheered loudly when the police came to shut down the church.

One of the women suspected to be in an intimate relationship with Paulus, who was present during the meeting, was warned to discontinue her relationship with Paulus. The woman said she was “spiritually involved” with Pastor Paulus, as per the Book of Revelations.

“If you feel what you are doing is right, then continue. However, don’t play with God,” Fonsech warned. “We don’t close churches because we hate people. No, but if we hear reports that the church is causing conflict among people and families we will intervene.

“Certain things just aren’t right,” said Fonsech, who asked Paulus what example he was setting as a religious leader with his extra-marital affairs, while he is a married man. She said in the past they had dealt with difficult matters, such as people claiming to be sick or infected after being intimate with church leaders and children fathered out of wedlock by church leaders, amongst others. Pastor Paulus said the rings he bought the women were similar to the one he got when he was ordained as a pastor and wears on his right-hand.

“The rings I bought are for the (Christian) calling. It has nothing to do with (wedding) rings, like she (Helena) wears,” said Paulus, adding that they were worn by his “angels”, according to the injunctions of the Book of Revelations, Chapter 21, Verse 9. He explained that unlike a wedding ring the women were supposed to wear the rings he bought on the fingers of the right hand.

As for the allegations of infidelity, Paulus said the biggest problem at home was that his wife refused to be intimate with him and made unsubstantiated claims about his health. He further said his wife had in the past also attacked him with a knobkerrie.

“She is just my wife according to the documents (marriage certificate), but at home we are separated and that is clear,” Paulus said.

New Era has meanwhile learned that the Jesus Christ Ministry has some four churches in Windhoek, as well as in Swakopmund, Gobabis, Otjiwarongo, Oshikuku, Eenhana, Omuthiya and Omwiyu in Angola.

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