Tug-of-war between the authorities of Mitte district in Berlin and the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (IURD).
The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (IURD) and the prefecture of Berlin's Mitte district are playing a tug-of-war that could end up in German courts. The object of the dispute is the New Church of Nazareth, a nineteenth-century Neo-Gothic Lutheran church situated on Leopold Square. The building has been rented out to IURD for the past three years, and now the Evangelical denomination - founded by Bishop Edir Macedo in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, back in 1977 - wants to purchase it.
But the plan did not appeal to Mitte officials, who want to prevent the transaction. "IURD's presence does not enrich our district or our region," said Mitte-elected representative Stephan von Dassel (Green Party). Dassel told Deutsche Welle that IURD's history and methods are not compatible with the region. In his opinion, the denomination collects donations from devotees by promising that all their problems will be solved if they give money to the institution. The German official also criticizes the lack of transparency involving the money levied by IURD.
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