Europe

Irish Prosperity Gospel Church Collapses Under €18 Million Debt

Pastors narrowly avoid jail time after blocking church's repossession by auditors.

An Irish church that encouraged followers to tithe more by preaching the prosperity gospel has collapsed.

The Independent reports that Victory Christian Fellowship trustees are "reeling" after they blocked the Bank of Scotland from repossessing church property, prompting a contempt-of-court order that almost sent them to jail.

Victory Christian's dramatic downfall began last year, when the church lost its tax-exempt status because it engaged in too many commercial activities. "The decision sparked the Bank of Scotland to appoint a receiver over its loans of €18million," according to the Sunday World.

When receivers went in to take charge of the Victory Christian's three main properties last week, however, they found themselves blocked by church members and staff "staging a sit-in." That led a judge to hold pastors Brendan and Sheila Hade, as well as trustee Gerry Byrne, in contempt of court—an order that could have sent the church ...

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