‘Exposed to horrendous things’: young people in UK speak out against evangelical church | Christianity
, 2022-11-29 16:14:00
Rachael Reign, 29, remembers feeling nervous the first time she hit record on Instagram Live. She was about to start speaking publicly about a group that she says had consumed virtually her entire life: the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG).
Walking down the street in south London when she was 13 years old, Reign had been approached by a church member who told her about the Victory youth group (VYG), part of the church that offered activities for young people.
At first she enjoyed the group, but after a few weeks started to feel pressure to attend more often, she said. “It didn’t take me long to be completely submerged in UCKG life.” When, at 15, she was made an assistant – an unpaid, official position within the church hierarchy – she said she was at the church almost daily. In this position she said she was responsible for helping with constant fundraising drives and for performing strong prayers, calling out demons in congregants.
Reign spent seven years as an active member and left aged 20. She said it was only after leaving that she started to reassess what she had felt: “I was exposed to some horrendous things that I just should not have been exposed to.”
It took several years for Reign to process what she had experienced, she said. In that time she met others who had left the church and Reign decided to start speaking out.
She started Surviving Universal UK and said she had been inundated by other young people who have left the church.
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