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Abstract

For just over a decade the Australian headquarters of the Brazilian megachurch The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG) has provided spiritual solutions to end the daily suffering of its congregants. Situated in a Sydney working-class suburb, many of the UCKG’s migrant congregants suffer ailments of urban poverty, in particular familial breakdown, substance abuse, physical illness and mental health issues. These are further compounded by the socio-economic and residential precarity of their migration experiences. Twice a year a campaign of extraordinary sacrifice takes place across UCKG global networks. These campaigns are for those who have “impossible cases” – problems that seem to have no solutions. Drawing on two years of fieldwork with the UCKG, this chapter focuses on the 2016 “Mt. Sinai” Campaign of Faith. For congregants the sacrifice was extraordinary in terms of its size but most importantly its spiritual potency. At the end of the campaign, UCKG Bishops and Pastors from across the world gathered together to make the arduous journey up to the top of Mt. Sinai, in Egypt. There they presented the prayer requests of their congregants on the sacred “natural altar” of God. In this chapter, I argue that through the transnational network of the UCKG, congregants are able to imbue their sacrificial offerings with increased spiritual capital to better call the attention of God. This chapter will contribute a discussion of sacrifice in the UCKG that highlights the importance to local congregants of spiritual capital that flows via the UCKG’s global networks.

In: Australian Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements
In Australian Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements: Arguments from the Margins, Rocha, Hutchinson and Openshaw argue that Australia has made and still makes important contributions to how Pentecostal and charismatic Christianities have developed worldwide. This edited volume fills a critical gap in two important scholarly literatures. The first is the Australian literature on religion, in which the absence of the charismatic and Pentecostal element tends to reinforce now widely debunked notions of Australia as lacking the religious tendencies of old Europe. The second is the emerging transnational literature on Pentecostal and Charismatic movements. This book enriches our understanding not only of how these movements spread worldwide but also how they are indigenised and grow new shoots in very diverse contexts.

Abstract

This introduction argues that Australia has made and still makes important contributions to the ways in which charismatic Christianities have developed worldwide. However, there has been little work done on the critical role Australians have played in the rise of healing, prophetic and experiential forms of Christianity, many of which have been propelled out of this first post-Christian country. Here, we explain how this book aims to fill a critical gap in two important scholarly literatures. The first is the Australian literature on religion, in which the absence of the charismatic and Pentecostal element tends to reinforce now widely debunked notions of Australia as a sort of Benthamite utilitarian paradise, stripped of the religious tendencies of old Europe. The second is the emerging transnational literature on PCMs (Pentecostal and Charismatic movements), which has (in the application of the work of Castells, Anderson and others) moved beyond national frameworks into more sophisticated local modelling of emergent religious revitalisations.

In: Australian Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements
In: Australian Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements