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New inquiry into church which sold coronavirus 'plague protection kits'
26 August 2020, 12:42
An investigation has been launched after a south London church was found to be selling a Covid-19 "plague protection kit".
The Charity Commission has launched a fresh inquiry into the church, which is registered as a charity, over concerns about its management and finances.
Earlier in the year the watchdog launched a probe after the head of the Kingdom Church in Camberwell, claimed earlier that a £91 small bottle of oil and piece of red yarn would protect people against Covid-19.
Media reports and the investigation led to the kits being removed from sale.
According to Bishop Climate Wiseman, a faith healer with the Kingdom Church in Camberwell, south London, the kit protects buyers from coronavirus.
Current NHS advice says the most effective way to prevent the virus remains strict social distancing and washing your hands.
The "plague protection kit" contains a small bottle of oil and piece of red string which he claims will protect them from the virus based on biblical writings.
In a post on his blog, Bishop Wiseman claimed his concoction of cedarwood, hyssop and scarlet yarn acts as "an invisible barrier to the powers of darkness".
He wrote: "It is by faith that you can be saved from the coronavirus pandemic by covering yourself with the divine plague protection oil and wearing the scarlet yarn on your body."That is why I want to encourage you, if you haven't done so already, to get your divine plague protection kit today!"He said that the remedy was based on a passage from chapter 14 of the Old Testament Book of Leviticus.
The commission said it had examined the charity's records, and was "concerned" about the accuracy of the information provided with regard to its income and expenditure.
The new probe, which was launched on August 7, will examine the charity trustees' compliance with their legal duties around its administration, governance and management.
This will include an examination of its relationship with a connected organisation called Bishop Climate Ministries, which the charity claimed was responsible for the sale of the "plague protection kits", the commission said.
Helen Earner, director of regulatory services at the Charity Commission, said: "Charities should be organisations that people can trust. Many will have been concerned by allegations about this charity's activities in relation to Covid-19, and so it is right that we, and others, have intervened.
"Our own examination into The Kingdom Church GB has identified further concerns that require investigation, which is why we have now opened an official inquiry."
He told reporters in April that the church had sold more than 1,000 of the kits.
"This is based on the Bible - I'm a Christian and there is a way that the Bible says to protect us from plagues," he said.
He previously insisted that the church was not selling the kits, and that the price tag was just to cover the cost of the ingredients, yarn and postage and packaging.
Bishop Wiseman said at the time that his church was not telling people to ignore the Government's advice.
The Charity Commission said it would continue to work with Southwark Council Trading Standards' investigation into the sale of the kits.