The charities regulator has launched an urgent probe into a Camberwell church today over its sale of an oil which claimed it would protect from coronavirus.
As first reported by the News, Bishop Climate Ministries had claimed that a £91 ‘plague protection kit’ made of just oil and red string would protect wearers from deadly coronavirus.
The Charity Commission has opened a regulatory compliance case into Kingdom Church, of which Bishop Climate Ministries is a part, over the product.
“We are looking into the serious concern about Kingdom Church GB’s alleged sale of false COVID-19 protection devices, as a matter of urgency,” said a spokesperson.
“We have opened a regulatory compliance case to assess the matter, and will be liaising as appropriate with other agencies.”
Originally, a post on a ministry website claimed: “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.
“As you use this oil, along with a special scarlet yarn, every coronavirus and any other deadly thing will pass over you.”
The post has since been edited to remove specific reference to the £91 kit protecting wearers from coronavirus, instead claiming it will protect from “every plague.”
A disclaimer has also been added to the post, alleging: “This articles and its opinion on this website is solely under Bishop Climate Ministries and Not the Kingdom Church.”
The leader of the ministry, self-styled prophet and bishop Climate Wiseman, did not respond to our request for comment on Monday. Mr Wiseman is also a trustee of the Kingdom Church charity.
But he is since reported to have told the PA news agency that he has sold 1,000 of the kits, but that the price tag was only to cover the cost of ingredients, packaging, and posting.
“What is so wrong about putting into practice what the Bible says,” he is reported to have said. Mr Wiseman has again been contacted for comment.
The National Secular Society has slammed the ‘bogus’ kit revealed by the News. “Selling bogus protection kits during the current crisis is worse than useless; it’s exploitative and potentially harmful,” it said.
“The Kingdom Church, and particularly its trustee, appear to have significant questions to answer over their role in this episode.”
Southwark Council has also said the issue is “already under investigation by our teams.”
The church, on Camberwell Station Road, has previously found itself in the media spotlight, after being fined more than £7,000 for ‘noisy’ 3am sermons.
The council fine was overturned in court, which Bishop Wiseman told this paper was “the hand of God” at work.