It all began on July 9th, 1977, when The Universal Church officially opened its doors. At the time, Pastor Edir Macedo, unable to afford a property, began his first meetings in a gazebo in the Garden of Meier in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Filled with an unshakable faith and guided by the Holy Spirit, Bishop Macedo followed the same faith of Abraham. Leaving behind a secure job and putting his marriage and future in jeopardy, he obeyed God’s voice and pursued his calling to save others and spread the Word of God.
Not long after, a former funeral home in the neighborhood of Abolição in Rio became the first church building where the meetings were held. The help and support of the first members was essential. As membership grew, the need for a better and more spacious location led the church to a former furniture warehouse, which was remodeled to accommodate 1,500 people. The church continued to grow, and the building was expanded to seat two thousand people. In a short period of time, the UCKG in Brazil expanded to other cities, including Sao Paulo, Minas Gerais, Bahia, and Rio Grande do Sul, among many others. Today, there is a UCKG in every state in Brazil.
Since the beginning, the vision for The Universal Church was to take the Word of God to other countries. The late 1970s and 1980s saw rapid growth as the church crossed into Spanish speaking countries such as Argentina, Spain, and Colombia. Expansion over time extended to other countries such as the US, Canada, Mexico and to Europe.
Today, the work of The Universal Church is present in nearly one hundred countries worldwide and is reaching people of all nationalities, faiths, races, and backgrounds. And it continues to grow.
The Universal Church in the USA
On May 5th, 1987, The Universal Church was incorporated in the US as a non-profit Christian organization. The first church was opened in Manhattan, New York. Initially, services were held only in English, but churches quickly opened for Spanish and Portuguese speakers as well.
Today, The Universal Church is present in over twenty US states, including California, Texas, Florida and the US capital, Washington, DC.