WATCH | Inside Timothy Omotoso's Jesus Dominion International church

Believers defiant in face of shutdown

For two hours, they sang, danced, chanted and prayed, while others stood in position ready to defend the church from the raging crowd outside.
As hostile protesters intent on shutting down the Jesus Dominion International church building in Port Elizabeth gathered outside on Sunday, the band and church choir, dressed in burgundy and white robes and hats, set the mood inside with charismatic worship songs.
Men dressed in suits and wearing dark sunglasses stood by the sliding doors at the entrance as the congregants walked in, only allowing certain people in.
The church’s leader, Timothy Omotoso, is facing a litany of charges ranging from human trafficking to sexual assault and rape.
On entering the building on Sunday, the congregants were quizzed to verify if they were true members of the church.
A neatly dressed woman spoke to everyone coming in, asking if they had the Omotoso medal or any church regalia with them to prove they were indeed part of the church.
Following the screening process, she instructed them to switch off their cellphones.
A choir leader then spoke to the congregants, some of whom had begun focusing on the activity outside.
“No one can touch us in our own ground,” the choir leader shouted.
“We are going to pray, we are going to pray. Are you ready to pray? Are you ready to pray?
“Let us begin to pray.”
Each word was met with a loud “Amen!” and clapping.

The congregants then broke out in screams and began stomping their feet and chanting as they prayed.
As the tension intensified outside, male congregants moved to the entrance of the church brandishing microphone stands, wooden poles and fire extinguishers, seemingly ready to defend the church from the protesters.
Another man, dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, gathered everyone at the front of the church, saying the congregants must be ready.
“Let us be ready because we are not going anywhere,” he said.
“I ask that all the children be put in a separate room.
“We are not going to allow anyone to come in here, but we must be ready.”
Barefoot and sweaty, the older women shouted loudly and danced in a trancelike state, shouting “Papa save us”, collecting their valuables from their chairs as they got into fighting formation.
Some women, carrying pots, paintbrushes, chairs and Bibles, joined the men by the entrance while the choir sang
“Arise oh Lord, let your enemies be scattered”.
A bell was rung and a man dressed in black trousers, a blue shirt and blazer instructed everyone to pray.
“We are going to pray about two or three prayers, then we take our offering and then we go home and relax,” he said.
“We are not afraid of the enemy, the enemy is afraid of us.
“Our number is more than their own, but [it is] better [to not fight] since we are not violent.
“We [must] go home in peace and leave them [protesters] to die in disgrace.
“We are going to pray for our father in the Lord, Tim Omotoso.
“You see everything is working against them.
“She [Cheryl Zondi] said she was being raped in four different places but she’s talking about six more places now.
“We can see everything is working against them.”
The first prayer dedicated to Omotoso prompted some congregants to lie on the floor, chanting prayers, with some crying as they prayed for him.
Songs praising Omotoso and Jesus’s power were sung.
“ANC power [is] powerless power, Jesus power [is] super power,” they sang.
The man then likened this time of difficulty for the church to when Jesus was in the desert, tempted by the devil.
After another lengthy prayer dedicated to the congregants, the man shouted that it was offering time.
Holding white envelopes, he said: “Offering time, if you want to sow a seed of R1,000, R500, R200, R100 and you want to pay your tithes, the envelopes are available here.”
He then called on ushers to bring baskets to collect more money from the congregants.
Another man told them that Omotoso’s lawyer, Peter Daubermann, had asked that they remain calm as he would take up the matter of the protest with the high court.
He encouraged people to go to court to support Omotoso and said that after the court session, the evening service would continue as usual.
The men then formed a human shield to allow the congregants to walk out of the church into pre-booked taxis...

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