UFIC, full name, the United Family International Church was founded by Emmanuel Makandiwa and his wife Ruth Makandiwa in August 2008. The church started out as a lunch hour fellowship at the Anglican Cathedral, Corner Sam Nujoma and Nelson Mandela in Harare.
It is a part of the United Family International Ministries that also includes The United Family Interdenominational Ministries. The Interdenominational Ministry is the mother ministry of the other ministries and arms which will fall under the United Family International Ministries.
UFIC is well known in Zimbabwe, back in 2008, it lasted only one week at the Anglican Cathedral due to limited space as the numbers of congregants swelled by the day.
Here are some other lesser known facts about UFIC;
The UFIC founders left a famous Pentecostal church under unclear circumstances
Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa and his wife, Prophetess Ruth Makandiwa left a famous Pentecostal church, the Apostolic Faith Mission in Zimbabwe under unclear circumstances, prior to starting their own church.
It is the home of Hubert Chigumira
UFIC is the home of gospel artiste, Hubert Chigumira. He released a 12-track album titled “Emmanuel” in 2015, some of his popular songs include ‘It Is Well With My Soul’ featuring Alvin Chigumira, ‘You Are Awesome’, ‘As The Deer’, ‘Gore Racho’ featuring Pastor G and ‘Dai’.
He started out at UFIC after Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa established the UFIC choir in 2008 and put him in charge. The United Family International Church choir under his leadership received a ZIMA last year.
The Agape Family Care
Prophetess Ruth Makandiwa heads the Agape Family Care Department, committed to offering care and support to thousands of people in need. The main rationale of this UFIC ministry wing is to assist widows, orphans, charity organisations, families, hospitals, people with medical needs and others.
The help which has been extended to thousands cover various needs across physical, food and sustenance, clothing shelter, health, financial, housing, and many other needs from various people in society. Many donations have been made to individuals and organisations in her drive and commitment to improving the lives of other people.
Some problems with the mega church
The church wanted to begin the construction of a multi-million-dollar 30 000-seater chapel in Chitungwizain 2012. At a point, their plans were in danger after an MDC-T politician and some residents sought a court order to stop the work. Zengeza East legislator, Mr Alexio Musundire and some residents, argued that the land on which the church is being built was acquired illegally.
Later in the year, however, Chitungwiza Municipality cleared Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa’s United Family International Church to complete construction of its mega-church in the town. In a letter dated May 22, 2012, Chitungwiza Municipality acting town clerk, Mr Fungai Mbetsa wrote to UFIC lawyers, Mushangwe and Company, informing them that council had given the Church the green light to complete the church.
UFIC has established branches in Zambia, Botswana and South Africa
Besides having established a number of churches in Zimbabwe, UFIC has also established branches beyond the borders in countries like Zambia, Botswana and South Africa.
UFIC has had other troubles with the law
In 2014, the church was investigated for allegedly conducting a mass wedding which was banned in Zimbabwe in 2012. Prophet Emmanuel insisted, however, that the mass ceremony was simply to issue a ‘Marriage Blessing Certificate’ and not an actual ‘Marriage Certificate’.
There was also a case where a graphic design artist sued the church for unpaid wages after he saw his rejected design being used for their annual calendar.
The UFIC founder claimed that he had a mysterious birth
Emmanuel Makandiwa claimed that he was born mysteriously after an angel foretold his birth months before he was conceived. He said;
“Before I was born, I was announced. An angel of the Lord told my father that it was going to continue giving signs and wonders to the family. My father was shown everything about me way before I was born,”
The church was marred in controversy after claims were made of miracle money and miracle gold that appeared in the accounts of the church members. Then Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono had to summon the church leaders to discuss the ‘miracles’.
Lining up to listen
The church’s page says that it is common to find congregation members waiting in line to attend the services as early as 6 am for the afternoon service which commences at 3 pm.
Their mission is prosperity
Prophet Makandiwa said the Lord visited him and told him that his mission was to deliver people from the jaws of poverty through prosperity gospel since the devil uses this to discourage Christians from following God.