TV Preacher Peter Popoff Comes to Vancouver and Other Spiritual Things to Do in Vancouver
by Sandy Peters/Freelance Writer/Special to Wisertraveller.org
Whatever your inclination, Vancouver offers a wide variety of places for religious worship. Whether you are Buddhist, Christian, Jewish are of Muslim faith, there is a place for you to practice your faith. But if you are of the view that religion is on the decline in the city, this definitely proved not to be the case at a recent nonpublicized crusade headed by the televangelist Peter Popoff.
A few weeks ago, several hundred people of all ages, silently filed into a large meeting hall at the Vancouver International Trade and Convention centre. My invitation came to me courtesy of a specially marked envelope mailed to me and delivered to an old address which promised that I would be the recipient of long-due blessings.
So a few weeks ago, I made my way to the meeting hall, carefully choosing a seat that was not too close but not too far from the front. I carefully picked my way to a seat which placed me between an unfriendly man and woman and a jean-clad lone African man. Behind me, a lone elderly man sat quietly and a few rows back, I saw groups of South Asian families. Across the aisle, more people sat there obediently, and many were dressed casually and simply. A few wore casts and some sat in wheelchairs. Many people had a look of quiet desperation or longing. Whatever the reason, all wanted to witness miracles promised by the controversial TV preacher who mostly appears on late-night TV.
Judging by the size of the selected audience who attended the event, it is hard to believe that this is the same man who has been accused by some detractors of conning the faithful and the naive of money. He has been accused of using questionable tactics to solicit money from people with brilliant targeted mail tactics. He has been ridiculed and parodied by comics and many vocal detractors have accused him of “fake healing.” Despite this questionable past, the faithful who had gathered tonight either sat quietly waiting for the preacher or queued in a short lineup to buy a $50 “Prosperity kit” containing things like a cross and a DVD.
Tonight the specially selected audience acted their most obedient, waving their arms with religious fervour and listening attentively to the silver-haired tall man from the Popoff ministry who song a gospel tune and delivered a short speech meant to pump up the audience. When Popoff emerged shortly after, he proceeded to give the audience what they were looking for: answers to their prayers. Invoking “prosperity angels,” he exhorted and prayed loudly that the people there would be delivered from poverty, disease and sickness. His son recalled how he witnessed personal healings himself.
With television cameras focused on myself sometimes and the rest of the audience, it was hard not to feel bashful at times. But the glare of publicity never stopped many people from going up to the televangelist himself to receive personal healing and blessings.
Despite all the negative publicity written about Popoff, I never witnessed anything that amounted to be staged healings. Instead, I saw people file up to the front of the room, forming two lines, to give testimony over receiving healings and blessings. A woman declared herself drug-free. A woman who wore a cast took it off shortly after Popoff gave some spirited healings. Different people received healings and Popoff promised that they would experience a speedy recovery from their various sicknesses. He scanned the crowd, and called out for people who would identify themselves as suffering from various diseases as well as people who wished for children. Many people answered his call, except this writer who felt that he had looked into her own heart’s desires. But the television cameras were all too intrusive, so I remained silent.
He promised the audience that we, too, would be recipients of prosperity and blessings. He remarked that money from “unknown sources” would magically appear.
Shortly after the crusade, I received an offer from a financial company offering me an interest rate that is too good to be true. As of this writing, I am not yet the winner Lotto 649 but that doesn’t stop me from hoping.
In the strange but true section: During a break at the meeting, one person who attended the crusade was offered a job delivering questionable material from one of the attendees who dealt in a highly illegal and dangerous profession.
Perhaps Popoff should exhort his followers to be more selective when it comes to gaining prosperity from questionable sources.
The Best Places to have a Spiritual Experience in Vancouver
1. Pacific Spirit Park
2. Banyon Books
3. Broadway Church
4. Any Place of Worship
5. Stanley Park
6. Jericho Beach
7. Top of Dog Mountain
8. Grouse Mountain
9. Wreck Beach
10. Experiencing hot yoga