Mostly poor flock welcome minister living the good life as critics rally outside his church. Thousands of members of the embattled Prayer Palace congregation cheered on their pastor yesterday as he bragged about his suntan, the support of worshippers and the openness of his administration while one congregant warned, “The devil decided to mess with the wrong church.”
Outside, private security guards, church volunteers and a couple of police cruisers kept a close eye on a small group of demonstrators protesting the lavish lifestyle of senior pastor Paul Melnichuk, his twin sons, who are the church’s junior pastors, and the Prayer Palace’s dwindling contributions to charity.
The Prayer Palace and the Melnichuks were the subject of a recent Sunday Star investigation that found the church’s three pastors living in multi-million-dollar mansions and enjoying a lavish Florida hideaway while encouraging the largely poor congregation to tithe a percentage of their income.
“Money should be invested within the black community,” said protestor Jane Reid, pointedly observing that “after all, 90 per cent of the people who attend the church are black.”