Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY)
Who is the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus and what are its ministries?
Celebration of 60 years of a congregation and the new building in Gimbi Jorgo Synod, Ethiopia
The Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY)
, a member of the Lutheran World Federation
(LWF), has 5 million members. It is one of the largest Lutheran churches in the world. Besides the LWF, the EECMY is a member of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC), the World Council of Churches (WCC), and the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC). It is also a founding member of the Evangelical Churches Fellowship of Ethiopia (ECFE). “Mekane Yesus” means “the dwelling place of Jesus.”
EECMY ministries focus on both evangelism and development/social services to meet the needs of Ethiopia’s people. Through the Central Office and 20 Synods, the EECMY offers programs such as evangelism, Bible translation, Christian-Muslim relations, children, youth and university student ministries, family life ministries, and a strong women’s ministry.
EECMY Seminary Class in Hosaina, Ethiopia
In its ministries of development and social services, the EECMY feeds the hungry and provides health care services, child and youth programs, special schools for the physically challenged, HIV and AIDS control and prevention programs, educational activities, water development programs, and rehabilitative rural development programs.
The EECMY grew by one million members between 2002 and 2007. To provide pastoral care and instruction, the EECMY equips pastors and church leaders for ministry through the Mekane Yesus Seminary in Addis Ababa, the capital. The EECMY’s Peace Office offers “preventative and responsive” services to all forms of conflict. How do the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America accompany one another in ministry?
Through the churchwide ELCA Global Mission unit, the ELCA relates to and is in bilateral relationship with over 80 companion churches and institutions. The ELCA Global Mission unit stewards a church-to-church relationship with the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY).
This relationship is deepened and extended by the relationships, through the ELCA Companion Synods program, between these EECMY dioceses and ELCA synods:
- EECMY Central Synod and the ELCA La Crosse Area Synod
- EECMY North Central Synod and the ELCA Northwest Washington Synod
- EECMY South West Synod and the ELCA Pacifica Synod
- EECMY South West Bethel Synod and the ELCA Southeastern Synod
- EECMY South Central Synod and ELCA Southwest California Synod
through the ELCA Global Mission unit supports key priorities identified by the EECMY, including training pastors and leaders through scholarships support for the EECMY seminary, and supporting HIV and AIDS education, prevention and control. The ELCA World Hunger
program also provides some funding for the EECMY’s orphan rehabilitation projects in Nkempte and Haike. ELCA volunteer personnel serve in Ethiopia.
The ELCA also funds significant work through the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and Church World Service.
The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) is a global communion of 140 churches (including the ELCA) and 68 million people that is grounded in a common Lutheran faith. The LWF provides space for Lutherans from around the world to share joys, challenges and expertise as they seek the healing of the world. ELCA World Hunger funds help to support the Department for World Service (DWS), the LWF's relief and development arm, and the Department for Mission and Development (DMD), which focuses on holistic ministries through which the church participates in God's mission to all creation.
ELCA World Hunger funds help support the LWF Department for World Service program in Ethiopia in its work in:
- Empowering vulnerable and marginalized rural communities through integrated development aimed at sustainable food security.
- Linking emergency preparedness, response, and rehabilitation with sustainable development.
- Building the capacity of local partners with the aim of emergency preparedness and sustainable development.
- Advocacy with and for marginalized peoples for their rights, peace building and reconciliation at local, national and international levels.
ELCA World Hunger funds also help support the LWF Department for Mission and Development program in Ethiopia in its work with:
- Oromo Functional Literacy Program
- Mejengir Zone Forest Livelihoods Program
- Bahirdar Home Based Support for Children Orphaned due to AIDS Program
- Meshegeda Sike Integrated Community Based Development Program
In addition, the ELCA works through Church World Service (CWS) in Ethiopia. Supported by 36 denominations, including the ELCA, CWS is a U.S.-based ecumenical organization that works with partners to eradicate hunger and poverty and to promote peace and justice around the world. ELCA World Hunger funds help support CWS initiatives that help some 120,000 drought-affected people who receive food and seeds to restart farming activities.Ethiopia: the context in which the EECMY serves
Bales of Teff, the main ingredient for making Njera, the main staple for Ethiopians
Ethiopia, located in Eastern Africa west of Somalia, has over 76.5 million residents. Ethiopians speak Amharic and Oromo, along with Tigrinya, Somali, English, Arabic, and Italian. About 33% of Ethiopians are Muslim, 61% are Christian, and 5% practice African traditional religion. Although the Ethiopian Orthodox Church remains the major religious group, the Lutheran church is growing at a very fast rate, particularly in the west where missionaries were first permitted to enter.
Ethiopia is unique among African countries for maintaining its freedom from colonial rule. Except for 1936-1941, when Italy occupied Ethiopia during World War II, the ancient Ethiopian monarchy ruled the country. In 1974 a military junta deposed Emperor Haile Selassie and established a socialist state. Wracked by a civil war from 1974 to 1991, continuous fighting displaced millions of people. The problems of this forced migration were compounded by drought and starvation. The struggle for independence by Eritrea in the early 1990s and a border war with Eritrea in the late 1990's compromised the country’s access to the sea. Statistics show that over a third of the population live below the poverty line. Improvements in the economy, poverty levels and literacy as well as progress toward extending basic freedoms have all been limited by civil war. AIDS has an impact on both the economy and population.
For up-to-date information on Ethiopia, type “Ethiopia” into an online search engine or visit: