Establishing and doing the work of Justice and peace commission was one
of the main goals of the United Oromo Evangelical Churches. As a church
which is called out of and sent to the Oromo people and to the world we
have a very clear responsibility to reach out and address issues of
justice and peace amongst the Oromo people. In order to systematically,
consistently and persistently deal with this critical mission the
council of the United Oromo Evangelical churches on it’s annual meeting
held in Columbus OH August 2005 decided to established peace and
and Peace commission is a ministry office created to carry out the
prophetic mission and ministry of our church. Based on this historical,
moral and mission motivation the work of preparing the ground work was
being done for the last six months since the Columbus resolution.
During this six months:
- Communication was going between our office and our congregations repeatedly.
- Congregations were encouraged to send delegates to the training to be held in a central location.
based peace and justice advocacy agencies working directly with the US
government, UN nations, Human right organizations, Churches and African
governments were sought.
- Leading document of the summit was composed and dispatched to all member churches and partner churches.
- Human rights activists, civic and community leaders were invited as participants, observers and witnesses.
the date was fixed to February 18, 2006 the logistics were worked out
to accommodate the session and the flow of the day. With the hard work
of our office coordinator Obbo Challa Gabissa Baro, the Oromo church in
Washington DC and the graciousness of the Grace Lutheran Church in
hosting us, we had a great summit!
On this conference delegates came from Minneapolis MN, Columbus OH, Los Angeles California, Metro Washington DC area, Atlanta Ga, Philadelphia PN, and Toronto Canada.
This summit was led by five major presenters:
- The Rev. Gemechis D. Buba, The biblical and theological foundations, parameters and pointers of peace and justice commission.
- Mr. Andrew Genszler, Expert consultant from the Lutheran office for governmental affairs, on domestic issues of education, poverty and health care.
- Mrs. Annie Lynsen, Director for Advocacy Communications, Grassroots and Network Development
- Ms. Kim Stietz, Expert consultant on African issues such as Darfur, Lutheran office for Governmental affairs.
- Dr. Gemechu Olana, The current state of human right, peace and justice in East Africa in general and Oromia in particular.
hearing solid theoretical, philosophical, theological and ideological
presentations the delegates received very technical and practical
trainings to be equipped and skilled for the task at hand. The three
consultants from our partner institution Lutheran Office for
governmental office took about three hours of the day to deliver an
excellent presentation and gave practical organizational and advocacy
skills to prepare our commission for the work.
the afternoon the summit was geared towards having an Oromo specific
discussion leading up to the nomination of the peace and justice
As the summit came
to conclusion the delegates, participants and observers expressed their
deep gratitude for the initiative and expressed their deep support for
the cause. After having a moment of reflection in the form of question
and answer the summit nominated and installed the following individuals
as commissioners of peace and justice commission of the UOEC Inc.
- Dr. Gemechu Olana, Chairman
- Mr. Thomas Debela, Commission Secretary
- Ms. Ribka Assefa Ayana, Public relation officer
- Mr. Robera Battal, Expert Consultant
- Mr. Fekadu Ebba, Commission treasurer
unanimously ratifying the nomination, election and appointment of these
congregational delegates the summit was adjourned with a corporate
prayer and benediction. Last but most, I call upon all to consistently
lift up this great group of commissioners in your prayer.