Updates From oromo Churches
June – 2010
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• UOECE Founded
• News From Finfinne
• “Child of Destiny” DVD
• Lutheran Core Annual Convention
• UOEC Annual Conference
Union of Oromo Evangelical Churches (UOECE) is founded
Union of Evangelical Oromo Churches in Europe (UOECE), a continental umbrella organization aimed at fostering unity among Oromo churches, fellowships and congregations scattered in Europe, has been established.
The establishment of UOECE was declared at the end of a four-day revival conference held in Frankfurt, Germany, May 13-16, 2010.
Participating in the conference were church representatives and believers from Oromo churches, fellowships and congregations throughout Europe including Munich, The Netherlands, Frankfurt am Main, the United Kingdom, Hamburg, Denmark, Oslo, Hanover, Stuttgart, Hermansborg and OSG.
The announcement of the foundation of UOECE was made a day after the church council meeting was held and discussed crucial issues of the organization. The council, among other business, discussed and ratified the draft constitution of UOECE and elected the board of directors for a two-year term.
The elected members of the board of directors are: Obbo Melkamu Dureso from OSG-Germany (chairman); Obbo Robsan Mako from Oslo, Norway (vice chairman); Obbo Charu Batu from Frankfurt, Germany (secretary); Adde Lydia Geleta from The Netherlands (treasurer); and Obbo Tolera Sime from the UK (member). The council has also decided that the 2011 Europe Conference will be held in Oslo, Norway.
The contribution of the Oromo Evangelical Church in Oslo (OECO) to this conference was much appreciated. OECO sent its choir group, gospel singers, worship leaders and preachers to Frankfurt. They served diligently throughout the conference.
The Rev. Tasgaraa Hirphoo from Hermansborg, Germany, the Rev. Desalegn Mengesha and Obbo Robsan Mako, both from Oslo, Norway, were speakers at the conference who delivered sermons on different topics.
News from EECMY – Finfinne
The 17-year Communist military government era in Ethiopia (1974–1991) was a very difficult time for all faith communities and particularly for evangelical Christians. A large number of churches were closed, many other properties were confiscated, leaders were imprisoned, and some of the top leaders were assassinated. Persecution raged against Christians in several other aspects. Thank God, after 17 years, the darkest years the Communist government came to end and the new days of freedom came for the faith community with this change of political power in Ethiopia in 1991.
However, several properties belonging to EECMY (Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus) were not returned until April of 2010. After several years of meetings and discussions between EECMY and government officials, the government has returned two major buildings, the historical college of Bishoft and the Mekane Yesus hostel at Amist Killo. These are very important properties for the church. The Lord who is on his throne changes the course of history. Only his kingdom is the one which will not be destroyed; his rule will never end.
Other news from Finfinne is the start of Afaan Oromo service in Entoto EECMY congregation. After the political change took place in Ethiopia and after churches were relieved from external persecution, many denominations suffered from internal conflicts. The church did not understand the paradigm and structural change in the society and in the government. Many church leaders failed to understand the best way to do the work of evangelism in the changing socio-political direction in the country. They thought the dominance of one language (Amharic) over the other would continue, for that matter over the language spoken by the majority. This short sightedness and insistence on continuing everything as it has been created turmoil in the church and led to the breakup of churches between Amharic-speaking and Afaan Oromo-speaking members of the church. After the breakup within the church, several attempts have been made for the last fifteen years to bring these two groups together, but nothing has worked out until the beginning of this year. But now the course of controversies, conflicts and dissensions has ended. May the name of the Lord be praised!
After this reconciliation was achieved, it was formally agreed to start Afaan Oromo service at Entoto EECMY congregation. The Oromo service is conducted from 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and Amharic service begins at 11AM. Other EECMY congregations in Finfinne that are divided over the use of language are expected to start a service in Afaan Oromo sooner than later at their respective congregations.
Child of Destiny – DVD
A DVD titled “child of Destiny” designed for children’s ministry is making a great impact in many children’s lives. Many kids like to watch the DVD rather than spending their time watching other shows for children. It connected them to their roots and to the life of kids in Oromia and the environment. The songs are beautifully written with a great spiritual message, wonderful melodies and brief shows of biblical stories. It is reported that some non-Christian parents, who received the DVDs as a gift from Christian friends, could not stop their kids from watching and loving it even though they are less interested in the Christian message of the DVDs. These DVDs are produced by the Biftu Bole Congregation and distributed by our church in Minneapolis to other Oromo churches in North America. The UOEC would like to thank our Bole Biftu congregation for their great effort to produce this material which is very important for the kids brought up in Western society.
The Lutheran CORE Annual Convocation
Lutherans from throughout the United States who have left or are considering leaving the ELCA after its August 2009 decision and those who are joining the movement from other nations will gather in suburban Columbus, Ohio, August 26-27, 2010, to shape a common future for Lutherans in North America. This new body of Lutherans
is Christ-centered, and accepts and confesses the authority of the Scriptures.
It is reported that Lutheran CORE’s 2010 Convocation will consider proposals for the creation of the North American Lutheran Church and for the ongoing ministry of Lutheran CORE as a Community of Confessing Lutherans regardless of their church body affiliation.
The steering committee for Lutheran CORE met in Columbus, Ohio, last month and announced forty days of prayer before the conference. As confessional partners with Lutheran CORE and laborers in the field of the kingdom we ask all Oromo churches around the world to take few moments of prayer beginning July 18, 2010, to pray for the success of the convocation. All Oromo churches have taken a clear position to support the efforts of Lutheran CORE and to work together in the mission of the Christ in the world.
UOEC Annual Conference
The United Oromo Evangelical Churches (UOEC) annual conference will convene July 29 – August 1, 2010, in Portland, Oregon. The Oromo Evangelical Church of Portland will be hosting the conference. Guest preachers, soloists, and Oromo church leaders from the North America and from other places will come to Portland to attend the conference. Pastor Haro Guyyo, pastor of the host church, has reported that the preparations have been finalized and the church is ready to welcome its guests.
Prior to the conference there will be pastors’ ministerium on July 28 and council meeting on July 29. We again encourage our church to pray for the conference and to make preparations for plane tickets before they get more expensive.