The conference opened officially as scheduled on Thursday, July 29 at 6:00P.M. After welcoming all those in attendance Brother Worku Sado, president of the host church, invited Rev. Dr. Gemechis Buba, President of the Union, to officially open the 15th UOEC Annual Conference.
This year the opening of the conference was coincided with the official ordination of the host church pastor, Pastor Haro Guyyo Galgalo. (See the news in the following page)
At the opening program of the conference, pastors and leaders of Oromo church from various cities in the USA, Europe and from the home country who had gathered for a preliminary meeting processed into the church in their priestly vestments. They were followed in the procession by choir members and host church leaders.
The theme of the conference was taken from Genesis 18:14 “Is anything too hard for the Lord.” The obvious answer is, “Of course not.” said Pastor Aden Haleke of Phoenix, Arizona who preaches at the opening of the conference. We are the people of hope even when there is no reason for hope. We are the people believe in the resurrection; we should never lose hope, the Word of God calls us to firmly hoping and waiting even when the case seemed hopeless; said Pastor Aden.
Rev. Gemechis also brought his sermon based on the Luke 24:44. After Jesus’ death, two of his followers were walking from Jerusalem toward Emmaus when a stranger joined them; who was Jesus himself. These men had experienced a faith-shaking body blow by seeing Christ die. The men of Emmaus had no doubt: Jesus was gone and that was the end of their confidence. Their original high hopes for Christ fell to awful depths once He died? The source of the problem for those followers of Jesus was said Pastor Gemechis - they forgot the promise. Everything was in the plan: Death, burial, and resurrection. Nothing but confusion could result in those reports about the resurrection, those partial accounts from differing sources. When we forget the Rehema word and the written Word of God we ended up in confusion. But thank God, said pastor ; the confusion in the room was cleared by the appearance of the rise Lord and the evidence of his wounded hands. If we see Jesus and believe his word - that is where the answer comes for the questions in life.
Dr. Urgessa Biru was also one of the guest preachers on the conference. He preached with no bible in his hand. He wanted to communicate one important message. In various part of our country, where Dr. Urgessa is currently laboring to reach the unreached, holding the bible is becoming dangers than any time in the recent memory. So he mentioned that there is no luxury of holding the bible in many places without running risk. He is accustomed preaching the word only from memories for the sake of safety of life and also for the strategic plan of advancing the gospel.
Dr. Urgessa brought his message on the life of Hannah in the first three chapters of the book of 1 Samuel. In his sermon Dr. Urgessa brought an insightful message how Hannah’s prayer has changed the world. Even though Hannah feels discouraged and bitter about her inability to bear children she promised the Lord, if the Lord hears her prayers and gives her the child she desperately wanted, she will give back to Him and dedicate him to the service of the Temple. God’s main purpose in answering our prayers is not only for our personally satisfaction, but it is for the glory of God and the expansion of his kingdom.
Other preachers, Rev. Belina Sarka, Rev. Dr.Teka and Pastor Guta Dibaba have also brought inspiring and uplifting message. Prayer sessions were most touching times. All pastors have taken part in laying hands on the sick, prayer for the special guidance of the Holy Spirit and for the manifestation of the hands of the Lord in individuals’ lives.
In the course of the conference, the songs of choirs and soloists from the host church and others graced the conference with moments of spiritual glow and glitter. Worship leaders, background vocalists, musician of the church (Guta) and other worship team members served so well in this conference and provided great moments in all the sessions the conference. Seniors including Rev. Tasgara Hirpo have also provided an inspiring song, during Sunday Holy Communion service, translated by Onesimos Nesib 130 years ago.
Ordination of Pastor Haro Guyyo
This conference was also blessed with the official ordination of its long serving minster - Pastor Haro Guyyo, which took place at the opening of the conference. The installation and ordination ceremony was presided by the bishop of Oregon Synod Rev. Dave Brauer-Rieke, and accompanied by several Oromo and American pastors.
When pastor Haro came to the United States in 1992 only few Oromos were Portland. Pastor Haro said; “my life in Portland was more complicated than I expected. I knew fewer people and therefore had less of a support system; I truly was on my own. I knew one family whom I met back in Kenya – a husband, wife, and child.” After sometime he was connected with Ethiopian, Amharic speaking church. While actively attending and serving in this church God put in his heart a vision of starting church in Afaan Oromo. The already existing Amharic church posed a language barrier because the services were only held in Amharic. It has become clear that using only Amharic language does not help to do the work of evangelism among the Oromo immigrants and Haro with two of his friends started bible study fellowship about nine years ago. Today this congregation stands strong with 115 members.
Accommodation and Food Services
ata> The food service, accommodations and all other arrangements for the conference were very effective. For three days, over 400 people were served both lunch and dinner, without a single person not receiving a meal. This all was made possible by the dedicated council members, women and other volunteers of the host church.
The fifteenth annual Oromo spiritual conference concluded Sunday evening with great joy. It was announced that the 2011 16th Annual UOEC Conference will be held July 28 – 31 in Toronto, Canada. Mr. Daniel Dagago, the president of Oromo Evangelical Church in Toronto, warmly accepted the news on behalf of the Toronto congregation.
The following were speakers and worship leaders:
- Rev. Dr. Gemechis Buba, the former President of the Union
- Pastor Aden Halake – Phenix Arizona
- Dr. Urgessa Biru, light of Hope Ministry
- Rev. Dr. Teka Fogi, Kensington, MD
- Rev. Belina Sarka, Oromia Ethiopia
- Pastor Guta Dibaba, Bay Area, California
Worship leaders and solo singers
- Kamiso Abishe
- Gemechu Teshite
- Yohanis Alemu
- Kamiso Abishe
- Kaneni Adema
- Guta Sobo
- Zelalem Tesema
Pastors and Council Meeting
Prior to the actual conference, pastors and mission developers of the Oromo Churches held a one-day meeting. The Rev. Dr. Teka Fogi conducted a Bible study for them.
The UOEC Council also held its 12th annual meeting on July 28, 2010 Dr. Teizazu Sukessa, UOEC Board member, presented bible study. The Council discussed several administrative, financial, and spiritual issues, in the process passing various resolutions.