Shares history and future growth goals in live-streamed lecture.
Rev. Dr. Wakseyoum Idossa, president of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY), spoke on the campus of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Tuesday, Dec. 16, about the extraordinary growth of the largest Lutheran church body in Africa. Idossa shared the history of the Christian church in Africa and illustrated the steady growth of the EECMY from 20,000 members in the late 20th century to 6.8 million members today.
The lecture follows a November visit to Mekane Yesus Seminary in Addis Ababa by a delegation from The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), including Concordia’s Provost, Dr. Jeff Kloha, and Dr. William Schumacher, professor of historical theology. “It’s an honor to return the greeting,” said Kloha. “The LCMS and the EECMY have worked cooperatively for many years and recently have begun to discuss ways to work more closely, especially in theological education.”
Idossa described the EECMY as a spiritually vibrant, resource wise, sustainable, and missionally passionate church. Future efforts are focused on growth, missions, outreach, unity, human value, and peace. “The EECMY has this in common with you: enthusiasm for bringing the Gospel to our neighbors,” said Idossa. He also stressed the church’s commitment to economic development, health services and education in the name of the Gospel.
Several leaders of the EECMY have completed graduate programs at Concordia Seminary. At present, two pastors are enrolled in courses of study. The Seminary also has trained expatriates from Ethiopia to work with immigrant communities in the United States through the Ethnic Immigrant Institute of Theology (EIIT), which began in 2002.
“Over the last 175 years, Concordia Seminary has prepared thousands of theologians and pastors for the ministry of the Church of God,” said Idossa. “This Seminary is continuing to build the life of its students on sound biblical and theological understanding of the mission entrusted to the Church of God to enable them to intentionally prepare men and women for God’s Kingdom. It is a great opportunity for the EECMY and its theological seminaries to partner with Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, and share in the blessings of this rich experience in the process of building the capacity of our evangelists, pastors, and theologians for nurturing members of the the fast growing EECMY.”
At the conclusion of Idossa’s lecture, the audience asked how the LCMS and the EECMY can work together to continue the incredible growth of the church in Ethiopia, and spread its success to other countries. “God is giving us victory,” said Idossa. “The Holy Spirit is moving through the countries and the people in Africa.”
About Concordia Seminary
Concordia Seminary provides Gospel-centered graduate-level theological education for pastors, missionaries, deaconesses, scholars and other leaders in the name of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). Since its founding in 1839, Concordia Seminary has equipped more than 12,000 graduates to serve Church and world. Today, a world-renowned faculty teaches more than 600 students in the classroom, off-campus, and online. Learn more at www.csl.edu.