In early March, Dr. Dale A. Meyer traveled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with Dr. Jeffrey (Jeff) Skopak, pastor of Grace Lutheran Church, Jacksonville, Fla., and Dr. Lawrence Rast Jr., president of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind. Besides becoming acquainted with the fast-growing Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus — approaching 10 million members — a main purpose was for the two seminary presidents to spend time with Dr. Bruk Ayele, president of Mekane Yesus Seminary.
“Present and future collaborations were discussed in detail,” reflected Meyer. “Concordia Seminary currently has seven students from this Ethiopian church and we hope for more to study with us in coming years.” Other activities included presentations to college administrators and 70 area pastors, meeting with national and regional church officials, visiting congregations, preaching and incidental sightseeing as they went to their various appointments. Skopak’s special interest was meeting with orphans whom his congregation helps support.
“As we ponder the future of our Seminary, theological education to those who desire our biblical and Lutheran theological education — both in the United States and around the world — will be key to our future vitality,” said Meyer.
On March 10, a devastating Ethiopian Airlines plane crash occurred just a few miles from where Meyer, Skopak and Rast were staying. “Ethiopian Airlines is a source of national pride, and so the tragedy hit the country especially hard,” remarked Meyer. “All three of us are grateful for our safe travels — and for the invigorating experiences we had seeing how the church is growing in Ethiopia.”