An Ethiopian government official, riding in a chariot, reading from Isaiah the prophet. A gospel worker, Philip, directed by the Holy Spirit to go and share all the amazing things he knew about Jesus.
Perhaps it was in Sunday school that many of us first heard this story from Acts 8. At the end, the official is rejoicing in the blessings of baptism, and we find ourselves rejoicing, too, because God is sending the gospel to the people of Ethiopia.
Twenty centuries later, God still wants the people of Ethiopia to hear and rejoice in the gospel of our Savior. And, today, through our partnership with the Lutheran Church of Ethiopia (LCE), we have an exciting opportunity to make it happen!
Our sister church in Ethiopia is a young church body. It was established in 2012 by a gathering of ten believers committed to the teachings of the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. At our synod’s 2017 convention, WELS and the LCE declared fellowship with each other.
Our sister church in Ethiopia is an active church body. Currently, the LCE has 410 members among one congregation and four preaching stations. The LCE is served by 1 pastor (the Rev. Dr. Kebede), 3 assistant deaconesses, and 12 lay leaders. The LCE operates a theological training school called Maor Theological Lutheran Seminary, which currently serves more than 40 resident and distance-learning students in Ethiopia and several other countries.
Our sister church in Ethiopia is a forward-looking church body. Consider these plans:
- With local funds and financial support from WELS, the LCE has built a ministry center in Bishoftu, about one hour away from the capital city of Addis Ababa.
- About 850,000 people in Ethiopia are visually impaired. One of the assistant deaconesses in the LCE, who herself is visually impaired, has been instrumental in establishing a ministry to reach them. She is fluent in the local languages, English, and Braille. The LCE is seeking a Braille embossing machine (about $17,000) so she can print Christian materials in Braille to share with many thousands.
- Maor Theological Lutheran Seminary has hopes of training Lutheran leaders for other African countries as well—South Sudan, Sudan, Eritrea—and at refugee camps in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda.
- The LCE wants to begin a prison ministry in Ethiopia.
- Building slowly, the LCE would like to provide Christian education for students in kindergarten through high school.
WELS Commission on Inter-Church Relations (CICR) establishes, preserves, and strengthens the bond of confessional fellowship with church bodies that are united with WELS in scriptural doctrine and practice. The LCE is one such church body. CICR has established an Ethiopia fund to support the ministries of the LCE. We kindly ask for your generous offerings. Please ask our Lord to bless the LCE, Dr. Kebede, the deaconesses and lay leaders of the LCE, and all their efforts to proclaim the name of Jesus, our Savior, in Ethiopia and beyond.
Thank you for your support. May the gospel have free course and be honored by many others just as it is by us!
Because our Savior lives,
Bradley D. Wordell
Liaison to the Lutheran Church of Ethiopia
WELS Commission on Inter-Church Relations