Lausanne-Orthodox Initiative Regional Consultation, Addis Ababa
11-14 October 2016 (1-4 Tikemt 2009)
Statement of Intent
Sixty Orthodox and Evangelical Church leaders, theologians and mission workers gathered in Addis Ababa for a Regional Consultation at the invitation of Ethiopian leaders from both traditions. Over four days, we prayed, discussed, studied and shared meals together and were graciously received during our visit to the Ethiopian Patriarchate. Over half those present came from Ethiopia, with further regional representation from Egypt, Eritrea, India
and Kenya. Many Orthodox participants came from the Oriental family of Churches, and were joined by participants from the Eastern Orthodox family of Churches. Evangelical participants came from the Mekane Yesus Church, the Kale Heywet Church, the Meserete Kristos Church, the Mulu Wongel Church and the Anglican Church of Ethiopia, as well as Anglicans, Baptists, Independent Evangelicals, Methodists and Presbyterians from other parts of the region and the world.
We wish to express our gratitude to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and the Evangelical Churches of Ethiopia for hosting our gathering. At the opening session we were encouraged by an inspiring message of greeting from His Holiness Abune Mathias I, Patriarch and Catholicos of Ethiopia, and members of the Steering Committee were warmly received by His Holiness, who encouraged them to continue the work of the Lausanne-Orthodox Initiative (LOI). Continue reading “Lausanne-Orthodox Initiative Regional Consultation, Addis Ababa – Statement of Intent”
Building on the success of three international consultations in Albania and Finland the Lausanne-Orthodox Initiative (LOI) is now turning its attention to regional consultations, the first due to take place in Ethiopia in October 2016. In a nation traditionally first evangelised by St. Mark and St. Matthew the Orthodox Church has an unbroken history of witness for two millennia whilst the Evangelical Churches have seen one of the highest rates of church growth in recent history. Together these Churches seek to bear contemporary witness to Jesus Christ in a land which sits at the meeting point of three continents – Africa, Asia and Europe.
The initiative for the planned consultation was birthed when two Ethiopian Orthodox leaders and two Ethiopian Evangelicals met in Finland at the LOI 2015 consultation. Having formed a local planning team they are now working with LOI to invite leaders across their two traditions from within Ethiopia, from neighbouring countries and from as far away as India and the USA to join them in exploring how they can witness together in the context of the challenge of Islam, humanitarian need and challenges within our own churches.
The LOI was established by Lausanne in partnership with Orthodox Church leaders following the 2010 Cape Town Congress. It is led by a Steering Group an international of Evangelical and Orthodox leaders and currently facilitated by Canon Mark Oxbrow of Faith2Share (firstname.lastname@example.org) to whom enquiries can be sent. Papers from the first two consultsations are published as The Mission of God Oxbrow,M. and Grass,T. Regnum 2015 available from the LOI website.
Pastoral Letter to Ethiopians.
Dr. Girma Bekele, a former Ethiopian colleague from London School of Theology, now teaching at Wycliffe College in Toronto, writes this important prophetic open letter addressed to Ethiopian Christians, at a time when the Church in that country is reckoning with the brutal killing of some of its members at the hands of Daesh militants in Libya..
It is worth reading, as many of the matters Girma addresses in this letter are also relevant in other parts of the church.
Here is just a short quote:
‘We need to pray and do our part for national visitation: healing for our fractured spirituality, national unity, politics and economy- the very reasons why so many risk their own lives as migrants and refugees. We can do justice and honour the blood of those who have been killed, if we truly live as a nation where God’s righteousness reigns! That means an intentional and purposeful national effort for a more just, peaceful and prosperous Ethiopia.’
Preacher Yoshanis Asrat’s frenzied homily pulsed over the tin shacks and mud homes of the Megenanga neighborhood in Addis Ababa. If you followed his voice and the blaring synthesized piano that accompanied it, you would arrive at his congregation, the Mascara Church—little more than a tent in a muddy backyard in Ethiopia’s capital.
But in a black suit with his hair slicked back, and standing over a glass lectern in front of a large gold-colored cross, Yoshanis might as well be in a polished megachurch in a wealthy American suburb.
“Take Jesus,” he shouted to his parishioners, scattered across the rows of rickety wooden benches. “Take him right now! Right now he will heal you!”
“Amen!” the congregants cried.
In 16 years, Yoshanis’s flock has grown from a handful of members meeting around a kitchen table to a congregation of several hundred. That could be a testament to the pastor’s electrifying orations. But such growth has not been uncommon for charismatic and evangelical churches in Addis Ababa, a city of 3 million people. Continue reading “What the Ethiopian Orthodox Have Learned from the Expansion of Evangelicals”