With the coming celebration of our Lords’ resurrection, we have a new ministry to celebrate at St. Andrew on Easter Sunday, when we will begin weekly services in the Amharic language!
After months of prayer, discussion, and planning, our Board of Directors has accepted and approved one of the recommendations of our Futures Task Force to offer a fifth weekly worship service the language of church members from Ethiopia and others who will join them. Like the addition of our fourth weekly service on Monday evening, our leaders believe that the Amharic service will enable us to serve our surrounding communities and carry out the mission of the Risen Christ in a significant new way.
Easter Sunday will mark a “soft launch” for our new service, which will be held in the Wellspring Center beginning at 12:30 p.m. The soft launch means that those who attend will include existing members of St. Andrew and those who hear about us through word of mouth and personal invitation. In the late spring or early summer, we will begin to include the service in our public communications such as our website and Facebook page, this newsletter, and outdoor signage.
Pastor Million Belete will be our worship leader. As noted in a previous report to our congregation, Pastor Million is an ordained pastor in the Lutheran Church of Ethiopia, is already a member of St. Andrew, and is in the process of certification for membership on the clergy roster of our denomination. In the language of the church, he is a “worker-priest” who earns his income through other employment in order to plant a new ministry where God gives such an opportunity.
It’s also important to note that, unlike many other immigrant ministries which are housed within but not officially part of an existing congregation, our model is different. Those who unite with the church through the ministry of the Amharic service will be members of St. Andrew who will by God’s grace enjoy all the blessing of our life together and will bless and strengthen that life by their presence even as they worship in their native language. And since there are now more Lutherans in Ethiopia than there are in North America, there’s no doubt that we have some things to learn about our Lord’s mission from those who join us at a time when American Lutheran denominations are declining.
While there will be more to share and celebrate in the days ahead, I invite you to join me in giving thanks to God for this new beginning and praising Him for His love throughout our worship during Holy Week and the season of Easter. I also encourage you keep this ministry in your prayers along with our leaders as they consider the remaining recommendations of the Futures Task Force including any that may require action by the voting members of our congregation.
Until then, may the comfort, hope, and joy of the Risen Lord bless you throughout these sacred days and continue to enliven the ministry of Christ both in our community of faith and in your life as a follower of Jesus
The Lord be with you+
Love, in Christ,