National Lutheran News

Ethiopia’s Mekane Yesus Church severs relationship with ELCA

The Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY) is severing its relationship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the Church of Sweden and “those churches who have openly accepted same-sex marriage.”

The action for “all Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus departments and institutions (at every level) to implement this decision” was ratified at the denomination’s general assembly, which met January 27-February 2 in Addis Ababa. The denomination’s church council took action at its July 2012 meeting to initially sever these relationships.

“The ELCA is very saddened by this decision,” said the Rev. Rafael Malpica Padilla, executive director for ELCA Global Mission. “The ELCA and its predecessor church bodies have been walking with the people of Ethiopia for more than 50 years, and our sister church, the Church of Sweden, for more than 150 years. In this journey, we have learned from one another, we have deepened and extended the bonds of fellowship and partnership in the gospel.” Malpica Padilla was in Addis Ababa for meetings with program and ministry partners of the EECMY.

To ensure that the decisions by the EECMY are implemented, members of the denomination “will not receive Holy Communion from the leadership and pastors of the (ELCA and the Church of Sweden). The Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus will not distribute communion to these churches,” as stated in the minutes of the denomination’s July 2012 council meeting.

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