Archived Sections, Lutherans in the Twin Cities

Our Redeemer Oromo Lutheran Church hosts national Oromo church gathering

Our Redeemer Oromo Lutheran Church (ELCA), Minneapolis, hosted the 13th
annual conference of the United Oromo Evangelical Churches (UOEC). The UOEC
is an affiliation of Oromo-speaking congregations in diaspora throughout the
More than 1,200 people from across the United States participated in the three-
day conference. In addition, more than a thousand people were live-streaming
the event at any given moment from such countries as Saudi Arabia, China, and
Dr. Gamachis D. Buba, chair of the UOEC, welcomed all present, saying, “We
have been chaplains to the Oromo community. But we are becoming
missionaries to the community.”
“We are defined by two words,” Buba added. “The two words are Jesus and
justice. Through Jesus we will have justice.”
Dr. Stephen Bouman, executive director of the ELCA’s Discipleship Office, built
on this theme in the sermon. He retold the story of Jacob sending his sons for
food into Egypt where they unknowingly met their brother Joseph. He asked
them to “come closer.” Bouman said that’s how the church should do mission,
“by being in relationship with our brothers; coming closer.”
Minneapolis Area Synod Bishop Craig Johnson told of Onesimus, the founder of
Ethiopia’s Mekane Yesus church. He was taken as a slave four times before
being freed by a Swedish missionary at the same time that the earliest
Minnesota Lutheran churches were being founded. Eventually Onesimus
translated the Bible into Oromo using the Amharic alphabet.
At the end of his presentation, Johnson was given a copy of the Onesimus Bible
in the Latin alphabet by its translator, the Rev. Tasgera Hirpo, former president
of Mekane Yesus.
It certainly was a day of “coming closer.”