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First Oromo pastor celebrated at Central District Convention

April 26, 2012 No Comment

Rev. Aredo poses after his ordination with members of the Oromo congregation

At the Central District Convention of Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC), Rev. Assefa Nega Aredo was recognized and congratulated on his recent ordination. Rev. Dr. Leonardo Neitzel—LCC’s Executive for Mission and Social Ministry, and director of the Pastors with Alternate Training (PAT) program—presented Rev. Aredo with an Amharic-language edition of the Book of Concord and an English-language edition of Martin Luther’s Sacristy Prayer. Rev. Aredo was ordained at a mixed English-Oromo language service April 15, 2012 at Lutheran Church of the Redeemer (Winnipeg, Manitoba).

Dr. Neitzel presents Rev. Aredo with an Amharic-language edition of the Book of Concord

Rev. Aredo is the first student to complete the PAT program—a process which took more than four years of study—, and so his graduation is particularly eventful. Following his ordination, Rev. Aredo continues to serve the Lutheran Oromo community in Winnipeg. Other students in the PAT program are members of congregations with cultural roots in Africa, South America, and the Middle East.

“For many years, we didn’t have a pastor,” explained Rev. Aredo. Having an Oromo-speaking pastor will make a significant difference in the faith-lives of the people, he said. He also spoke of the opportunity to be a witness to the wider community: “I’m looking forward to helping the church prepare for mission and outreach. We can reach out beyond the Oromo community and into the areas around us.”

As Canada’s ethnic diversity continues to increase, churches face new challenges in providing pastoral ministry to immigrant populations in a language and context they understand. Acknowledging this reality, LCC approved in 2002 the creation of the PAT program—a program designed to prepare candidates for culture-specific or site-specific pastoral ministry. PAT candidates remain in their particular cultural communities while studying, serving there while continuing their education through one-on-one instruction, online courses, and short-term class modules. Many, like Rev. Aredo, continue to work full-time while in the program.

“I am proud of Rev. Assefa Aredo. He has worked hard many years preparing to serve the Oromo community in Winnipeg,” said Rev. Dr. Leonardo Neitzel. “I thank God for his commitment to the PAT program, to his congregation, and most especially to our Lord Jesus Christ.”

He continued: “We are indeed pleased and grateful to the Lord for the way He leads His church in Canada in reaching out with His Gospel to the nations. Rev. Assefa’s missionary work will be of great blessing, especially to people coming from Ethiopia, Kenya and other parts of the Horn of Africa.”

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