LCC President issues call to prayer for Oromos
WINNIPEG – Lutheran Church–Canada President Robert Bugbee has asked pastors and churches across the Synod to pray for the Oromo people during this Christmas festival season.
“Many of you may never have heard of this particular people group,” President Bugbee noted, “but they account for millions of the Lutheran Christians living in Ethiopia. Reports indicate that government forces have targeted Oromo people, and that they have been attacked, killed, or forced off their land. This crisis is not making many headlines, and God’s people in that country need our prayer support.”
The crisis was brought to the Synod’s attention by Rev. Assefa Aredo of Winnipeg, the LCC pastor of the Oromo congregation here. Rev. Aredo also transmitted to LCC a letter from Dr. Mezgebu Tucho, Chairman of the Board of the Oromo Evangelical Churches of Canada (OECC), which has encouraged many of its people to seek closer ties to LCC.
“In the New Year we hope to provide additional information to all of you on the situation in Ethiopia,” said President Bugbee. “But the Lord already knows the need and the details that have not yet fully emerged to the outside world. As we in Canada celebrate the birth of Jesus in secure communities and churches, I hope our people will pray to God for mercy on the Oromo people and to defend them at this time when they are so vulnerable. They need the gift of peace, which can ultimately only come from Christ, the Prince of Peace.”
In a meeting at the LCC office on December 22, Rev. Aredo and his colleagues provided background on the crisis and shared photographs of the violence, much of it directed at young people. “The pictures are disturbing to look at,” President Bugbee relates, “and there was emotion in the room as our Winnipeg Oromo church members thought of the bloodshed in their homeland.”
Many Oromo Christians in Ethiopia are members of the Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, which has grown to become the largest Lutheran church body in the world. In Canada, Oromo congregations in Winnipeg, Calgary, Toronto and elsewhere have been working Lutheran Church–Canada toward the training and certification of their pastors. A number of them have also consulted with LCC district presidents to facilitate their reception as member congregations of the Synod.
For more information on the situation in Ethiopia, see The Canadian Lutheran’s earlier article “Ethiopian Oromos facing persecution, request prayer.”