- Who we are?
- Where are we from?
- What is our History in America?
- Our Mission
- Our Purpose
- Our Confession
Who we are?
We are a community of Oromo Americans called to proclaim the liberating power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to serve all God’s children in His name. We speak Oromo the language of our native land, Oromia, as well as English the language of our adopted land. We welcome all people to join us in traditional Oromo worship of God with music, prayer, the celebration of the sacraments and the preaching of the Word of God.
The vision of OECWDC is to proclaim the Gospel both in words and action to multitudes of Oromo immigrant community members (both saved and unsaved) in the United States, especially in the Washington DC metro area, and to reach out (with Good News and action) to the Oromo people who are not yet to receive Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior in Oromia. We are part of a larger mission rooted in the Great Commission to “Go into the world and make disciples of all nations.” Through worship and prayer, fellowship and discipleship, we seek to bring healing to our community and hope to our world through the good news of Jesus Christ. We also seek to initiate and implement peace making strategies to resolve conflict among congregations of similar confession and Oromo people in general.
The OECWDC, for many, is the major connection people have to their home country, its tradition, language and culture. We are committed to sustaining this ties, especially for our young generation. At the same time we are committed to helping the incoming Oromo people integrate smoothly into American society. We also have responsibility to welcome and assist Oromo immigrants who seek refuge from persecution. As our congregation is striving in many aspects of life here in America, we foresee ourselves planting branch churches not only around Washington DC Metro area but also in Oromia as well.
- Our mission is entered in the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in word and action. We are committed to spreading this good news throughout our community by our traditional worship practices, outreach ministries and through news media outlets.
- Our mission is to bring healing in a holistic sense to soul and body, to mind and spirit, to the spiritual and material, to the church and the world. Our mission encompasses the individual and the community, the global family and the natural environment.
- Our mission is to bring hope to the hopeless, bread to the hungry, medical care to the sick, freedom to those who suffer unjustly. Our mission is to welcome those who are pushed aside and to speak for the voiceless and underrepresented. It is to speak God’s word of judgment and grace to the structures and practices of injustice at home country or abroad.
- Our mission is to support the young people of OEC both spiritually and materially as they face the challenge of life in America. We are committed to listen to their hopes and concerns, and walk with them and help them in this journey.
- Our mission is to ensure that our church is sustainable into the future through good stewardship of gifts that God has given us. Accordingly, we teach and encourage our members to give their tights and offerings and to support various ministries for the glory of God and the salvation of those who are created in His image. The good management of our finances and our organizational structure is one of our major focus areas to run viable missions in the area of service and outreach.
- Our mission is to challenge, equip, and support all members in carrying out their calling in their daily lives and their congregation.
- Our mission is to foster and participate in relationships with other congregations of similar confession to inspire, encourage and participate in local and in international ministries of evangelism, mission, outreach and growth.
- Our mission is to spread the word of God around the globe using all available sources of modern technology.
The ELCA Outreach Office for Region Eight placed the Oromo Mission at Reformation Church, located at E. Capitol Hill Street.Washington, DC. In April 1996, The ELCA Region 8 Outreach Division and Grace Lutheran Church made an arrangement for Grace Lutheran Church to be the home for the Oromo Mission. With immeasurable help of Grace Lutheran Church, the Oromo Mission began to experience a speedy growth. Peace Lutheran Church in Alexandria, VA also supported this mission by providing financial assistance for the pastor at this initial stage.
Thanks to the generous hospitality of Grace Lutheran Church, the Oromo Congregation found not only a home for worship, but also a valued partner in ministry. It is therefore not surprising that the newly arriving people from Oromia find their way to Washington, D. C.
Under the care and guidance of the Grace Congregation, the Oromo Mission started to function in full capacity, developing its own worship life, administration, constitution and bylaws, outreach and partnerships. Eventually the mission established its office on the Church premises.
By 2000 the Church already claimed over one hundred confirmed members. The mission was also rendering spiritual and social services to a larger number of Oromo immigrants. The Church also extended its Spiritual and social services to Oromo community in general. In conjaction with the office for UOEC (United Oromo Evangelical Churches), the mission has been facilitating immigration and asylum issues and providing temporary shelter and other basic living needs for newly arriving immigrants. Consequently, the Washington Metropolitan became the primary destination for many new immigrants.
Since its inception in 1995, our Church, Oromo Evangelical Church of Washington D.C. continued to grow, even though we had no permanent home. We are grateful for the hospitality afforded by Grace Lutheran Church and Christ Lutheran Church. We are very thankful for the spiritual leadership provided by pastor, the Rev. Waaqtola Dinagdee from 1996 to 2010. Rev. Waaqtolaa Dinagdee retired in 2010.
The Sunday worship service remains the center of our life, which is accompanied by Sunday School, Confirmation Class, Second Generation (teen) Bible Study Classes and fellowship. We follow the basic contours of the Lutheran liturgy and incorporate elements of traditional Oromo worship, including the vibrant music and testimonies of the “worship singers” and spontaneous prayers.
Also OEC provides a “gateway” for many Oromo immigrants who receive orientation to the American life in Washington, DC area before moving on to the other communities in the United States, while those who remain in the area are received into our Church membership. We continue to grow in numbers and in excitement for ministry based on our mission statement.
“Through worship and prayer, fellowship and discipleship, we seek to bring healing to our community and hope to our world through the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ”
MARIAGE AND HUMAN SEXUALITY:
- The Oromo Evangelical Church of Washington DC without reservation believes and accepts the holy Marriage between the opposite sexes (male and female) as instituted and directed by God in the Scriptures.
Where are we from?
Our people, who presently number more than thirty five million in Ethiopia alone, enjoy a tradition that dates back to the earliest days of recorded history. Like many Americans with European roots, we have found refuge in America from a long history of persecution and denial of human rights that continues to this day.
Our spiritual history is rooted in the tradition of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, a community of faith whose membership of more than five million makes it one of the fastest growing churches in the world.
What is our History in America?
The Christian fellowship Church among the Oromos in the Metropolitan Washington, D.C. area traces its origin to the day that Ms. Marta Namarra from Minneapolis, Minnesota traveled to Washington DC to plant a Christian Church among the Oromo immigrants in DC area. She sought the counsel of Pastor Waaqtola Dinagdee who was studying at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. On May 21, 1995 with attendance of about sixty people, the first Oromo worship service was conducted in the basement of the Reformation Lutheran Church in Washington DC.
Pr. Waqtola traveled to DC from Philadelphia every other Sunday to preach. After completing his studies, he accepted the call to serve the growing community of Oromo immigrants and asylum seekers in the Metropolitan Washington DC area. Because of the historical ties that bind us to the 70 million member communion of the Lutheran World Federation, it was natural that we found a warm reception within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). So, the ELCA Outreach Office for Region 8 placed the Oromo Mission at Reformation Church, located at E. Capitol Hill St., Washington, DC. In April 1996, The ELCA Region 8 Outreach Division and Grace Lutheran Church made an arrangement for Grace Lutheran Church to be the home for the Oromo Mission. With immeasurable help of Grace Lutheran Church, the Oromo Mission began to experience a speedy growth. Peace Lutheran Church in Alexandria, VA also supported this mission by providing financial assistance for the pastor at that initial stage. Under the care and guidance of the Grace Congregation, the Oromo Mission started to function in full capacity, developing its own worship life, administration, constitution and bylaws, outreach and partnerships. Eventually the mission established its office on the Church premises.
By year 2000 the Church already claimed over one hundred confirmed members. The mission was also rendering spiritual and social services to a larger number of Oromo immigrants. The Church also extended its Spiritual and social services to Oromo community in general. In conjunction with the office for UOEC (United Oromo Evangelical Churches), the mission has been facilitating immigration and asylum issues and providing temporary shelter and other basic living needs for newly arriving immigrants. Consequently, the Washington Metropolitan became the primary destination for many new immigrants. We are very thankful for the spiritual leadership provided by pastor, the Rev. Waaqtola Dinagdee from 1996 to 2010. Rev. Waaqtolaa Dinagdee retired in 2010.
At a festive of Reformation Day worship service at the Washington National Cathedral, October 31, 2009, the Oromo Evangelical Church of Washington DC became a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
However, years have been counted since the OECWDC terminated its membership with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America of Washington DC Synod due to the August 2009 decisions of ELCA on Marriage and Human Sexuality (Legalization of the same sex marriage) which the Oromo Evangelical Church of Washington DC has considered as an inappropriate step that totally contradicts the Holy Scripture and challenges the core values of the faith it professes. Despite the so many objections many times at various meetings and occasions, ELCA appeared to have seriously engaged in an irreversible gear, which has forced the OECWDC to consider termination of its membership in a peaceful manner and consider other options of sustainability without corrupting its faith.
On its 2014 its annual meeting, OECWDC congregation unanimously voted to terminate its relationship with ELCA, and since then, the Council of Elders of the church had diligently worked with the Washington Metro on exit strategies, and finally, with the help of God and positive cooperation of Bishop Graham, the Washington Metro synod council of ELCA, on its meeting which held Saturday July 25, 20015, agreed and approved the termination of OECWDC’s relationship of ELCA to be effective immediately.
OUR TERMINATION OF THE ELCA MEMBERSHIP:
The Oromo Evangelical Church of Washington DC has never initiated membership termination of any form unless forced by the core issues that challenges its core values of the faith it professes.
We believe the Bible is infallible word of God inspired by the Holy Spirit and the only norm and unchanged guiding principle. Biblical Statement on human sexuality is clear. God created mankind in a specific and precise fashion, without any shadow of doubt. He created male and female (Gen. 1:27). Originally, God instituted marriage between male and female. God created human beings as man and woman, with two fundamental elements, to be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth (Gen. 1:28). It is only male and female that fulfills the commandment of God of being fruitful and multiplying and filling the earth. In Matthew 19:4-5 Jesus reiterates, underscores, and upholds the original intention of God’s creation, which is heterosexual marriage life style, when He said, “that at the beginning the Creator made male and female”.
When it comes to homosexual practice; all statements both in New and Old Testament without any exception regard homosexuality as a diversion from the will of God, as “an abomination” as “degrading passion” as a sin, which excludes people from God’s kingdom and an offense against the Law of God. (Cf. Lev. 18:22; 20:13; Rom 1:26f; 1Cor. 6:9-11; Tim 1:10)
There is no scriptural base for supporting homosexuality out of the love of our neighbor to compromise the Word of God. Instead we believe in the redemptive love to sinners.
We believe that the study done by Social Statement Task Force of the ELCA to produce this social statement is mostly based on proof texting and exegesis that is not loyal to the rules of biblical interpretation and is dishonest to the text that is quoted.
Despite the grounded and clear biblical evidences of the inappropriateness and the immorality of the same sex marriage, ELCA engaged in validating the same sex marriage. We were very saddened and dismayed that this happened in ELCA, which we joined to proclaim the Bible in its entirely. ELCA’s Church-wide Assembly of August 2009 (ELCA’s highest legislative body) decision on marriage and human sexuality has become contrary to the core values of the faith we profess; hence, we have been expressed our position and our concerns at various occasions including the yearly assemblies and various meetings of DC Metro Synod of ELCA. The United Oromo Evangelical Churches (UOEC) to which we are also members, in its letter dated November 12, 2010, also issued a statement strongly opposing the August 2009 resolution of ELCA on marriage and human sexuality. The statement said the resolution of ELCA totally contradicts with the Holy Scriptures.
And, finally, OECWDC congregation had unanimously voted to terminate its relationship with ELCA and then, with the help of God, the Washington Metro synod council of ELCA, on its meeting which held Saturday July 25, 2015, officially accepted and approved the termination to be effective immediately.
Now, it has been over three years since the OECWDC congregation had called our senior pastor, the Reverand Alemayehu Oljira, who, with the help of the Almighty God and the full support and collaboration of the Council of Elders, is leading the worship of our congregation in a new direction by inviting members to serve the house of God in ways that connect them to ministries that match their passion and skills. The power of the Holy Spirit that has been at work in our church has made our congregation a warm and caring community of God’s grace and mercy. By reflecting on the challenging and dynamic journey we endured together over the last 22 years, we give thanks and praise to the Almighty God, who has blessed us beyond measure and empowered us to overcome our challenges and to do His mighty will through this thriving congregation.