From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Rev. Iteffa Gobena Elected President of Ethiopia's Lutheran Church

Date 20 Feb 2001 08:25:55

Out-going Leader Yadessa Daba Has Served Church for Eight Years

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia/GENEVA, 20 February 2001 (LWI) - Rev. Iteffa Gobena is
the new president of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY).

Gobena, 57, was elected at the 16th General Assembly of the EECMY, January
21-28, 2001. He succeeds Rev. Yadessa Daba, who has served the church for
two four-year terms.

Gobena studied theology at the Mekane Yesus Seminary in Addis Ababa between
1972 and 1977, and was posted to Jima Synod in the west. During that time,
the communist regime intensified persecution of those whom it considered
opposed to its policy, and Gobena was among other Mekane Yesus church
leaders who were imprisoned in 1976.

He was ordained in August 1978, the same year he was released from prison.
Despite continued persecution from the government at that time, Gobena
continued serving in the EECMY. In 1986, he proceeded to the United States
for further studies and graduated in 1988 with a master's degree in sacred
theology from the Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. Upon his
return to Ethiopia he served the church in its education and evangelism
departments. Before his appointment as EECMY president, he was the head of
the church's evangelism department.

Rev. Iteffa Gobena will be installed as EECMY's fifth president on 11 March
2001 at Addis Ababa's Mekane Yesus Congregation. He is married to Almaz H.
Mariam, and the couple has three adult children.

With more than 3.3 million members, the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane
Yesus is the largest Lutheran World Federation member church in the South.
Between 1999 and 2000, the EECMY recorded some 766,000 additional members
representing 30 percent growth.

(The LWF is a global communion of Christian churches in the Lutheran
tradition. Founded in 1947 in Lund (Sweden), the LWF now has 131 member
churches in 72 countries representing over 60.2 million of the nearly 64
million Lutherans worldwide. The LWF acts on behalf of its member churches
in areas of common interest such as ecumenical relations, theology,
humanitarian assistance, human rights, communication, and the various
aspects of mission and development work. Its secretariat is located in
Geneva, Switzerland.)

[Lutheran World Information (LWI) is the information service of the Lutheran
World Federation (LWF). Unless specifically noted, material presented does
not represent positions or opinions of the LWF or of its various units.
Where the dateline of an article contains the notation (LWI), the material
may be freely reproduced with acknowledgement.]

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