Christianity was first adopted in Ethiopia back in the 4th century AD; making Ethiopia one of the first regions in the world to officially adopt Christianity. Various Christian denominations are now followed in the country. Among these, the largest and oldest is the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, an Oriental Orthodox Church centered in Ethiopia.
Interesting close co-incidences followed each other in Ethiopia where the Ethiopian Orthodox church was granted its own Patriarch back in 1959 and the founding of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus took place later in the same year. The Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY) began proclaiming the Gospel with the help of Lutheran and Presbyterian Missions in Ethiopia. As a result of these joint efforts, congregations, parishes, and synods were established that brought about instituting of the EECMY as a national Church on January 21, 1959.
In the 1972s, the EECMY coined a guiding theme for her services, “Serving the Whole Person”, later referred to as holistic ministry. This has remained a guiding principle for all church work, be it evangelism or development. The holistic ministry implied that the church is out to address the spiritual as well as the physical and psycho-social needs of a person. This popular principle has helped the church to holistically contribute to the livelihoods of communities and actively involved in building the society at large. The church institutionally embraced evangelism and development works as major components of its ministry which were already progressing hand-in-hand from its inception.
The development and social services of the church is led by her Development and Social Services Commission which was re-organized into Development and Social Services Commission (EECMY-DASSC) and registered as a legal church-based development agency in line with the government policy in the year 2000.
EECMY-DASSC has established a strong network with other actors and has secured firm acceptance by local, regional and federal government bodies and collaborative relationships are being progressively strengthened. Development interventions initiated by communities and supported by EECMY-DASSC are contributing to the realization of the poverty reduction aims and national development policy targets.
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