Mission and Peace in Ethiopia

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Mission and Peace in Ethiopia

As we wrapped up this issue, guest editor Henok T. Mekonin came to me with an unusual proposal: could we delay the free online publication of the journal and promote sales of the print edition in order to raise funds for Meserete Kristos Church  (MKC) programs. After a discernment process that included MKC leadership and the Anabaptist Witness Partners Council, I agreed to Henok’s proposal. The online version will be available—freely as always—from November 2024. All proceeds from the print edition will go to MKC programs as described in Henok’s invitation letter below. In addition to the letter, we also welcome you to read the issue editorial and peruse the table of contents, all of which can be accessed below. You can buy the print edition here: https://a.co/d/8s3w8Xx.—Jamie Pitts, Editor


A Special Journal Release and Invitation


Dear friends, church leaders, and pastors, both far and near, 

My name is Henok T. Mekonin. I am writing to you to share a special journal release and an invitation to be part of a special project in support of the global church. 

I am originally from the eastern part of Africa, specifically Ethiopia. Currently, I reside in a church parsonage in Goshen, Indiana with my spouse and our two daughters. After graduating from Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS) in 2021, I was asked by the leaders of Meserete Kristos Church (MKC) and its Seminary in Ethiopia and AMBS to help with the Master of Arts: Theology and Global Anabaptism (MATGA) cohort program offered through AMBS’s partnership with Meserete Kristos Seminary (MKS). This work is also supported by Mennonite Mission Network. 

Several months ago I received an invitation from Dr. Jamie Pitts, editor of the journal Anabaptist Witness, with a request to be a guest editor for a special issue of the journal. Jamie proposed that the issue would have a focus on Ethiopia, specifically the Meserete Kristos Church (MKC), the largest national body in the global Mennonite World Conference family. Part of me wanted to say yes and accept the opportunity. The other part of me said, “Why are you even considering it? Politely decline the offer and run away from it.” I remember saying to myself, “That is too much of a stretch. I do not have all the skill sets and knowledge to do that level of editorial work with confidence.” 

At the same time, the project appealed to me for several reasons: There was flexibility and openness in choosing the theme for the journal. There was interest in having all the articles authored by local Ethiopians who are residing in Ethiopia right now. Not only were all the writers to be from Ethiopia, but there was also interest in having this issue edited by Ethiopians.

As you probably guessed by now, I responded positively to the invitation. I learned so much about putting together a journal, and I learned to know incredible people through this journey, both from Ethiopia and the US. 


This is an interesting story and good for you. But why are you telling me this?” you might ask. 

As the project began, I thought to myself, “I’m familiar with the situation in Ethiopia and how MKC is involved in peace efforts.” It became clear to me how much more I had to learn as I began reading and editing article submissions on the theme “Mission and Peace in Ethiopia” (all written in English). I was deeply moved by the powerful stories and wisdom shared in these incredible firsthand stories about the work Meserete Kristos Church is doing. 

It was working with these stories that inspired the idea to use this special issue of Anabaptist Witness to directly support the church in Ethiopia. Anabaptist Witness is a publication of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Mennonite Central Committee, Mennonite Church Canada, and Mennonite Mission Network. I am grateful that the Partners Council representing these organizations agreed to have proceeds from the print edition of this issue financially support two worthy causes: 

  1. A special scholarship fund based at the MKC-Head Office. AMBS donors make it possible for our partnership with Meserete Kristos Seminary to be offered with free tuition. However, students in this program have room and board expenses for their courses at the MK Seminary campus each summer. MKC leadership has designated a new scholarship fund that will support MATGA-Ethiopia students with their summer expenses at MK-Seminary and that will also specifically support women expanding their leadership capacity through this program.
  2. The Peace and Reconciliation and Prison Ministry departments of MK Churches. The articles in this special issue of Anabaptist Witness offer several stories about how these ministries are serving God’s mission of shalom. A portion of the money that is raised through this project will go to support these ministries. 


A Special Invitation and Request: 

My special request for you, my dear friends, church leaders, pastors, and seminary leaders both far and near:  Please consider purchasing paperback copies of Anabaptist Witness: Mission and Peace in Ethiopia per copy for yourself and as gifts for friends, co-workers, family, and congregation members. All proceeds from these sales will go to support the two initiatives noted above. (The issue is available for purchase here: https://a.co/d/8s3w8Xx.)

If you are a pastor or a church leader, please consider ordering copies for members of your congregations to be accompanied by this letter so they can learn the impact of this project. I also encourage you to print this letter and put one in each congregation member’s mailbox.

If you are an academic, theologian, or scholar, please forward this letter to your colleagues and encourage them to read it, buy the journal, and use it for their courses as they see fit. The essay collection in this issue will add an interesting mix and provide a new perspective on various issues.

As you share this opportunity, you are encouraged to highlight three reasons this issue of Anabaptist Witness is so special:

  1. You will be reading powerful articulations and syntheses on how Anabaptism is defined outside of European Christendom and post-Christendom by non-Eurocentric theologians and scholars.
  2. If you’re interested in learning what it is like to be an Anabaptist Christian in the Ethiopian context, what Ethiopian Christians discuss among themselves, what their prayers are, and what their struggles are, the stories in this journal have much to offer.
  3. Did you know MKC will host a global Mennonite World Conference Assembly in 2028? This journal will help you learn more about Ethiopia, its culture, and customs as we anticipate the 2028 MWC gathering. This volume will also help you pray for the church in Ethiopia with more connection and knowledge. 


Thank you so much for considering this way of supporting the global church. 

I will close this letter with words from the editorial essay of this special issue of Anabaptist Witness

Not only are the Ethiopian contributors in this collection engaging in theological reflection in their work, they are doing so by being dependent on other Ethiopian theologians who have articulated theological reflection before them. This is a remarkable and encouraging development and will assist our brothers and sisters in the West to respond to East African professor John S. Mbiti’s concern in addressing Western colleagues and theologians when he writes:

“We have eaten with you your theology. Are you prepared to eat with us our theology?… The question is, do you know us theologically?
Would you like to know us theologically?
Can you know us theologically?
And how can there be true theological reciprocity and mutuality if only one side knows the other fairly well, while the other side either does not know or does not want to know the first side?”
John S. Mbiti, African Religions and Philosophy 


I hope you will join this opportunity to engage in true theological reciprocity and mutuality. 

The issue can be purchased here: https://a.co/d/jdDunVK

Your brother in Christ, 



Henok T. Mekonin
Global Leadership Collaborative Specialist
Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary


Articles in this issue

Editorial by Henok T. Mekonin, James R. Krabill

Editorial—available now!

Academic article by Yimenu Adimass Belay

Lessons on the Need for Peacemaking for Mission in Ethiopia from Matthew 5:9 and 2 Corinthians 5:17–21

Academic article by Geleta Tesfaye Berisso

Toward a Christology of Peace

Academic article by Abenezer

A Publication to Foment Interfaith Dialogue between Orthodox and Evangelical Christians in Ethiopia

Reflection piece by Carl E. Hansen

Sowing and Reaping

Academic article by Ruth Haile Gelane

Living Cloud of Witnesses to Ethiopia

Academic article by Desalegn Abebe Ejo, Kebede Bekere

Ensuring Sustainable Church Growth by Implementing Tailored Strategies

Academic article by Kebede Bekere, Mekonnen Gemeda

Repairing the Broken Souls

Academic article by Amdetsion Woldeyes Sisha

Breaking the Cycle of “Black Blood”

Reflection piece by Rosemary Shenk

Safe Passage

Reflection piece by Brent L. Kipfer

The Witness of a Cruciform Community in Revolutionary Ethiopia

Academic article by Mekonnen Gemeda

Culturally Rooted Empowering Peacebuilding

Academic article by Henok T. Mekonin

Prayer, Evangelism, and Justice Entwined

Book review by Joel Horst Nofziger

Review of Into Abyssinia: The Odyssey of a Family by Carl E. Hansen

Book review by Nebeyou Alemu Terefe

Review of Perception and Identity: A Study of the Relationship between the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and Evangelical Churches in Ethiopia by Daniel Seblewengel

Book review by James R. Krabill

Review of Ethiopian Church Art: Painters, Patrons, Purveyors, Tsehai, Los Angeles, California by Raymond Silverman and Neal Sobania