Presbyterian work in Ethiopia dates back to 1918. Regent Haile Selassie, soon to become king, invited the Presbyterian Church to come into the country to help with the great 1918–19 worldwide flu epidemic. Dr. Lamby, a Presbyterian missionary in the Sudan responded, established the present hospital in Dembidollo, and the school and church there. He went on to establish hospitals in Addis Ababa, which became the Pasteur Institute then the Pasteur Research Institute (for infectious diseases). Another of the hospitals became the world-renowned ALERT (Africa Leprosy Research and Training Center). He is still looked upon as a national hero. Later Haile Selassie, in the early 1960s, also invited the Presbyterian Church to send missionaries to two remote provinces of southwest Ethiopia in what was known as the Illababour-Kaffa project.
A number of long-term Presbyterian missionaries have continued the ministry in this area through the years. The PC(USA)’s partner church, the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY), includes 17 synods, five of which (each with “Bethel” in their name) are Presbyterian. Other synods have Lutheran and Reformed Church backgrounds.
Partner churches and organizations
Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY)
Bethel Synods Coordination Office
Eastern Gambela Synod
Illubabor Bethel Synod
Southwest Bethel Synod
Western Gambela Bethel Synod
Western Wollega Bethel Synod
Bethel Evangelical Secondary School
Berhane Yesus Elementary School
Bethel Mekane Yesus School
Mekane Yesus Seminary
Ethiopia Mission Network
The Ethiopia Mission Network is among more than 40 networks that connect Presbyterians who share a common mission interest. Most participants are involved in mission partnerships through congregations, presbyteries or synods. Network members come together to coordinate efforts, share best practices and develop strategies.