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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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An Ethiopian adventure

California youth explore another culture

The day involved mystery. Is the Ark of the Covenant really in Ethiopia? Has anyone ever seen it?

It was a day of celebrating Ethiopian culture at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Thousand Oaks, Calif.

The day included information. Third- and fifth-graders shared facts about the Ethiopian flag. Members learned about the Ethiopian coffee ceremony. Sixth-graders recited John 1:1 in Amharic, a language of Ethiopia.

It involved hands-on activities too. Children and adults made replicas of intricately patterned Ethiopian crosses. Drums, the traditional gift of Ethiopian kings, were made and rhythmically thumped. Members sampled dishes from that country, such as injera, a bread that's accompanied by savory sauces.

In preparation for the event, youth learned a traditional song,I Am Glad Each Time, to begin worship. They were joined by the congregation and the choir from the Ethiopian Christian Fellowship in Culver City, Calif. The group later sang an anthem accompanied by an Ethiopian drum and vigorous clapping.

The idea for this celebration began when members Lulsegged and Tersite Abebe asked Holy Trinity to strengthen the relationship with their home church, the Ethiopian Evangelical [Lutheran] Church Mekane Yesus in Addis Ababa.

During the year, Sunday school classes participated in an ongoing study of Ethiopia, culminating in cultural projects at the celebration.

What's the answer to the mystery? Tradition says the ark is held in great secrecy by people of a strange mix of Judaism and Christianity in Axum, Ethiopia. But no proof exists that they have the actual ark.


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