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B2B2B: Blessed to Build Two Blessings

A Picture and a Story

In our last Companion Synod visit to the South West Synod of the EECMY or Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (which means “the dwelling place of Jesus”), they told us a story and drew us a picture. The story...“our church is growing so fast, we can hardly keep up. Over 10,000 new believers are joining our congregations every year in this synod alone.” (The EECMY, a part of the Lutheran World Federation, has 22 synods throughout the country and is thought to be the fastest-growing expression of the Lutheran Church in the world today.) Our hosts continued, “this tremendous growth of our church has been accelerating for many years since the collapse of communism in Ethiopia. In the past six years our synod has grown from about 450 congregations and 33 ordained pastors to 775 congregations and 77 ordained pastors. So the need to build a new teaching and housing dormitory for the great number of lay evangelists we must train is critical to our spreading of the Gospel.” Then they drew us a picture. “This is what we imagine for our new project. Will you help us build this building?”

The original sketch of the teaching and housing dormitory

This first draft cross-shaped structure was envisioned to be primarily for the housing and teaching of the hundreds of lay evangelists that are needed for this fast-growing church body that has a limited number of seminary trained ordained clergy. Following are the resolution approved by the Pacifica Synod Council, other images of our companion synod in Ethiopia, and an opportunity and a challenge for this synod at this time.

Since we established our relationship with the South West Synod of the EECMY in 1999, the Pacifica Synod has been sponsoring the training of some lay evangelists each year with synod assembly offerings ranging from $3,000 to $8,000. Now we have an opportunity to give a major gift and make a great impact in the name of Jesus Christ to this mission work in Africa.

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The Pacifica Synod Council Resolution

Dear Pacifica Partners,

We have a wonderful challenge that will have great impact on our companion synod in Africa and our own synod. We are inviting every member of each of our congregations to participate with generosity and joy.

Our companion synod, the South West Synod (SWS) of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY) has needs and goals that require substantial funding in their limited economy. The EECMY is one of the fastest growing churches in the world and they are doing so in one of the most economically impoverished nations of the world. Theirs is an amazing story of growth by 10,000 new members per year. Currently, they are preparing to train hundreds of Lay Evangelists to serve their growing church. At the same time, their housing and training facilities are limited for this educational ministry, so they are planning to build a new building near their synod offices. This is the perfect opportunity for the Pacifica Synod to join in a remarkable moment and effort with our Companion Synod as we assist them with the new building and also provide scholarships for the students who come for Lay Evangelist training.

This synod’s Center for Mission & Learning is nearing completion in Santa Ana. A long-awaited dream, after much planning and decision-making, is becoming a reality. Soon, we will be moving out of leased offices into a new synod-owned facility of classrooms, bookstore, gathering space, and administrative offices. While many have given substantial amounts to bring us this far, additional funding is sought to complete the project and allow Pacifica to be debt free as we move into and dedicate to the glory of God this new synodical mission center.

A fund-raising campaign, Blessed 2 Build 2 Blessings (B2B2B), will allow us to accomplish both of these opportunities in 2008. Mission fund-raising packets will be sent to each congregation as we seek your partnership to bringing these two projects to completion.

In August 2007, the Synod Council approved a resolution to begin this fundraising effort at this time. The supporting resolution below was approved by the Council of the Pacifica Synod in December 2007 launching the B2B2B fundraising campaign:

Whereas, the companion synod of the Pacifica Synod, the South West Synod of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, is building a new training facility and dormitory for equipping lay evangelists for their fast growing church, and wherein scholarships are needed for hundreds of lay evangelist trainees, and

Whereas, at the same time, the Pacifica Synod is completing its long-planned goal of building and owning its own Center for Mission & Learning (CFML), and is seeking additional funds to complete the project and be debt free in this endeavor, and

Whereas, there are nearly 55,000 members of 127 ELCA congregations in the Pacifica Synod who have already exemplified the capability of accomplishing faithful, generous, and abundant ministry in our giving and our mission mindedness,

Be it therefore resolved, that Blessed 2 Build 2 Blessings (B2B2B) invites every member of each Pacifica congregation to offer a one-time gift or pledge in an effort to raise a minimum of $1,000,000 by May 31, 2008, and be it further

Resolved, that the first ten percent of all gathered B2B2B funds be used for the Lay Evangelist Center and the training of lay evangelists in the South West Synod of the EECMY,* and the remainder of the funds will be used for the CFML, and be it finally

Resolved, that the pastors and people of the Pacifica Synod hold our companion synod and the Pacifica Synod in our hearts and prayers, giving thanks for the ministry that continues to proclaim Christ Jesus and reach out in his name to train and teach disciples of all nations.

* $100,000 will allow the South West Synod of the EECMY to build the building and to train lay evangelists for many years to come.

Approved by the Pacifica Synod Council on December 8, 2007

Find out more about the CFML in the synod’s informational brochure (PDF), which includes the floor plan for the facility.

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Architectural drawing of the proposed guest house—front view

Architectural drawing of the proposed guest house—top view 
Architectural (front and top) drawings of the new building of the South West Synod of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus.

Bishop Finck meeting with members of the South West Synod in 1999 
1999 visitation to the offices of the South West Synod. The children and women and men came to greet us and worship with us one-by-one and also by the thousands. One service in which we were present was attended by 4000 EECMY believers in Christ.

Christians in the South West Synod

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The Goal, the Vision, the Hope, the Plan

The Goal is to raise at least $1,000,000 in the B2B2B campaign, giving every member of every congregation an opportunity to contribute to the new Center for Mission & Learning of the Pacifica Synod and to help build a new facility and train lay evangelists for the South West Synod of the EECMY.

The Vision held before this synod is to raise these funds in this calendar year 2008 through many individual donations and congregational donations and efforts. It is intended to be a one-time gift from a large number of people to complete the Center for Mission & Learning and build the new facility in Ethiopia. It will also provide funds for scholarships for the lay evangelists in Ethiopia.

The funds would be used in three ways:

  • The first ten percent of all dollars given would be a first-fruit tithe, sent to the South West Synod.
  • The remaining gifts and donations would complete the payments for the Center for Mission & Learning, allowing us to be debt and payment free.
  • The balance will create a CFML Endowment Fund to provide the necessary finances for future expenses, including upkeep, maintenance, upgrades, and improvements. It is the vision of the leadership of this synod that the interest of this endowment fund will cover the expenses pertaining to the building, and that it will not be necessary to rely upon the general budget of the Pacifica Synod for the day-to-day upkeep of the new facility.

The Hope is that each congregation will appoint a small team to promote and lift up this opportunity, and that this task force will facilitate a campaign in the congregation to give every member an opportunity for participation.

The Plan:

  • Each council of each congregation appoints a task force to promote B2B2B.
  • The council and task force set a challenge amount for their congregation, asking the baptized members to reach that goal by all giving a gift of any size. For instance, if a congregation of 150 set a goal for $20 per baptized member, the congregation would challenge themselves for a $3,000 gift for B2B2B. (Such a commitment across our congregations with a total membership of 55,000 baptized members would contribute $1,100,000 and exceed the goal by ten percent.)
  • The task force will lift up this effort in a variety of ways: using a fund raising chart, bulletin inserts that will be provided, creating special offering envelopes, highlighting this effort in temple talks, newsletter articles, e-mail messages, and other formats.
  • Special B2B2B events (concerts, dinners, walk-a-thons, car washes) may be planned to bring awareness to the congregation and to raise funds.
  • Every donation is carefully recorded by the congregation and sent to the synod office so the names of each donor will appear on a “Wall of Thanksgiving” at the Center for Mission & Learning. The entire list of givers will be sent in a booklet to the South West Synod of the EECMY.

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