Addis Ababa, Ethiopia –
1. Wide of exterior of Ethiopian Evangelical Mekane-Yesus Church
2. Various of Wagayehu Lakew preaching
3. Various of congregation
4. Mid of choir singers
5. Various of congregation singing and clapping hands
6. SOUNDBITE: (Amharic) Wagayehu Lakew, Ethiopian Evangelical Church
“There are many differences between the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and the Evangelicals, and not just spiritual differences. Within the Ethiopian Orthodox church you are constantly being told to ‘do this and do that’ and there are just too many rules to follow. You are forced to fast at this time, pray at this time, they don’t say why we should do it though – and I think that that is not the right way to teach the bible. Here at the Evangelical Church – only the word of God is taught. I am free, as the pastors preach to us – we all feel free and happy.”
7. Various of Arega Debele taking part in church service
8. SOUNDBITE: (Amharic) Arega Debele, member of Ethiopian Evangelical Church
“I was very sick recently, and my weight dropped down to just 50 kilos at one point. I was in the hospital one day and I had a vision, a vision to come to this Evangelical church. I felt that I was not being healed at the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and so decided to try this new church. When I came here – the pastor preached the bible to me and gave me advice, and very soon afterwards I was healed. So, I decided to stay at this church and not return to the Orthodox Church.”
9. Various of devout outside at Holy Trinity Church, Ethiopian Orthodox Church
10. Wide of interior of church
11. Various of congregation members inside church
12. Set up of Daniel Seifemichael working behind desk
13. SOUNDBITE: (English) Daniel Seifemichael, Head of Heritage, Ethiopian Orthodox Church & instructor at Holy Trinity Theological College
“Well I can not say that we are losing, but there are people ‘taken’, (you know by different, not by in the way) but with a cheated way of things, like you know they went there because they are told that there Orthodox faith is (just like what you said) old, it is traditional, it is archaic, it is not modern, you know they are told like this, they are not told the true feature of their form.”
14. Various of members of Ethiopian Orthodox Church
15. SOUNDBITE: (Amharic) Kebede Aragaw, Member of Ethiopian Orthodox Church
“I would never think of leaving this religion and joining other forms of Christianity, (I am like a teacher of this faith and I believe that only the orthodox church tells the truth.”
16. Exterior of Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane-Yesus
17. Various of Wekseyoum Idosa talking in office
18. SOUNDBITE: (English) Wekseyoum Idosa, General Secretary of Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane-Yesus
“We are a church and what we preach is the truth of the word of God, and there is no way for us as Christians ,and especially ministers to really promise people saying we do this for you and you come and believe, no.”
19. Various of congregation singing during service
Many Ethiopians are deeply religious people, with faith playing an important role in their lives.
The ancient Ethiopian Orthodox Church claims to have 40 million followers and is referred to as the ‘mother church’ in the country, with it’s roots dating back some 2,000 years.
However it seems the church’s ancient traditions are starting to lose their appeal, especially among the young.
Now more and more Ethiopians are joining Evangelical denominations in the country, which they say allows them to worship more freely.
The sound of singing and prayer resonates around the Mekane-Yesus church in downtown Addis Ababa.
On a late Thursday afternoon dozens of people have gathered to pray.
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