September 21, 2007

Harlem church members leave on pilgrimage to Ethiopia

NEW YORK (AP) — Ethiopian sea traders established the Abyssinian Baptist Church nearly 200 years ago.

Now 150 church members led by their politically influential pastor, the Rev. Calvin Butts, are honoring the Harlem church's founders with a two-week pilgrimage to the African nation to discover their spiritual roots.

"I think we will all come back better people," one of the travelers, Doris Brunson, said. "As American blacks, we really need to understand the importance of our source. I think what we will see will be beautiful in some ways, and devastating in some ways."

The trip is part of an 18-month bicentennial observation that will end in November 2008, the actual 200th anniversary of the church's origin.

Butts said when the trip was announced in May that it had several purposes including "fellowship with the Ethiopians," missionary work and creating an orphanage for the children of AIDS victims.

The church's connection to Ethiopia goes back to its founding in 1808 by free blacks and Ethiopian merchant seamen who refused to worship in segregated churches. Abyssinia is a historical name for Ethiopia.

Today the church has 4,000 members and draws crowds of tourists every Sunday.
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የአቡነ ጳውሎስ "ሐውልተ ስምዕ"

ነጻ ፓትርያርክ ምርጫ ቢሆን ኖሮ ማንን ይመርጡ ነበር? እንበልና ሁሉም ነገር ሥርዓቱን ጠብቆ የተከናወነ የእጩዎች ምርጫ ቢሆን ኖሮ፣ አሁን የምናነሣቸው ጉድለቶች ባይኖሩ ኖሮ፣ 6ኛው ፓትርያርክ እንዲሆን የምትመርጡት ማንን ነበር? (ማሳሰቢያ፦ አሁን ያለው ክፍፍል እና የመንግሥት ተጽዕኖ ባይኖር ኖሮ ተብሎ የሚመለስ ጥያቄ ነው። የምን “ባይኖር ኖሮ ነው” የሚል አስተያየት ካለዎትም እናከብራለን።)