The beginning of women service within the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus has a long history, even a history longer than that of the official establishment of the church. There were pioneer mother and sisters who had played a significant role in the establishment, expansion and development of the Church. The EECMY structure and governing bodies have had positive attitudes towards women’s Ministry. As a result, they have passed different resolution and included these in different documents for farther action. As a result, the Women ministry is growing and developing as followed.
Policy made by decision-making body
14th General Assembly 1993
15th General Assembly 1997
16th General Assembly 2001
17th General Assembly 2005
EECMY has different decision-making bodies at different level of its structure. Such as: General assembly, Executive committee and board. These bodies make policy on different issues which help women ministry for implementation.
Resolution made by 14th General Assembly (1993)
Concerning great participation of women
- The resolutions of the Ninth General Assembly are the starting point:
- The administrative committees of the congregation, the executive committees of the synods,
- The synods boards and assemblies, the meetings of commissions, the church officers meetings
- The EECMY Councils’ and EECMY General Assemblies shall have voting delegates with women making up 25-50% so that they will have vote on policy matters.
- That, women be given priority in hiring people for full positions in the Church and its branches according to the above percentages.
- That the constitution, By-laws and guidelines of the EECMY Central Office, Joint Programs, Synods, Presbyteries and Area Works be quickly and essentially revised so that directives will be made to insure that women will be chosen or appointed in positions of authority and leadership in the various area of the work of the Church.
- That, women be insured priority according to the quota for training in basic, higher and special educational opportunities.
- That the EECMY Synods, Presbyteries and Area Works Constitutions be revised to insure that at least 50% of the full members be able to speak for themselves and present appropriate resolutions.
- That appropriate conditions be arranged when women travel to meetings in regard to transportation, food and sleeping quarters, and that the Synods, presbyteries and Area Works designate offices, budget, workers and transportation to encourage and speed up women’s participation in the church.
Resolution made by 15th General Assembly (19997)
- 8. Concerning the ordination of women
8.1 considering the level of growth that the EECMY has reached at, the necessity for women participation in all areas of service have been recognized. The issue has been discussed in various decision making bodies, and has resulted in resolutions. On this basis, it is resolved that women who have received a call from congregational members and who are qualified for the work be ordained and serve as pastors.
8.2 That general studies and trainings at every unit of the Church continue and strengthen so that the member will develop further awareness of the matter of women’s ordination.
8.3 That the efforts made to increase women’s participation in the life and service of the Church continue and strengthened.
Resolution made by 102nd Executive Committee of the Church (1998)
EC-102-32-98 a) the Executive Committee commented that women were not included on the list of scholarship candidates to study abroad for the farther service of the Church. Considering this as a serious matter, it was resolved to ask the scholarship Committee to give 1/3(33%) of the chance for women starting from the year 1999/2000.
Resolution made by 16th General Assembly
They made decision which Strengthen resolution made by 14th and 15th of women participation.
Resolution made by 17th General Assembly
Encouraging women’s ministry
- On the bases of 15th General Assembly women who were trained in theology must be called by congregation for ordination.
- Strong networking should be established for women at all levels to come together and make a decision
- To increase the number of women student, the situation should be arranged to give them in country and abroad scholarship.
Development of DWM
Women’s ministry was opened an office at the Church level in 1974. It was named women work section and placed under the Gospel Ministry Department during 1978. The women section was upgraded to a division level and became “The women Ministry Coordinating Office” in 1995. At present, the women ministry of the church is upgraded to Department of Women Ministry since 2013. DWM has decision making body and functional body. The decision making body is a board which is organized at different levels of the Church structure. The board of women’s Ministry guides at Church level and the women secretaries at Synods, parishes and districts level as well as committees at congregations level.
Whereas the functional body is the Department of women ministry, serving women at all level of the church. At present DWM has three sections; women in Evangelism, Women project coordinator, Women leadership capacity building and a secretary.
EECMY-Department Women Ministry envisions: equal participation of women and men in serving the call of God
To proclaim Christ through words and deeds, in order to make salvation known to all humankind in general and women in particular.
To see women empowered qualitatively and quantitatively, by the words of God wholistic service in the Church and society at large.
The DWM has been performing different activities at different level and time
- Evangelism activities
DWM is working more on proclaiming the Lordship of Jesus to reach all people with the Gospel in words and deeds. Moreover, DWM and the Church have done a lot regarding women ordination. Many trainings and workshops have been given at different levels to raise awareness on women ordination and the role of women in accordance to the word of God. As a result, more women are being called for ordination to the church as pastors. Therefore, currently the there are 70 ordained women in the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus.
- Training activities
- Women’s institute and Center (WIAC)
DWM is arranging courses at the women’ institute and Center in cooperation with the Mekane Yesus Management and Leadership college to equip women with basic leadership skills in view of promoting their participation in the leadership of the church
- Women’s Forum
Women forum is established
- To promote understanding of the national and global issues of women
- To create self-awareness among women regarding their right
- To encourage women towards self-support and
- To encourage women to take active part in peace building in church and society.
- Engender in Leadership
Engender in Leadership is a programme to open opportunities for women to take part in decision making processes in the church and society.
- Violence Against Children and women Different workshop and seminars held on Violence Against Children and women to raise awareness of young women Violence Against women
- Working Against Harmful traditional practice
7.Workshops; Different workshop have been conducted especially for Church leaders and women leaders on different issues