Western Gambella Bethel Synod is one of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus Synods operating in western part of Gambella Region. The historical background of the Synod is that a small congregation in a small village called Adura was established in 1962. Prior to the establishment of the congregation, which was the fruit of the pioneering American Presbyterian Mission which launched evangelistic ministry in the 19th century in the present Gambella Region, the Mission arrived in the region by way of Sudan. As the work of evangelism grew and many congregations were established they were organized under presbyteries and one Synod.
At the beginning, indigenous Nuer Christians used to come together as prayer groups. From the Mission centers many payer groups were assembling in every village where there were more than two believers and above. By the passage of time these groups grew and formed a congregations. The believers organized theemselves as Nuer congregations and established a Headquarter at Adura. When the Nuer came to Gambella and started working with Anuak Mission at Akado the structure decided upon was Nuer Presbytery and Anuak Presbytery. Each Presbytery worked in its respective territory, but the common Headquarter for both Presbyteries was in Gambella. Through time leaders from Anuak congregations became the dominant at joint Headquarters. The Nuers kept working with Anuak Presbytery until they departed in 1991 and then moved its Headquarters from the main compound to a new one in the Eastern part of Gambella town. The Presbytery continued working at its new Headquarters until it was established as a synod by the Ethiopian evangelical church Mekane Yesus 17th General Assembly in January 2001.
Aims to connect people to Christ through proclamation of the gospel and to be an embodiment of God’s love in wholistic service; plant congregations, empower ministers, nurture believers, and make disciples in Ethiopia and beyond.
- Maintenance/preservation of Confessional heritage
- Follow the principle of Servant leadership
- Encourage and maintain Ecumenical fellowship
- Upholding charismatic values
- Adhere to Compassionate ministry
- Age and Gender sensitive
- Strive to attain Equity and Equality
- Follow the principle of Christian Stewardship
- Uphold Christ-centered ministry
- Respect Unity in Diversity
- Believe in and act upon the principle of Transparency and Accountability
- Maintain Integrity and Honesty in word and deed
The Synod is operating in its catchment area of Nuer Zone and its districts (Woredas) such as Akobo, Wanthoa, Makuey, Jikow, Lare, Itang and Gambella town toward bordering areas of the Republic of South Sudan.
Growth of WGBS
Currently the Synod has increased in membership, congregations and number of presbyteries. A few pastors, many evangelists, a few elders, more deacons and a few professionals are serving these congregations. Four women are among ordained pastors. All these are the fruits of the Late Reverend Peter Lual, Reverend John Kang, the late Reverend Peter Nyoch, Reverend James Duoth, Reverend Stephen Pal, Reverend Stephen Tongyik, Reverend John Kuach, Reverend James Duer and many more well known elders, deacons and evangelists.
According to the 2013 Statistics of WGBS, the total membership is 98,258 which out of this 64,672 are communicant members. At the Synod, there are 8 Presbyteries133 congregations and 92 Preaching places. 68 Pastors and 265 evangelists with 4,013 volunteers are serving in the Synod.
The congregations mentioned above are organized under 8 Presbyteries namely Lare Presbytery, Mallow presbytery, Akobo Presbytery, Wanthoa Presbytery, Itang Presbytery, Jikow Presbytery, Nyinenyang Presbytery and Gambella Presbytery and congregations. It has several outreach areas along the bordering areas of South Sudan.
The Synod runs both spiritual and development/diaconal activities at all levels. Some of the major activities are given below:
- Outreach program is on the move
- Low cost church building program
- Tent Making ministry program
- Community health and evangelism program
- Capacity building program (Trainings at Bible school, seminaries and other collages, workshops, seminars)
- Rural literacy program
- HIV/AIDS Prevention and control program
- Polio eradication program
- Programs providing food and non-food items to victims of disasters
- Peace building program
- Child development and Gender equality programs
- Women empowerment program
- Provision of safe water supply program(well-digging, provision of filters, installment of water pumps)
- Environmental protection program
The current President of WGBS is Rev. Ding Gach - 3rd Synod president.