Church Ventures Into New Area To Amass Funds

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The Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekan Yesus, with the goal of allocating 200 million birr fund, is selling 100 birr lottery tickets.

The ticket that will be used to support the Church’s various missionary activities was issued after the approval of the National Lottery.

The lottery tickets have eight different apartments in Addis Ababa as prizes and September 26, 2020, as the deadline.

In addition to the tickets to being sold through the various churches of Mekan Yesus, they are also sold at Berhan Bank, Awash bank, Oromia International Bank, and Cooperative Bank of Oromia. 

The Church that had been supporting itself from tithe, a biblical custom in which followers give one-tenth of their earning to the Church, decided to venture into lottery selling after a combination of conditions left its fund sources dry.

“As religious gatherings have been banned for a while after the COVID-19 pandemic hit Ethiopia, the church has not been able to collect tithe contributions”, said Bekuma Sura, a reverend at the Church.

“Besides, most of our international backers have stopped supporting us,” added Bekuma.

Because of these conditions, the Church that has 15,000 ordains on a payroll found it hard to cover its costs and was forced to sell the lottery tickets.

“The money that will be allocated from the sale of the lottery tickets will be used to support and continue the church’s various missionary activities,” added Bekuma.

With this goal in mind, the Church has printed 3 million tickets and plants to sell all of them. Out of the 300 million birr that Church plans to collect 15 pc (45 million birr) will be paid to the National Lottery.

“Costs related to the prizes, commission payments of lottery sellers and other additional costs could reach up to 100 million, and we will be left with 200 million by the end”, said Bekuma.

However, Bekuma stressed that this wouldn’t be a onetime thing, and the Church will continue to issue lottery tickets for a few more times.

Bekuma argues that churches should try to stand out on their own and detach from their dependency on their followers’ contributions.

“Creativity is not a sin,” added Bekuma.

The Church, besides religious activities, is also involved in developmental activities and works in areas related to foster children, health, education, and job creation.

The Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekan Yesus is one of the largest churches of Pentecostalism in Ethiopia, with close to 10 million followers.  The Church also claims to have 9000 congregations under it.

Pentecostalism is the third type of Christianity to enter Ethiopia after Orthodox and Catholicism. It managed to enter the country through the efforts of a spectrum of Lutheran missionaries, beginning from 1866.

Ethiopia’s religious demography that was conducted in 2007 shows that the country is made up of 43.5% Ethiopian Orthodox, 33.9% Muslim, 18.5% Protestant, and 0.7% Catholic. A further small percentage of about 2.7% of the population adheres to traditional religions and 0.6% other beliefs, including Judaism.