This past weekend by the Grace of God, The Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Church Diocese of USA and Canada Sunday School hosted its 3rd regional conference for those residing in the Midwest and the East Coast at Debre Birhan Kidist Maryam Church in Columbus, Ohio. The theme verse of the conference was Psalm 119:9 , “How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking mheed according to Your word.” Approximately about 120 attendees were at the conference, this included our priest fathers, Keshi Reisom, Keshi TsegezeAb, Keshi Teklebrhan, Keshi Binyam along with deacons and mezmemrans, Tewahdo Christian youth and adults from different states such as Michigan, Indiana, D.C, Maryland, Virginia , Pennsylvania, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Florida, Ohio, Tennessee, Toronto (Canada), and more.
The program began early in the morning with the prayer of the Covenant (Tselot Kidan) followed up with an agape breakfast meal. The conference proceeded with the mezmur “Nezi Gubaena bariko Goytana” which means “Bless this gathering O Lord”. The first call to action was a discussion with three different groups. The groups included high school, college, and working and/or married adults. The questions leading these discussions were, “What challenges are there in living a life of purity?” and “How can we overcome them?” A representative from each group shared their group’s answers with the rest of the participants. To conclude the group discussion two lessons were given. One in Tigrigna and one English by our Father Kesis Binyam and our brother Deacon Medhanie respectively. Dn. Medhanie’s sermon focused on the different personality traits people have and how those traits can be appropriately incorporated into our Christian ministry. His lesson on titled “Practicality in Christian Life” continued to teach about discernment, seeing and understanding in the way that the church does.
After an hour long intermission with lunch and fellowship the afternoon program began with prepared wereb, “Hadige lene mahitebo, keme nitlu lene asere ziahu” meaning “He bestowed upon us the true teaching, so that we may follow His footsteps” by the Debre Birhan Qidisti Maryam choir. Two other mezmurs were also sung “Menu yehadr wiste tsilalotike”, a tune to King David’s 15th Psalm, “Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle?” As well as “Selam leki” meaning “Peace unto you”. The program then continued with a lesson on the theme verse given by the key speaker and member of the Hagere Sibket, our Father Kesis TsegezeAb. In his sermon he mentioned three challenges youth face including, pressure of nature, peer pressure, and the pressures of the modern world we live in. He concluded that we can defeat these challenges by meditating on the word of God and the journeys of our fathers until we learn and adopt the discernment of the Church in our hearts. Following Kesis TsegezeAb’s sermon, an English sermon was presented by our brother, Deacon Yohannes about the value of living a spiritual life as a young person. He emphasized how crucial it is that we stay pure in every aspect of our lives and avoid corrupt friends. He also spoke about resisting temptation and drawing near to God through learning how to say no to things that compromise our faith. He concluded his sermon advising us that the key to Christian living is prayer and fasting. A memorable quote from the lesson was, “If prayer becomes a habit success, becomes a lifestyle.”
After, the sermon the Youth Outreach Committee presented their 5 year mark video. Glory be to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Sunday School members reminisced the growth and fellowship over the years. We then moved on to a jeopardy game in which the different churches present sent representatives to participate on behalf of the larger groups.
The evening ended with a report from executive members of the Hagere Sibket Sunday School and a discussion about being a Sunday School member and the Tewahdo Gedamat project. Glory to God, the conference overall was a huge success. Praising the Lord in prayer and in song we awaited the arrival of our next conference, the annual conference of the Sunday School is in Philadelphia on 07/28/2017-07/30/2017.