Pentecostalism in Ethiopia
Pentecostalism is a Christian religious movement with a presence in Ethiopia (often included within the evangelical category of P'ent'ay). With their respective organizations combined, Pentecostals maintain an Ethiopian constituency of approximately 2 million members. Ethiopia's former prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn is a member of the Apostolic Church of Ethiopia, a Oneness Pentecostal organization.
In 1951, Anna-Liisa and Sanfrid Mattson traveled from Finland to Ethiopia and established a Pentecostal mission in Addis Ababa. In 1960, a mission was created in Awasa by the Swedish Philadelphia Church Mission. Pentecostalism, during the 1960s, attracted many students, and the movement grew enough that the Full Gospel Believers Church (FBGC) was created in 1967. Pentecostal practices eventually affected other Protestant denominations in Ethiopia, particularly the Lutheran church.
The appeal for an officially recognized Pentecostal organization was rejected by the royal government. This was only the beginning of political repression which accelerated in the 1970s. On one 1972 Sunday alone, 250 worshipers were arrested. In 1979, the Derg government shut down the Addis Ababa FBGC church.
In the 1969, an Ethiopian minister named Teklemariam Gezahagne converted to Oneness Pentecostalism. In 1972, the government forced Oneness United Pentecostal Church missionaries, along with those from other denominations, from Ethiopia. The established Oneness churches organized as the Apostolic Church of Ethiopia (ACE), and Teklemariam assumed leadership. Later, Teklemariam espoused a new Christological doctrine which led to an official split with the UPC in 2001.
As of 2011, the three largest, explicitly Pentecostal Ethiopian churches were the FBGC, the Hiwot Berhan Church (HBC), and the ACE. Each maintain constituencies of approximately 500,000 members.
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