Harlem to Addis: America’s Mega-Church Leads 150 Delegates on a Journey to Ethiopia

NEW YORK — On September 15, The Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, one of the oldest African-American institutions, announced that it’s continuing its 18-month bicentennial celebration by returning to its roots — Ethiopia.

This journey is a core component of a series of major events and activities commemorating the
church’s 200th anniversary in November 2008.

Ethiopia, which follows the Coptic calendar (seven years behind the more common Gregorian), is poised to celebrate the Millennium on Steptemer 11, 2007.

In 1808, after refusing to participate in segregated worship services at a lower Manhattan church, a group of free Africans in America and Ethiopian sea merchants formed their own church, naming it Abyssinian Baptist Church in honor of Abyssinia, the former name of Ethiopia.

In 1954, former Ethiopian Emperor, Haile Selassie I, presented Abyssinian’s pastor, Rev. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., with the Ethiopian Coptic Cross. This cross has since become the official symbol of the church.

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Above: Emperor Haile Selassie presenting the cross
to Reverened Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., on May 27, 1954.
Photography by Marvin Smith.

“As we celebrate 200 years of Abyssinian Baptist Church as an empowering center of spiritual and community transformation, we are eager to embark upon this befitting journey to our native land of Ethiopia, especially during this time of the Ethiopian Millennium,” said Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III, pastor of Abyssinian.

“The African-American church has long been a galvanizing force in the active building of beloved
communities in the United States. We seek to further advance that cause as part of our global mission – gaining first- hand knowledge during our pilgrimage that will aid in our consideration of a viable, long-term course of action supporting the people and progress of Ethiopia.”

During the trip, Dr. Butts and members of the 150-person Abyssinian pilgrimage will assess economic, health, education and social needs of the Ethiopian people to determine how The Abyssinian Baptist Church can specifically apply its resources to encourage advancement in the country.

For more information about Abyssinian 200, visit http://www.abyssinian200.org.

TADIAS TV: Harlem Today – Bre’s Walking Tour of Harlem (Fordmodels.tv via You Tube.)
Take a fun tour of Harlem with Model Bre of Ford Models.

Related Links and Tadias Stories:

A special visitor from Ethiopia discovers Harlem in 1931 (Tadias)
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African American & Ethiopian Relations (Tadias)
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The Case of Melaku E. Bayen & John Robinson (Tadias)
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1 Response to “Harlem to Addis: America’s Mega-Church Leads 150 Delegates on a Journey to Ethiopia”


  1. 1 Abyssinian Journey: Harlem rekindles old friendship at Tadias Magazine Pingback on Nov 6th, 2007 at 3:44 pm
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