NC partnering in first USMB congregation in Virginia
Mission USA news story
A new USMB church plant is emerging in Alexandria, Va. Assemblies of Trinity International (ATI), led by church planter Solomon Telahun, is meeting for initial Sunday worship gatherings and weekday small groups. This will be the first USMB congregation in Virginia.
Mission USA and the North Carolina District Conference (NCDC), a cluster of small, mostly-African American churches in western North Carolina, is supporting this Ethiopian-immigrant church plant. Terry Hunt, district minister for NCDC, says the district has been praying for opportunities for churches to be planted east of the Mississippi.
“We have been seeking God for opportunities among people of color in particular, because there seems to be very little outreach among our people,” says Hunt. “Any time lives are being changed for the kingdom of God, we are excited. We are also excited about the fact that our USMB family continues to grow with people from all walks of life who have come to call the USA home.”
In 2013, the NCDC expanded with the addition of Iglesia de Dios Bethel, a Hispanic congregation in Lenoir, NC. The district hopes to officially welcome ATI at the NCDC convention in September.
Hunt says the district plans to come alongside ATI with both funding and strong and healthy relationships. While the church plant is over a five-hour drive from most of the NCDC churches, Hunt doesn’t see that as a barrier.
“The distance is worth the blessing of having the opportunity to work alongside our brothers and sisters,” he says.
Hunt and Clyde Ferguson, NCDC leader and USMB Leadership Board member, will be a part of the church plant project team, along with church plant pastor Telahun, Mission USA director Don Morris and four leaders from the church plant.
Hunt and Ferguson, along with their wives, and Morris visited ATI July 26 to worship with the congregation and to participate in the first project team meeting.
“We are beginning to understand more and more about the Ethiopian culture and how they praise and worship,” Hunt says.
He notes that the congregation worships in the native language of Ethiopia, but most of the adults and all of the youth speak English.
The church plant is meeting in the basement of a former church parsonage for the time being, but Hunt says a new building will be needed soon to accommodate growth.
Nearly 350,000 Ethiopians live within the Alexandria/Washington D.C. area, and Telahun and his team have a vision of starting many churches in the region over the next few years. Hunt says the hope is that ATI will reproduce a daughter church in two or three years and will be one of many new USMB churches up and down the east coast in the next 10 years.
“We are very thankful to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for giving us the opportunity to be part of expanding his kingdom here on earth,” Hunt says. “This has been a hope and dream for the NCDC for many years.”
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