Mekane Selam Medhane Alem Cathedral
Mekane Selam Medhanealem church has been serving the Ethiopian community in Bay Area for the past 22 years. The initiative to establish the church was taken by a very few dedicated people under a good leadership of Mr. Yegezu Wondemu. The first liturgical service was celebrated in 1986 using the Baptist church in San Francisco and afterwards the usual Sunday service continues in the same church.
As the Ethiopian community flourishes in the Bay area, the congregation also grew steadily and the need for a new place of worship was necessary. In 1987, after a relentless effort an agreement was reached with the Greek Orthodox Church in Oakland to use their church every Sunday for a couple of hours. The Greek Orthodox Church actually went further and made a monthly contribution of $200 towards the priest’s salary and provided a car for the community use. However, when His Holiness Abba Merkoriwos was forced to retire from being the head of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and replaced by Abba Paulos, the congregation of Mekane Selam was against such un-canonical appointment. To the congregation surprise the Greek Church interfered in our country/church internal affair and decided to terminate the usage of the church since our church was not under the Addis Ababa Patriarchate. Subsequently, our church once more started searching for another place of worship. Although the congregation was very grateful to the Greek Church support, it was very disappointed.
Faced with this predicament, the congregation approached the Serbian Orthodox Church to use their church for Sunday worship. The request was promptly accepted and the services continued for about three months until the congregation decided to study the possibility of obtaining our own place of worship. The primary objectives of having our own place of worship were to have access to the building at anytime and the service would continue without any interruption. Once we have the building, it can be used for multi-purposes such as teaching young children about their religion, culture at a convenient time for every one and also the Sunday School can begin so the next generation would learn a great deal about the orthodox tewahedo faith at higher level. In 1993, after a lot of sacrifice, the church paid a substantial down payment and bought a used church building in Berkley.
The blessing of Mekane Selam Medhanelam church was officiated by His Grace Abuna Melketsedek in the presence of many visiting clergies and the wider members of the community, on April 6, 1993. Since then the church becomes a focal point and plays a significant role in the community. The head of the church Abuna Melketsedek has been the pillar of this church ever since and look after his flocks.
As time gone by the congregation grew real fast and it came to a point whereby the church could not accommodate such number. A committee was set up to search for a bigger church Building. In 200__ a church was located in Oakland which can accommodate over 300 people and has many rooms for all kinds of activities. The congregation unanimously voted to go ahead and purchase the building. After lengthy biding and negotiation, the building becomes the property of the Mekane Selam Medhanealem.
Currently, the church provides various services including the usual liturgy, Christening, prayer for the dead (requiem), Friday night Bible study and Sunday school for children and adults.