September 11, 2007 marks the eve of the year 2000 according
to the ancient Ethiopian calendar. Ethiopia and those in the Ethiopian
Diaspora measure time using the Kenn Mekuteria, a calendar combining
the ancient Egyptian and Julian calendars.
At the dawn of the
new millennium, The Abyssinian
Baptist Church of
Harlem continues its 18-month bicentennial celebration,
True to Our God, True to Our Native Land, by returning to its roots –
Ethiopia, Saturday, September 15. The Church will also hold a Bon
Voyage Block party after the Sunday, September 9 service starting at
1:30p until 3p in front of the church on West 138th Street between
Malcolm X and Adam Clayton Powell Blvds.
The church’s history is steep in Pan-Africanism: 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
During the trip, the current pastor, Dr. Calvin Butts III, and members
of the 150-person Abyssinian pilgrimage will assess economic, health,
education and social needs of the Ethiopian people to determine how the
Church can specifically apply its resources to encourage advancement in
the country. They will also visit hospitals, schools, World
Heritage sites and the Holy City of Axum, the presumed location of the
Ark of the Covenant – a sacred container holding the Ten Commandments
Join Port of Harlem for the 6th Gambia Homecoming. Click here for more information.