Badima Yalew (Qes)

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Life and Ministry

Lived from 1883-1973, a “founding father” of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus

Ordained as priest (Qes) in the Orthodox Church; ministry in Wellega, etc.

In 1923, Qes Badima was called to Adis Ababa to assist Rev. Olof Eriksson in revising the Amharic Bible and teach at the school of the Swedish Evangelical Mission.

During the Italian occupation, Qes Badima lived on the Entotto [Mekane Yesus] compound and lead regular spiritual programs.
(Note that his daughter Fiqre was one of the early members of the Charismatic movement)

In June 1941, “the Evangelical Congregation in Addis Abeba was re-established. Several members […] elected a governing council of elders with Emmanuel Gebre-Sillassé as president. The elders called Qes Badima Yalew to be their pastor” (Arén, Evangelical Pioneers, p. 533).

Qes Badima led the Addis Ababa Mekane Yesus Congregation until his retirement in 1966. He was also a leader of the Conference of Ethiopian Evangelical Churches, thus shaping Evangelical Christianity in Addis Ababa for decades. (Launhardt, Evangelicals, p. 97)

Nilsson (forthcoming) on Qes Badima’s role in editing the hymnal Səbhat laʼamlak (1951) and developing a liturgy:

“At a meeting of evangelical church leaders held in 1949, the chairman of the meeting, Ato Negeri Sima from the Bethel Church, suggested that a selection of songs should be made from existing evangelical song books, in order to create a common evangelical hymnbook. Qes Badima Yalew was leading the work and it proceeded quickly. […] Qes Badima had a high opinion of Lundahl’s hymns. He put him first, and Olle Eriksson as number two. Qes Badima also composed songs for the hymnbook […]

Qes Badima came from the Orthodox church and was well acquainted with its music. But he chose to take the lyrics contained in the Mäzmurä bǝrhan hymnbook and to sing them on wellknown melodies from Sionstoner. […] Qes Badima otherwise remained faithful to the Orthodox church. He used to say “We are reformers, but we are not a colony”, reformers of the Church, but not a colony of the mission. He refused to use the liturgy prepared by the missionaries – a translation from Swedish – and compiled his own.”

[cf. Grenstedt (2000), p. 131f]

Songs in Hymn books

Səbhat laʼamlak (2007)

Nilsson (forthcoming), ch. 2

There are about 13 hymns written by Qes Badima:
no. 2, 3, 58, 73, 153, 159, 176, 206, 211, 239, 363, 389, 477.

Səbhat laʼamlak (1973)

No. 2, 3, 53, 71, 123, 137, 157, 160, 174, 261, 271, 280.


Qes Badima Yalew, 1971
(adapted from Arén 1999, Envoys, p. 461)

Further readings

Arén, Gustav (1999). Envoys of the Gospel in Ethiopia: In the Steps of the Evangelical Pioneers 1898-1936 (Studia Missionalia Upsaliensis, 75). Stockholm: EFS förlaget; Addis Ababa: The [Ethiopian] Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, 1999. [s. index]

Dirshaye Menberu. “Badma Yalew”, in: Dictionary of African Christian Biography, 2004. [Online version]

Grenstedt, Staffan. Ambaricho and Shonkolla. From Local Independent Church to the Evangelical Mainstream in Ethiopia. The Origins of the Mekane Yesus Church in Kambata Hadiya (Studia Missionalia Svecana, 82). Uppsala: Swedish Institute of Missionary Research, 2000. [pp. 131f]

Nilsson, Marianne (forthcoming). Chapter 2 in book on Ethiopian Gospel Music.

Saeverås, Olav. On Church Mission Relations in Ethiopia 1944-1969: With Special Reference to the Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus and the Lutheran Missions. [Oslo:] Lunde, 1974.

Yared Temesgen. Contextual Approach to Evangelize the Evangelized: A Reconstruction of Mission Model Through the Lenses of Qes Badima Yalew. Major paper submitted to Dr F.A. Rønne at Evangelical Graduate School of Theology, Addis Ababa, 2017. [esp. pp. 8-9; Online version; literature]