Dr. Tilahun Mekonnen Mendedo, pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Mobile, Ala., has accepted “with great humility and trust in the Lord” a call to become the seventh president of Concordia College, Selma, Ala. The call was issued Nov. 13 by the college’s Board of Regents.
Mendedo plans to begin work in the post Jan. 1. He succeeds Dr. Julius Jenkins, who retired July 31, 2007, after 27 years as president.
Mendedo, 38, is a graduate of Mekane Yesus Theological Seminary and Evangelical Theological College — both in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He was certified for pastoral ministry in the LCMS at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, in 2003, and earned a Ph.D. in missiology there in 2007.
Prior to coming to the United States to work on his doctorate, Mendedo served as the Theological Training Center administrator and curriculum adviser for the 5-million-member Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, the world’s second-largest Lutheran church body.
He has helped plant congregations in central Ethiopia, and has assisted in the translation of several Lutheran works, including The Book of Concord, which is expected to be published in Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia, in 2010 by the Lutheran Heritage Foundation of Macomb, Mich.
In addition to his current pastor duties, Mendedo teaches philosophy at the University of South Alabama and Spring Hill College in Mobile.
In an e-mail interview with Reporter about his new position, Mendedo said he is asking God for “wisdom and knowledge” so that he can “be a healing hand and blessing” to the college and community.
“I am not going there with a silver bullet to fix all the problems we face,” he said. “But I will be there by the grace of God to promote team leadership, to cast visions, to pray and give direction.”
Mendedo said he is “eager to see the whole community work hand-in-hand and come together for the glory of God,” and he asked the college’s supporters to contribute ideas and to dream big.
“If there is anything we are dreaming about Concordia, Selma, let’s vision something bigger, something outside of the box,” he said. “Concordia for all. Concordia Christ-centered. Concordia as a launching pad for mission communication. Concordia of the 21st century.”
Posted Nov. 25, 2009