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Mahedere Sebehat Ledeta LeMariam Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (Ledeta Mariam Church, for short) is a Virginia non-profit religious corporation, with its office in Arlington, Virginia. It was incorporated in 2002 under the laws of the State of Virginia.

The Ledeta Mariam Church has been organized for the purposes of religious worship and prayer in accordance with the teachings of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, as adopted by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. It was organized exclusively for religious purposes including charitable, educational, cultural and social purposes as specified in Section 501 (C) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

The Ledeta Mariam Church was started in 2002 by Abba Gabriel, Archbishop of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church with the assistance of Abba Tekele Mariam, Kes Bisrat Atlaw,  Kes Tibebu Sisay and few highly dedicated lay persons. The church opened its door for its first Sunday service on November 10, 2002 at 1400 Janneys Lane in Alexandria, Virginia in a rented building.

Abba Tekle Mariam was appointed senior pastor and administrator of the church in 2002. It began regular Sunday morning services and soon started to offer weekday prayer services, night Bible studies and zemma (vocal training) lessons in Geez and Amharic.

Church attendance has increased significantly since 2002. On an average Sunday, there are more than 350 people attending the regular Sunday services. Ledeta Mariam church has about 230 registered members. The Church has been a positive influence in the religious life of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo believers in northern Virginia and Washington D.C.

The church started a youth ministry in 2004. This has provided a safe place for young people to meet, learn the basics of their faith, encourage each other to do positive things, get advised on how to apply to college, and take initiative on helping others who are in need. Just this year the youth in our Church while serving sandwiches to the poor learned about a homeless family that was about to lose its kids and raised more than $7,000 within two weeks to keep the family together. It has held high school graduation ceremonies since 2005 for our teenagers who have completed their high school education. In 2009 the church started joint graduation ceremonies for both high college and graduates for members of our church.

The owner of the rental building in which Ledeta Mariam Church provided religious services informed the church that the property was to be put up for sale in 2004. The price asked by the owner for the property was beyond what the Ledeta Mariam Church could afford. It was decided reluctantly by the Ledeta Mariam Church leadership and its congregation to move from the original location. The church began the difficult task of looking for a new location large enough to accommodate its members and yet affordable. The Church was unable to find a place it could afford to buy within the time limit that we had before we had to leave the original church location. It was decided to look for a rental property as close as possible to the original site to keep our congregation together.

The church reached an agreement with Alexandria City Public Schools to rent space in the William Ramsay Elementary School at 5700 Sanger Avenue in Alexandria, Virginia. This property was restrictive in that the church can use it only Sunday mornings. Because the new location is a public elementary school, it was difficult for the church to provide the kind of religious services that it used to provide to members and non-members on weekdays and evenings.

In 2005 Abba Philipos Kebede was appointed senior pastor and administrator of the Ledeta Mariam Church, after Abba Tekele Mariam resigned to return to Ethiopia. The church members elected new church leaders in April 2007 for a three-year term. The elected leaders pledged to work together to help the church to serve its members more effectively and to enable the church to have its own building. The new leaders determined to identify knowledgeable and gifted church members in various fields and invite them to work with the church leadership to initiate various projects to help the church to have its own building. The leadership also determined that it had to initiate a membership drive effort to have more registered church members. Church members are determined to find a permanent place for their church. Many initiatives are underway to raise more money to get a church building. The church has already had two successful campaigns to raise money for the church building. It has raised more than $120,000 for a new church building.

In June 2009 the church learned from a member of our church about a 4.5 acres parcel of land that was for sale by The Washington Savings Bank. The property is located at 4214 Pine Lane, Alexandria, VA. The Church leadership took a close look at the property. Members were informed about the property. They were invited to look at the property. It was unanimously decided by the congregation to make an offer for the parcel of land to buy it. The first offer was declined by Washington Savings Bank. Finally an offer of $800, 000 was made and it was accepted by Washington Savings Bank. The purchase of the 4.5 acres of land from Washington Savings Bank was signed on October 31, 2009.

To thank God for giving us a parcel of land on which to build our new church, the church leadership held a fund raising night on November 14, 2009. Ledeta Le Mariam Church members invited their families and friends to come and praise God for the wonderful thing that he had done for us. Ledeta Mariam Church raised more than $100,000 from this event. The church leadership has organized several committees to help the church to serve the spiritual needs of its members more effectively and also to have its own building. Church members have come forward in droves to serve on the various committees and sub-committees to help the Ledeta Mariam Church to have its own building.

When the three-year term of the elected church officials was over, a new election was held. The elected officers have a three year term. They also pledged to help to make the church to serve the spiritual needs of its congregation and also to enable the church to have its own church building.

The church is moving forward with its plan to obtain a building permit from Fairfax County. It has submitted all of the necessary documents and almost all of them have received favorable responses from the county. The church expects to get its building permit from the county in early spring of 2012 and plans to lay the foundation for our church immediately.

We know that with God’s help all things are possible. We were able to get to where we are today because God is with us. We believe with God’s help we will lay the foundation for our church soon. Please pray for us and help us to build the Ledeta Mariam Church in Alexandria, VA. May the name of God be blessed today and forever. Amen.


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