The Church was established in 1978 as the first Ethiopian Church in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area; and was duly registered under the laws of the District of Colombia in December 1979. In 1981, it was designated a faith based organization and was issued Federal Tax exempt status under section 501(c) (3) of the U.S. Department of Treasury.
With the Lord's blessing, construction of our Church at 4401 Old Branch Avenue, Temple Hill, MD 20748 was completed in November 2003 and we've been located there ever since.
Debre Genet was established to maintain religious worship and prayer according to the teaching of Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church. It abides by all Ecclesiastical laws and regulations of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church regarding Faith and Worship.
The Ecclesiastical Council and a Board of Directors, each with separate powers, administer the Church.
The Ecclesiastical Council is composed of the Head Priest, Assistant Head Priest, Associate Priests, Preachers, Arch Deacon, and Deacons. The Council is responsible for all religious activities of the Church; ensuring that all religious matters are in compliance with the theology of the Ethiopian Tewahido Orthodox Church, delivering Sermon, administering Sunday Liturgy and Mass, Baptisms, Weddings and Memorial Services. In addition, all the Spiritual Leaders perform the duties of giving Sacraments, visitation and comforting the sick. The Council also supervises all spiritual education programs for members of the congregation of all ages and participates in fund-raising and charitable activities.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
The tasks of the Board are specified in the Church bylaw. Board members are elected by ballot cast by the congregation to serve a term. They are given the mandate to implement the policy of the Church as adopted by the congregation. The Board has eleven (11) members. Nine (9) selected by the General Assembly, the tenth will be the Head Priest, and the eleventh is a priest selected by the Council of Clergy. Of these, the Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer, Accountant, and the Head of the Youth Fellowship, hold the titles of Church Officers.
The duties of the Officers are: General supervision of the affairs of the Church, maintenance of all "non-cash" Church property, maintenance of Board attendance and minutes at all meetings, preservation of financial statements and all legal papers, and presentation of financial reports as specified by the Board of Trustees. Much of the work of the Church is accomplished through committees that are appointed by the Board of Trustees. The remaining Board Members chair various committees as assigned by the Board of Trustees.
At the present time the following are standing committees:
- Council of Elders
- Building Committee
- Education Committee
- Public Relation Committee
- Fund Raising Committee
- Finance Committee
- Gedamate Committee
Council of Elders
This committee is composed of senior members and Clergy tasked with handling matters of arbitration and reconciliation in order to ensure the Church is run in a peaceful and unified manner.
The members of the Building Committee are in charge for the entire process of the construction of the Church. Starting from the purchasing of the land, they are involved with obtaining various building permits, choosing architects and contractors, coordinating their work schedules, securing mortgage loans and monitoring the work flow of the entire construction.
The Education Committee is responsible for the arrangements of Sunday school and various youth programs.
Public Relation Committee
This Committee is responsible for promoting the good image and overall mission of the Church. Its activities include membership drives, writing of the newsletter, helping the congregation meet its spiritual needs, such as sending holy water to the sick, post cards and kind words to the bereaved.
Fund Raising Committee
This Committee is established to raise funds for the operation of Church. Its additional goal is to foster unity and fellowship of our congregation by organizing various family events.
The Committee members are responsible for assisting the Treasurer in maintaining the Church's financial accounts, and providing monthly and quarterly financial reports. Their duty also includes creating a balanced budget and an annual forecast.
The Gedamat and Wogen Merja Committee is the newest standing committee of Debre Genet MedhaneAlem Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (DGMA). The committee was expressly established to coordinate and facilitate the charitable activities of the church.
Since its inception, DGMA has participated in charitable activities responding to the emergency needs of communities in Ethiopia, in the US and around the world on ad-hoc basis. In 2013, the Administrative Board of the church resolved to formalize the charitable activities of the church and established the Gedamat and Wogen Merja Committee. The committee has led the implementation of several projects that provided emergency aid to monasteries, communities around monasteries and to families of Ethiopians killed by ISIL in Libya.
In the advent of the recent El Nino caused drought and food crisis in Ethiopia the committee was tasked by the Board of Trustees of DGMA to reorganize itself and develop a short and long term vision for DGMA in support of the relief and transformational effort of people affected by the drought.
In addition to the Committees listed above, the Board of Directors from time to time establishes sub-committees to handle special assignments. The life of such sub-committees may span from a few days to many months, depending on the work program