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Mendedo installed at Concordia

Concordia College formally installed its seventh president, the Rev. Dr. Tilahun Mekennen Mendedo, on Thursday in the Julius and Mary Jenkins Center on campus.

Students, teachers, faculty, priests and members of the community gathered to welcome Rev. Mendedo into the Concordia family.

More than 25 pastors from churches in Alabama and Florida visited to offer prayers for many years of continuation of blessing for the college, blessings for Rev. Mendedo’s family and welcome to Rev. Mendedo, either with formal greetings or with the laying on of the hands portion of the installation service. Students of the Concordia College Choir sang selections during the service as well.

“If I may, president, I declare this your day because from this day forward you will be associated with this day of Jan. 14, 2010,” said the Rev. Dr. McNair Ramsey of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Vredenburgh.

Student Government Association president Randy Arnold offered a welcome to Rev. Mendedo.

“On behalf of the student body, I promise to work with you on behalf of the student body of Concordia College,” Mr. Arnold said.

The former president of Concordia College, Dr. Julius Jenkins, shared advice for the new president.

“Be confident and look at the glass being half full, not half empty,” Dr. Jenkins said. “I would encourage you to be appreciative and encourage those with whom you work.”

When Rev. Mendedo took the podium for the first time as formally installed president, the room resounded with a standing ovation. He began by thanking all those who helped to bring him to the position at the college and keep Concordia going for so many years.

“If not for your effort, I would not be here today,” Rev. Mendedo said. “It is my honor and privilege to say that we all will work hand in hand to move forward. I’m not here to give you promises and high expectations, but I know if we trust in the Lord and pull onto him, the Lord will do great things for us.”

Of the many plans Rev. Mendedo has for the college, some of the most important projects he wants to tackle are to work with Wallace Community College Selma in partnership programs, start a graduate program at the Concordia branch here, open a comprehensive childcare program at the United Methodist Children’s Home to watch children while single parents attend classes and create counseling programs.

“Thank you to the city of Selma,” Rev. Mendedo said. “Without the public and the city of Selma, Concordia would not be what it is today.”

Rev. Mendedo began his service with the college on Jan. 1. He has also served as pastor of Faith Lutheran church in Mobile and taught as an adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of South Alabama and Spring Hill College.

In addition to this, he has served in the church as an evangelist, youth leader, church elder, Bible school teacher, project director and curriculum advisor for the theological centers in Ethiopia, school administrator of the Theological Training Center of the EECMY-Central Ethiopia Synod in Addis Ababa, coordinator of the Mobile Bible Schools of the Mekane Yesus Church (the Lutheran Church in Ethiopia) within the past 17 years.

Rev. Mendedo has academic memberships in American Missiology Society, Evangelical Missionlogical Society, Lutheran Society of Missiology and other Academic Societies in the United States, earned his bachelor degree in counseling and a masters in systematic theology and his doctorate in missiology, or mission science, from Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne, Ind. Missiology is the area of practical theology that investigates the mandate, message and work of the Christian missionary.

Rev. Mendedo is married to Aberash Aklilu, and they have three children: Hawii, Yeabsira, and Amen. He is a native of the Arssi region in Ethiopia.