GTF is an NGO established in Ethiopia in 1992 by family and friends of the late Reverend Gudina Tumsa to carry on his vision.
The religious persecution and assassinations of the bygone communist regimes of the world are few of the cruelest forms of injustice and human rights violation to be remembered. One of the numerous victims of such an act of a dictatorial regime, at the beginning of the 4th quarter of our century, was the General Secretary of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, the Reverend Gudina Tumsa. As one Church historian put it “… he was one of the Church pillars Africa ever produced in the 20th century.” The life of this charismatic church leader has captured the interests of several writers—some have written books and papers on him while others have dedicated their books to him.
Through tremendous efforts and perseverance, Gudina worked hard up the educational scales and attained the status of a reputed evangelical Church leader upon his return from the United States of America, after the completion of his studies in the mid 1960s. His experiences over the early years of his studies, his services in the early years of his ministry in the rural areas of Ethiopia and later as the General Secretary of the EECMY, enabled him to conjure the famous thesis entitled “The Interrelation between the Proclamation of the Gospel and Human Development.” This remarkable thesis echoed and reverberated in Lutheran Churches all over the world, serving as an agreement of transition and integration. Through this thesis and several other documents, he created awareness among the global Lutheran communities and in the World Council of Churches. This document challenged the traditional theological and missionary trends that the Western Churches held for decades in their approach to the case of their mission fields in Africa. Consequently, this very fact inspired Lutheran Churches in Africa as to how a Church should minister to the various needs of people in the continent if the Church should remain a true representative of God’s kingdom.
His exemplary life as well as his writings have challenged several thinkers and Church leaders in the global Lutheran communities. Dr. Eide, the author of “Revolution and Religion in Ethiopia”, aptly summarized his stature as follows:
“Throughout the whole period 1974-1978, Gudina Tumsa stood out as the driving spiritual and intellectual force behind the changes attempted by the EECMY to meet the challenges of the revolution. Harbouring a burning compassion for the poor and the down-trodden, he took on an almost prophetic role in interpreting the signs of the time, and formulating guidelines for his church to follow.”
He stood firm on his faith in Christ and set an exemplary life of dedication in the face of persecution of Christians in the country. He felt martyrdom rather than compromising with the view of the tempter, even though giving in might have eased the outward situation of the Church and her members. Gudina Tumsa was assassinated on July 28, 1979.
Gudina Tumsa’s ideals, principles & vision were aptly picked up by his family members, co-workers and friends, both in Ethiopia and abroad, who established a foundation in his name. GUDINA TUMSA FOUNDATION (GTF) was founded in 1992 in Addis Ababa and registered as a national NGO with the Associations Registration Office of the Ministry of Justice.