I must have passed the property at 14 ½ and Airport Bld hundreds of times, but I don’t recall the congregation that worshipped there previously. A short time ago, I remember seeing some evidence of change, including the boarding up of the front windows. Normally, that would indicate an empty building, perhaps one slated for demolition. Today, I stopped to look closer and was surprised to discover a church and denomination completely new to me, the Ethiopian Evangelical Christian Church.
The Church’s website explains its mission: “…to make a positive difference in the lives of people mainly first generation immigrants from Ethiopia and Eritrea and their families.” Extrapolating from the church’s history, it appears that the congregation moved here in 2013 to accommodate growth. The website invites new members of all backgrounds, though it does help if you speak or understand the Amharic language!
I haven’t tracked down many images on-line and it isn’t clear why the church blocked out its windows. Perhaps they wished to control the interior lighting for a projection system in the worship space. Perhaps the old windows were in such poor shape that boarding them up was the fastest fix. Or, I wonder whether the congregation’s exterior is a sign that it is turned inward at this point in its history. Though the website language is engaging and embracing, for now, outreach is to a finite community from the Ethiopian or Eritrean diaspora. It will be interesting to follow this congregation over time to see if the windows come back as the immigrant community considers itself more established.
Ethiopian Evangelical Christian Church, 3106 E 14th 1/2 StAustin, TX 78702