Brethren Disaster Ministries is directing $25,000 from the church’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) to aid Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa a Nigeria (EYN--the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) during a time of escalating violence in northeastern Nigeria. The money will be contributed through EYN’s Compassion Fund.
Combined with other donations to aid Nigerian Brethren made through the Global Mission and Service office, the Church of the Brethren in the US is contributing a total of $60,000 to the EYN Compassion Fund. This is in addition to the $41,468.25 contributed to the Compassion Fund by American Brethren in 2013.
The past few years have seen escalating violence in northeastern Nigeria, in particular incidents of terrorist violence carried out by an Islamist extremist group called Boko Haram. The group is targeting Christian communities and places of worship among other targets that include Muslim mosques and moderate Muslim leaders, traditional leaders, as well as schools and government institutions such as police stations and army barracks.
With the vast majority of EYN churches in northeastern Nigeria, the violence is having a very real and devastating impact on EYN communities and many church members, said the grant request.
In a recent report to the Global Mission and Service office of the Church of the Brethren in the US, EYN president Samuel Dali shares that “churches in northern Nigeria are living and working in a context of systematic persecution. . . . The so called Boko Haram sect, or Muslim jihadists, have been hunting church leaders and their members every day, in Muslim-dominated states such as Borno, Yobe, Kaduna, Kano, and Adamawa. Pastors and their members working in these northern states are facing dangers day by day.”
Dali shares that at least 245 EYN members have been killed and many more injured in this violence. A great deal of property has been burned including 22 church buildings, 9 Local Church Branches, and more than 1,000 homes, affecting thousands of members. Additionally many vehicles, generators, and other property have been destroyed.
“The combination of this violence, destruction, and ongoing fear of more violence calls for a US church response,” the Brethren Disaster Ministries staff said. “Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa a Nigeria is asking for our prayers and encouragement. They hope to provide shelter, food, clothing and medical care for those impacted by this violence and help rebuild churches.”
The allocation from the EDF will provide EYN with resources for this emergency response. Dali reports that “the immediate physical need now is shelter for the thousands that have been displaced, medicine for those, or money to pay medical bills for the wounded. Presently, there are 1,050 houses belonging to Christians that have been burnt down and the people are living in the bush hiding for their life. These people are in serious need of food and clothing as all their belongings have been either looted or burnt down. We also need material to rebuild and roof the destroyed and burnt church structures. There is also a need for money to buy food, cloth, and construct local shelter as the rain season is approaching.”
The funds will be channeled into the EYN Compassion Fund, which supports Nigerian Brethren who have lost a family member, home, or property due to the violence, with a special focus on the families of ministers. The fund was started by Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria as a mechanism for Nigerian Brethren to demonstrate mutuality in support of one another.
“Our giving to the EYN Compassion Fund expresses our fellowship in the suffering of our sister church as it endures this difficult time of tribulation,” said Brethren Disaster Ministries staff.
More information about the Church of the Brethren work in Nigeria is at www.brethren.org/nigeria . For information about Brethren Disaster Ministries go to www.brethren.org/bdm . To give to the Emergency Disaster Fund go to www.brethren.org/edf or mail gifts to Emergency Disaster Fund, Church of the Brethren General Offices, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120.