Nigerian Brethren Hold 65th Annual General Church Council

Photo by Zakariya Musa
The 65th Annual General Church Council or “Majalisa” of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN–the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) was held April 17-20. Jay Wittmeyer (front row at right) attended as representative of the US Church of the Brethren. Wittmeyer serves as executive director of Global Mission and Service.

The 65th Annual General Church Council or “Majalisa” of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN–the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) was held April 17-20 with the theme, “Building a Living and Relevant Church.” This was the first Majalisa led by Samuel Dali as EYN president.

Addressing the Majalisa, Dali said that during his first year in service he was a student learning about the church’s administration and her problems. In less than 10 months, he has met with all the District Church Councils (DCC) of EYN, that are grouped into 11 zones. He urged the participants, “Let’s be one in decision making and by so doing our meeting will gain God’s blessings.”

The DCC secretary of Mubi, who was the guest speaker, based his message on Matthew 16:13-19. He challenged the participants to fight ungodly conduct found in churches today, such as corruption, injustice, and their like, and to provide jobs for youth. “We must listen to people’s needs in order to reduce problems that are sending the entire citizenry into confusion, because people are the church,” he said. In addition, several other scholars also taught at the Majalisa on different topics.

Awards of recognition were presented to 30 people. This is the first time the church has made such a recognition at the Majalisa. Awardees included the first EYN female theologian, the Deputy Governor of Adamawa State, along with a number of EYN national leaders, several of EYN’s district general secretaries, Women’s Fellowship (ZME) directors, youth directors, and pastors. EYN general secretary Jinatu L. Wamdeo, while presenting the names of awardees, expressed the view that they deserve recognition for their contributions to the development of EYN.

The Majalisa made some important decisions:
— EYN through the Majalisa has decided to speak with the same voice with the Christian Association of Nigeria on matters of security in Nigeria.
— EYN has decided to strengthen her educational institutions in order to provide quality Christian education to members.
— EYN has decided to pursue microfinance banking to strengthen youth and empower her members economically.
— EYN has decided to establish security intelligence to network security across the denomination.

Meeting in a situation of insecurity

The annual conference was held under tight security, where all participants were thoroughly checked while going into the hall. During the meeting, the Women’s Fellowship presented a song of encouragement in a situation of insecurity.

Commenting on the security challenges in Nigeria–particularly in northern Nigeria–Dali encouraged members to be strong and not to be confused by terrorist acts. He called on Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan to be more serious in fighting terrorism, in order to prevent Nigeria from falling into total collapse, and to be faithful in tackling unemployment and admission into colleges and universities for the benefit of youth.

Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of Global Mission and Service for the Church of the Brethren, attended from the United States. He encouraged EYN members to seek peace in a time of persecution. Wittmeyer said the Brethren are praying for Nigeria and other countries facing  persecution such as Sudan, Somalia, North and South Korea, Congo. Many were moved by his words.

The EYN general secretary after his report asked the house to observe a silence in remembrance of pastors lost in the year 2011-12 and prayers were ushered for the families who lost loved ones in Boko Haram attacks.

Responses to the Majalisa

After the Majalisa, a reporter for EYN’s “Sabon Haske” asked participants how they saw it. A former general secretary of EYN said, “One of the things that excited me was the topic ‘Building a Living and Relevant Church.’ I think if people put into use what is taught, it will bring progress to the church.” When asked, how do you see church’s existence in the urban areas in the face of violence, he responded, “Protection comes from God in rural or urban areas.”

The principal of Madu Bible School in Marama, said, “This year’s Majalisa was perfect, the agenda was followed accordingly, delegates were privileged to talk. The only problem we saw was at the kitchen, the food was not ready in time.”

During the meeting, Dali had announced that delegates would be given more chances to talk. A delegate from DCC Gwoza expressed his satisfaction: “It was seen clearly that delegates had their say and they will report to the members. The president has a vision for this and it is good.”

The convention was organized by several committees. The chair of the main committee was asked if the meeting went as planned. “Yes,” he said, adding, “there is always a point of correction as usual, because people complained much about the meals. We are Brethren even during eating.”

— This is excerpted from a lengthier report on the Majalisa provided by Zakariya Musa, secretary of EYN’s “New Light.” Most individual names have been left out of this excerpt because of security concerns.

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