|Above, a view of last year’s Majalisa, and the women’s choir singing for worship for the 2012 annual meeting of EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria. These photos from last year’s annual meeting give a glimpse into the scene at the Nigerian Brethren yearly church council. Below, meals for the gathering are prepared in an outdoor kitchen.
Photos by Carol Smith
“Our first Majalisa was a good experience,” report Carl and Roxane Hill, Church of the Brethren mission workers with Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN–the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). “We were given an opportunity to give a short welcome so both Carl and I spoke for a few minutes. There were over 1,000 in attendance. We were also put on a committee to hand out ballots and count the votes for the elections.”
EYN’s 66th Majalisa was held April 16-19 on the theme, “Reclaiming Our Heritage as Peace Church in Such a Time Like This.”
“We were impressed with EYN’s plans to provide for so many public services that we take for granted in the USA (schools, health, security),” wrote the Hills in an e-mail report.
The Hills serve with EYN alongside another Church of the Brethren teacher, Carol Smith. During the meeting, the Hills had an opportunity to meet with several pastors as well as the district secretary from Maiduguri to hear first hand about the trouble that has occurred in that northeastern Nigeria city.
“It seems that the reports given to the public are often inaccurate in terms of the number of deaths,” the Hills wrote. “One thing they have not mentioned is that more Muslims have been killed by the violence than Christians.” The Hills reported that they have learned from two different sources that the ratio “may be even two to one” in terms of numbers of Muslims killed as compared to numbers of Christians killed by the Islamist extremist terror attacks in Nigeria in recent years.
Report on Majalisa
Toma Ragnijiya spoke several times during the conference about the theme, “Reclaiming Our Peace Heritage.” EYN president Samuel Dali gave an opening speech highlighting the vision for the future of EYN including new construction projects and the creation of new boards (see below). He challenged the EYN church to remain wise as serpents but gentle as doves through this time of persecution.
The new boards created by EYN include an Education Board that will focus on the quality of existing EYN schools as well as assess the need for additional schools. A grant from Japan will be used to build a new primary school at Nyeji in Nasarawa State.
A new Health Management Board will oversee the major health clinics. Two doctors have been requested from the Church of the Brethren in the United States. Meanwhile, an offering was taken during the Majalisa to provide a salary for local doctors. Three ambulances and other medical equipment has been supplied by the MDGS.
A Security Board will be responsible for obtaining and training security personnel. They will focus on gathering intelligence as well as providing security. Press releases will be handled through this board.
A Microfinance Bank Board will empower the EYN community economically. When operational, these banks will provide employment and small loans. The church in general was very excited about this new venture.
An Agricultural Board will oversee various agricultural projects.
In elections, Musa Mambula was re-elected to the post of Spiritual Advisor. Two trustees were elected, one for the Garkida area and one for the Lassa area.
In other business: Audit reports from last year were favorable. An increase in wages for EYN workers was approved. Directors will now be promoted from within departments instead of opening the jobs to outside applicants.
For more about the Church of the Brethren’s Global Mission and Service work in Nigeria, and more information about EYN, go to www.brethren.org/partners/nigeria .