In a letter being mailed this week, each Church of the Brethren congregation is invited to pray for one of the schoolgirls abducted from Chibok, Nigeria, by name. The majority of the more than 200 abducted schoolgirls, ages 16 to 18, were from EYN (Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) although the group included both Muslim and Christian girls.
The letter from general secretary Stanley J. Noffsinger and Global Mission and Service executive Jay Wittmeyer, also highlights the fact that for the past several years EYN has been among the Christian and Muslim communities attacked by Boko Haram, an extremist Islamic sect that carried out the abduction of the school girls.
“When asked what the American church can do at this time to be supportive, EYN leaders asked for us to engage in prayer and fasting,” the letter says, in part. “Most of the girls abducted from Chibok were from Christian and Brethren homes, but many were from Muslim homes, and we are not making a distinction between them in our prayers. It is important for us to pray for the safety of all children.”
The fear is that these girls are to be trafficked and sold by their captors, and may end up being sold as slaves across the border into surrounding countries such as Niger and Chad.
The letter notes that the Church of the Brethren has contributed more than $100,000 to the EYN Compassion Fund over the last year to support Nigerian Brethren affected by the violence, “But we need to do more.”
The letter includes an enclosure with the names of 180 abducted girls–both Christian and Muslim–provided by EYN’s liaison officer, from a list published by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). Each name on the list is being assigned to six congregations for focused prayer.