More than $500,000 has been raised for the Nigeria Crisis Fund, meeting a matching challenge issued by the Church of the Brethren Mission and Ministry Board last fall. As of Dec. 31, 2014, the Nigeria Crisis Fund had received a total of $506,100.50 in donations.
“Once again the Brethren have amazed me,” commented general secretary Stan Noffsinger. “At a time of year when there are many demands on our finances, members of the church have generously given. We are part of a family of churches that span the globe and when one is in crisis, all join with them, just as the church did after the Haiti earthquake. We don’t expect that generosity to wane because we’ve met the challenge match. We will walk with the Nigerian Brethren through this time of turmoil so they are not alone.
“We hear frequently from Samuel Dali, president of EYN, that the e-mails and letters and financial assistance serve as a tremendous encouragement at a time when Nigeria is frequently overlooked by the international community,” Noffsinger added. “They know their church family cares for them, cares for the displaced people, the orphaned children, and the widows.”
The Nigeria Crisis Fund supports the crisis relief effort of the Church of the Brethren and Brethren Disaster Ministries working cooperatively with Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). For details about this relief effort, go to www.brethren.org/nigeriacrisis .
In Oct. 2014, the denomination’s Mission and Ministry board challenged Brethren to raise a half million dollars for the crisis response effort in Nigeria, pledging to match that with funds from denominational reserves. At that time the board also committed $500,000 from reserves, and approved an allocation of $500,000 from the denomination’s Emergency Disaster Fund.
The amount cited above does not include an allocation of $500,000 from the Brethren Disaster Relief Auction, which was given to the denomination’s Emergency Disaster Fund with flexibility for part or all of it to support the Nigeria Crisis Response, as the rapidly changing situation in Nigeria requires.
With the matching challenge now met, the Church of the Brethren has more than $2 million in funds that have been donated or allocated to the Nigeria crisis response effort.
Many people and churches contributed
Donations toward the matching challenge came from individuals and congregations, with many church groups holding special fundraisers and events in support of EYN and its members as they continue to face violence in the northeast of Nigeria, and many thousands of Nigerian Brethren are displaced from their homes.
“The response to the plight of our Nigerian brothers and sisters is exciting,” said Carl and Roxane Hill, co-directors of the Nigeria Crisis Response. They shared the following story of how “one small church with a big heart” raised money toward the matching challenge:
“During December, they decorated their Christmas tree with a Nigerian emphasis, topping it with an angel in Nigerian clothing. This church does a ‘mug dump’ each month. The idea is to put all your daily loose change into a mug and then at the end of the month bring it to church and dump into a larger container.
“They choose different ministries to give to each month. December was designated for Nigeria. They gathered $1,700. This money is enough to purchase over 60 bags of grain in Nigeria. Each bag will feed a family of six people for six weeks. So their little ‘mug dump’ will feed 364 people for 6 weeks.
“Who would think loose change for a month could do so much?”
For more about the crisis in Nigeria and the cooperative effort of EYN, Brethren Disaster Ministries, and the Church of the Brethren, go to www.brethren.org/nigeriacrisis .