By Zakariya Musa
Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) held its 75th General Church Council 2022, or Majalisa, at the denomination’s headquarters in Kwarhi in northeast Nigeria. The council released 12 resolutions.
In related news, EYN’s Women’s Fellowship or ZME has elected new leadership.
EYN president calls for increased security
EYN president Joel S. Billi, in his speech to the highest decision-making body of the church denomination, stressed that the state of the nation of Nigeria has not recorded pleasant change.
“Our security situation is completely dilapidated, nothing seems to improve. We have all become vulnerable in the hands of kidnappers, Boko Haram, and ritual killers. Nigeria has never been barbaric and in a state of anarchy like this.
“We are all witnesses of what our church has been undergoing since 2008 to date. We have been crying every now and then but it seems our cries do not matter or make sense. Kautikari, a town under Chibok Local Government of Borno State, was attacked on 14th January and also 25th February, 2022. They killed people and burnt our church, which was rebuilt recently. EYN Pemi was re-attacked on 20th January, 2022, and they went away with 17 children including a 4-year-old boy. On 28th December, 2021, three siblings (all boys) were killed in Vemgo, Madagali Local Government, Adamawa State.
“If truly the federal government is fighting insurgency and uncovers the sponsors, why is the war endless and why not tell Nigerians who are the sponsors. Nigerians want to know who are the sponsors and should face the wrath of the law no matter who they are.”
Achievements and setbacks in 2021
Despite security challenges faced, the president said the church has recorded a number of achievements as well as setbacks in the year 2021.
The ups and downs include but are not restricted to the following:
• Successful autonomy of newly approved LCBs (congregations) since the 74th Majalisa.
• Ordinations of new pastors.
• Salaries and leave grants.
• Commissioning of Stover Kulp Water/Crago Special Bread factories.
• School of Health and Technology in Garkida.
• Discipleship Centre on the move.
• All IDP camps for displaced people were visited as scheduled.
• Foul payment of 35%, many are still busy strangling the policy.
• No promotion of staff, for lack of enough funds.
• No employment of workers, our financial capacity is inadequate.
• Drifting from our heritage.
• Emergence of tribalism and godfatherism.
• Worldliness in some workers.
• Crave for leadership at all costs.
• Some not seeing ourselves as an entity.
• Down grading of Brethren Micro Finance Bank.
• No functional website.
• Staff are not digitalized.
• Lack of finishing (completing) the Conference Hall.
Looking toward the 100th anniversary of EYN
President Billi reiterated a call on all and sundry to support 100th anniversary of EYN, which is just at hand in 2023.
“It is too obvious that all of us living now will not be witnesses of celebrating EYN at 200 years, if Christ tarries. Therefore, since it is going to be such a rare privilege for all of us to witness and participate in such a celebration, let us unite our hearts and consolidate our efforts toward it. We should not allow ourselves as individuals let alone as a church to miss out manifold blessings of the centenary. Doors are wide open to all members to donate at personal levels, beside the collective levies that were given to all churches earlier. Give or donate as the Spirit leads you, remembering if not for Christ you wouldn’t have been who you are today.”
Thanks and awards
President Billi thanked EYN partners (Church of the Brethren in America, Mission 21 in Switzerland, and some individuals) for their support to run various programs and projects in the most hit church in northeast Nigeria.
The 75th council honored 10 people including a Muslim and traditional ruler with various awards for their contribution and support to humanity and the church in 2021. Five District Church Councils and some DCC secretaries were also awarded by the Majalisa.
Besides reports presented by all directorates, teachings, special guests, and politicians were received by the 1,500 capacity gathering. Among the guests were CAN (Christian Association of Nigeria) chairman for Borno State, Bishop Mohammed Naga; a delegation of Adamawa State Government led by Head of Service Prof. Maxwell Gidado; and traditional rulers.
EYN 75th Majalisa resolutions
- EYN to establish “Estate Department” to be saddled with the responsibility of Property Management, Record Keeping and Documentation of all EYN assets.
- Handling and taking over note to be comprehensive, properly signed, and be done in one month. No handing over by proxy.
- There should be a functional website before the Centenary Celebration, the Office of the General Secretary to ensure that is done.
- 28 LBCs [fellowships] were approved for granting of autonomy to the status of LCC [congregation].
- Three LCC had their names changed, they are LCC Madagali to LCC Madagali No. 1, LCC Fwomughou No 1, and LCC Buzza to LCC Fwomughou No. 2.
- One DCC [church district] to be chartered. The new DCC is Rumirgo from DCC Yawa with the following LCCs Rumirgo No. 1 & 2, Pubagu, Wachirakabu, and Mayoladde.
- Majalisa approved a change of DCC to LCC Kauthama from DCC Askira to DCC Mbalala, reasons proximity and effective communication.
- Appointment of directors: Majalisa ratified the re-appointment of evangelist Musa Daniel Mbaya for a second tenure and Hassana Habu appointed as substantive director of Women’s Ministry.
- Majalisa revised its earlier decision that over payment be forfeited as punishment, effective June 2022, that overpayments would be refunded, but called for caution on the side of financial handlers.
- Taking into account the harsh economic realities, Majalisa reviewed upward minimum income for autonomy from Naira 1,000,000.00 to 2,000,000.00 (100%), effective 2023, and charged churches operating within previous income requirement to meet up.
- Majalisa upheld its earlier stand that staff to grow through rank and file and advertisement for the post of directors would no longer be done, staff would be evaluated, assessed, and promoted, unless where there are no qualified staff advertisement could be done.
- New Spiritual Adviser was elected in the person of Ezra Dawui.
2023 prayer points
• EYN centenary to be smooth and fruitful.
• EYN members to be more God-fearing and committed.
• Boko Haram, ISWAP, bandits, and kidnapping to come to an end.
• 2023 Nigerian elections, to be truly free and fair.
• Ask God to change the heart of Vladimir Putin.
EYN Women’s Fellowship elects new leaders
The EYN ZME Annual General Church Council meeting also was held at the church headquarters in Kwarhi. ZME elected their national leaders during their annual conference on March 23-26. The meeting on the theme “Faithful Steward” included report presentations, a singing competition, a Bible quiz, and other activities of this largest church subgroup.
The director-elect, Suzan Mark, who in recent years served in this capacity, was re-elected to serve for a 3-year tenure. She is successor to Awa Moses, who handed over the office to her in 2016.
The officials elected are:
• Suzan Mark, director
• Asabe Moses, deputy director
• Mary Musa, secretary
• Rejoice Rufus Nggada, assistant secretary
• Tina Paul Bannu, treasurer
• Zipporah Sunday, financial secretary
• Jummai Andrew, choir mistress
— Zakariya Musa is head of Media for Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria).
Find more Church of the Brethren news:
- Standing with People of Color Committee begins its work
- Upcoming book studies from Part-Time Pastor; Full-Time Church
- ‘Simple gifts’ is the theme for this year’s Advent devotional from Brethren Press
- EYN development partners conduct workshop on ‘Prevention of Sexual Exploitation, Abuse, and Harassment’
- United Nations representative provides updates