December 1, 2014
To: Mennonite World Conference Member-Churches
Where one Prayer is given, two are needed:
Urgent Appeal: A Shower of Prayer, Solidarity, and Blessing
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ:
We greet you again in the name of Christ, the Prince of Peace.
I. In late September/2014 we wrote to each of you with an urgent appeal for “prayer, solidarity, and blessing” for the dire situation of the churches in the Middle East (We are attaching that letter again).
We know that some of you have responded. And we have heard from Middle East church leaders how critically important our solidarity is for them.
With this letter, we want to urge those who have not yet done so, to continue the “shower” with the Middle East churches. The details of how to do so are in the attached letter. Please do consider giving these, our brothers and sisters, a message of peace, hope, and goodwill during this time of advent and Christmas.
II. But today we come to you with a second urgent appeal.
In a recent news release, Samuel Dali, the President of the EYN, provided some details of what is happening:
- He warns of the possibility of “genocide” of Christians in northern Nigeria;
- 3,038 members of the EYN have been killed
- Eight pastors have been killed;
- 80 members have been kidnapped;
- He writes: “EYN is severely damaged by the terrorists in many ways. The whole Lardin Gabas, the historical center of EYN, has been almost destroyed. So, continue to pray so that the Lord can increase our faith and give the strength to bear the suffering.”
- “The people they have killed are still uncounted and not buried”;
- 56 local church councils or parishes have been closed.
- Nearly half of the 156 local church councils and 21 local church branches have been burned down;
- More than 2,287 houses belonging to EYN members have been burned.
- 96,000 of the EYN members are displaced.
This wave of violence against the EYN is not slowing down. We encourage you to:
1) Become informed of what our brothers and sisters are experiencing. Several pieces of information, including a short video that shares details, are available at:
2) These resources indicate the coordinated response that the Church of the Brethren in the USA is providing. More information is available at www.Brethren.org
Again, a shower of prayer, blessing, solidarity, and financial support is needed for the suffering church in Nigeria.
Please do send us a cc. of your correspondence, or let us know of the connections you are able to make. It is good for us to know of initiatives that are possible. Thank you very much.
The Apostle Paul teaches us to:
Bear one another's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2).
Often in situations such as this, it is the sense of loneliness and lack of evident support from others that is most discouraging. Let us bear these burdens together.
Let us assure these brothers and sisters of prayers and actions on their behalf.
May God grant mercy to those who suffer the pain of torture, kidnapping, murder, rape, and loss of home;
May God transform the hearts and imaginations of those who instill violence and injustice;
May God give wisdom to those of us who feel helpless and who cry with the saints under the altar of heaven: “how long” (Revelation 6:5-6);
May God make us instruments of peace in a world of misguided paths of justice.
Robert Suderman Cesar Garcia
Secretary Peace Commission General Secretary
Mennonite World Conference Mennonite World Conference
(Click here for pdf copy of this letter.)