District Conference calls Western Plains to respond to Nigeria crisis

Published on Sep 10th, 2015 by wpd-office | 0

District Conference is challenging the Western Plains District to provide at least $200,000 to the crisis among our Nigerian brothers and sisters, where the militant group Boko Haram is burning church buildings and killing pastors and church leaders and many other Christian and Muslim civilians.

Since 1923 the Church of the Brethren has had a special relationship with a Nigeria mission that resulted in the formation of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria (EYN), which has grown to a worshipping community of over one million persons (far larger than its parent denomination.) We have rejoiced in the EYN’s growth, its role as a lead Protestant church in Northern Nigeria, its ability to operate and support itself independently from the Church of the Brethren in the U.S., and its own outreach to needs in Nigeria and surrounding areas of West Africa.

Please see the link to the information piece, “Crisis in Nigeria” to learn of the devastation caused by the activities of the terrorist group Boko Haram in the last two years, leaving some 700,000 Nigeria Brethren severely impacted.

The urgent need is resulting in a major response across our church. Since 2014 the Mission and Ministry Board of the Church of the Brethren has allocated $1.5 million of its reserves and existing Emergency Disaster Fund resources to a broad response to this crisis in partnership with the Nigerian church and has called on the wider Brethren to contribute generously to needs through 2016. As of early June over $3.0 million had been contributed to a goal of $5.3 million by the end of 2016.

Many persons and congregations in Western Plains have a strong connection to the church in Nigeria. The EYN church and related social ministries have been a key part of our outreach for many years. We have in our midst workers from Nigeria ministries from years past. So it is not surprising that there is already a strong desire to be part of the denominational response to the Nigeria crisis. The Church of the Brethren finance office reports that as of mid-May churches and individuals from Western Plains District had already contributed over $65,000 to the appeal, including gifts from 15 congregations and 60 individuals.

The action of District Conference was requested by the Transformation Vision Team, growing out of active discussion in the Gathering Planning Team and support of the District’s Transformation Training Team. Conference calls for the following action:

  • Encouraging the Western Plains Brethren to take a strong role in responding generously to our brothers and sisters in Nigeria.
  • Setting a significant goal ($200,000) for the response of Western Plains congregations and individuals.
  • Continuing and increasing efforts to share information about this need.

The upcoming Gathering conference (October 30- November 1) will feature this emergency and response through the leadership of Global Mission and Service executive, Jay Wittmeyer in a Saturday General session and as the Sunday morning preacher. The offerings at Gathering, in addition to providing important support for the District’s transformation initiatives, will feature a Sunday morning offering for the Nigeria Response.

Congregations are encouraged to use their own creative initiative to find ways to support this effort. The Nigeria link with this story can suggest useful resources.

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