VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 5/7/14)—On April 14, over 200 girls were kidnapped from their school in Chibok, Nigeria, by Boko Haram, an Islamic sect in northern Nigeria violently seeking a ‘pure’ Islamic state.
The Church of the Brethren, with whom American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA) has a special relationship, and Shoulder-to-Shoulder, a national campaign of interfaith, faith-based and religious organizations dedicated to ending anti-Muslim sentiment of which ABCUSA is a founding member, have asked that we join in prayer and advocacy action with them.
Church of the Brethren Office of Public Witness reports:
Last week (May 1) a bipartisan group of Senators introduced Senate Resolution 433 condemning the kidnapping and calling upon the US and Nigeria to work together to promote women’s rights, security of schools, assistance in rescuing and reintegrating the girls, among other things. At this time asking your Senator to support this resolution is a critical action that can make a difference in Nigeria. The more that your Senators hear from you, the more officials from the US State Department and from the Obama administration will hear from them, and this will help our American leaders see Nigeria and the kidnapped girls as a priority.
We must lift up our voices and remember that each of us are members of one body, brought together by Christ (Ephesians 2: 16-18). We are connected to one another by this Jesus we follow, and it is Jesus who proclaims freedom to the prisoners and release of the oppressed (Luke 4: 18-19). These kidnapped Nigerian girls are our sisters and we must stand in solidarity with them and with our Lord.
ADVOCACY ACTION: Click here to find and contact your Senators
E-mail or call your Senators today and tell them to co-sponsor Senate Resolution 433 and to ask Secretary of State Kerry to put pressure on Nigeria to:
- Peacefully work for the release of all of the kidnapped girls, give heed to the calls of their families for help, and work with neighboring countries to bring the girls back home,
- Put in place measures to protect schools and students from becoming victims of violence and human trafficking
- Begin “just policing” practices that would help address some of the security concerns of both Christian and Muslim communities
- Support efforts of moderate Muslim leaders and concerned Christians to work together toward peace and to renew good relations between neighbors of different backgrounds.
Leadership of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria (Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria—EYN) has reported that most of the girls are EYN.
“This act of cruel violence tears at the hearts of Brethren who are called as witnesses of God’s call to live in love and peace with our neighbors,” said Stan Noffsinger, general secretary of the Church of the Brethren in the U.S. “We are grateful for the prayers of millions of Christians, Muslims, and Jews around the world. We pray God’s unconditional love will touch the consciences of the men who did this.”
American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA) has worked with the Church of the Brethren on numerous past and recent issues. Shoulder-to-Shoulder, founded in November 2010 by over 20 national religious groups, works not only on a national level, but offers strategies and support to local and regional efforts to address anti-Muslim sentiment and seeks to spread the word abroad.
Please join with us in prayer and advocacy over this very serious issue.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.