NCC joins call for the release of 234 kidnapped Nigerian school girls
Washington, May 1, 2014 – The National Council of Churches USA has joined in “urgent solidarity” with Christians and other faith groups around the world to call for the release of 234 Nigerian school girls kidnapped April 14 by the Boko Haram extremist sect.
Speaking out with special urgency is the Church of the Brethren, one of the NCC’s member communions. 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,” Noffsinger said. “We pray God’s unconditional love will touch the consciences of the men who did this.”
The girls were kidnapped in Chibok, Nigeria, by a sect that uses violence to seek a “pure” Islamic state.
“All members of the National Council of Churches pray for the safe release of the girls,” said Jim Winkler, President and General Secretary of the NCC.
“We also urge government officials in the U.S. and Nigeria to use all available peaceful means to assure the release of these girls to their grief-stricken parents,” Winkler said.
EYN President Samuel Dali spoke to World Watch Monitor a week after the kidnapping. “We haven’t heard anything that the government is planning. Even some in the state government who are supposed to direct us are starting to complain that the federal government needs to do something. We just hear people saying we need to do something, we need to do something, but we just don’t know what needs to be done."
A grieving father of one of the school girls called on Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan “to take the necessary measures to free our children. We really feel neglected. I am convinced that if these abducted girls were their own daughters, they would have done something. We call on the kidnappers to listen to our cry and sorrow and let our children come back home."
Since its founding in 1950, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA has been the leading force for shared ecumenical witness among Christians in the United States. The NCC's 37 member communions -- from a wide spectrum of Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, Evangelical, historic African American and Living Peace churches -- include 45 million persons in more than 100,000 local congregations in communities across the nation.
NCC News contact: Philip E. Jenks, 646-853-4212 (cell), firstname.lastname@example.org