Bishop William Swing
United Religions Initiative
P.O. Box 29242
San Francisco, CA 94129
Dear Bishop Swing,
My name is Emmett Eldred. I am one of many youth and young adults who belong to an active, passionate movement within the Church of the Brethren to better reflect the love and teachings of Jesus in our everyday lives. I am writing to you as part of a series of over 1000 letters that I will write to public figures and community leaders about the Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN), the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria.
I’m sure you remember the 276 schoolgirls from northern Nigeria who were kidnapped by Boko Haram. About three-fourths of those girls belong to the EYN. In fact, few groups have suffered from violence in Nigeria more severely than the EYN, and their situation continues to worsen.
However, it is not only the suffering of the EYN that makes their story so important for you to hear, but also their inspiring response to their suffering. The Church of the Brethren, including the EYN, is a historic peace church. The EYN have been faithful in steadfast in their commitment to peace, despite their horrific trials.
In the face of great hated, fear, and division, the EYN has consistently responded with far greater love, courage, and community. They understand that as Christians they must beacons of Christ’s love in a landscape darkened by violence. They have become leaders in working to peacefully and sustainably restore community, dialogue, and the dignity of all Nigerians, even when it means great sacrifice.
These people fill me with hope, and I will never stop advocating for them.
I hope you will learn more about the EYN and include them in the programming and messages of the United Religions Institute. The EYN are an example of a faith community working to nonviolently end horrific conflict by extending grace and cruciform love. They represent the possibility of peace in Nigeria, but as their situation continues to grow more dire, they need our partnership to keep their ministry robust. Please, join me in partnering with the EYN to bring about sustainable peace in Nigeria.
With thanks and the love of Christ,
Carnegie Mellon University SMC# 2046
Pittsburgh, PA 15289