University of Southern California
University Park Campus
Los Angeles, California 90089-0281
Dear Ms. Winston,
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 media over the next year about the Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN), the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria.
The EYN’s story is incredibly important and challenging. I’m sure you remember the 276 schoolgirls from northern Nigeria who were kidnapped by Boko Haram. Roughly three-fourths of those girls belong to the EYN. In fact, few groups have suffered from the violence in Nigeria as severely as the EYN, and their situation continues to worsen.
However, it is not only the suffering of the EYN that makes their story so remarkable, but also their courageous, inspiriting response to their suffering. The Church of the Brethren, including the EYN, is a historic peace church. The EYN have been steadfast and faithful in their commitment to building peace, despite their horrific trials.
In the face of great hatred, fear, and division, the EYN consistently respond with far greater love, courage, and community. They understand that they must be beacons of Christ’s love to a landscape darkened by violence. They have become leaders in working to restore community, dialogue, and the dignity of all Nigerians, even when it has meant terrible 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 share their story with the readers of Religion Dispatches. The EYN represent the possibility of peace in Nigeria, but they need our partnership and help to make that possibility a reality. Your readers are sure to be inspired and challenged by the EYN. In our media, we hear a lot about terrible violence and horrific situations filled with evil. I think it is important to hear about the people working within those situations to overcome evil with good.
With thanks and the love of Christ,
Carnegie Mellon University SMC# 2046
Pittsburgh, PA 15289