409 E. Main St.
Madison WI 53703
Dear Ms. Conniff,
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.
I originally started writing these letters because the EYN has been one of the most severely devastated groups of people by the violence in Nigeria. 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, and that is only one example of their tremendous suffering.
However, the EYN’s story is so important to share not only because of their suffering, but also because of their remarkable response to their suffering. The Church of the Brethren, including the EYN, is a historic peace church. The EYN have been faithful and steadfast in their commitment to building peace, despite their horrific trials.
Today, several news sources reported that a ceasefire has been reached between the Nigerian government and Boko Haram. Conditions of the ceasefire implicate a possible end to hostilities by Boko Haram and the release of the schoolgirls. Whether this ceasefire happens or not, I believe that now more than ever we need to support the EYN. They are a stable organization that is committed to building peace through the restoration of community, dialogue, and the dignity of all Nigerians. They are beacons of Christ’s love to a landscape darkened by violence.
I believe that the EYN have to help guide Nigeria to peace, as they have already been working to do. History has demonstrated time and again that smart investments in stability and development are essential to moving a war torn region towards sustainable peace. The EYN have a long tradition of resisting evil, rather than seeking out vengeance against the evildoers.
The EYN are equipped and dedicated to addressing the systemic causes of violence in Nigeria, and they need our awareness and partnership now more than ever. As they seek to plant the roots of peace in this ceasefire, please, share their story and encourage your readers to get involved. I look forward to hearing from you. Please don’t hesitate to contact me in the whatever way is most convenient for you.
With thanks and the love of Christ,
Carnegie Mellon University SMC# 2046
Pittsburgh, PA 15289