University of Houston
4800 Calhoun Rd
Mail Code: H4013
Houston, TX 77004
Dear Professor Williams,
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 live more socially responsible lives that better reflect the love and teachings of Jesus. I am writing to you as part of a series of over 1000 letters that I will be writing to public figures over the next year about the Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN), the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria.
I’m sure you remember the 276 school girls from northern Nigeria who were kidnapped by Boko Haram. Few realize that three-fourths of those girls belong to the EYN. In fact, few groups have suffered more severely from the violence in Nigeria than the EYN, and their situation continues to grow more dire.
However, what makes the EYN’s story worth hearing is not just their suffering, but the courageous and inspiring way that they have chosen to respond to their suffering. The Church of the Brethren, including the EYN, is a historic peace church. Here in the United States, we Brethren don’t have to worry ourselves too much with the practical consequences of peace. This is one of the main reasons for the emergence of the movement I mentioned earlier. The EYN, however, has to daily reconcile their allegiance to peace with the practical realities of living in a culture of violence.
Despite their hardship, the EYN continues to embody the way that peace extends beyond simply not being violent. They respond to great hate, fear, and division with greater love, courage, and community. They recognize that they are to be a beacon of Christ’s love and subversive way of approaching conflict in a darkening climate of violence. They have accepted the responsibilities of being leaders in restoring community, dialogue, and the dignity of all people of Nigeria, even though it means great sacrifice.
These people fill me with hope, so I will never stop advocating for them.
I hope you will take the time to learn more about the EYN. Like me, I think you should be filled with hope by their awe-inspiring story. They have a practical understanding of peace, one that acknowledges the hard work and sacrifice involved in building peace, as well as one that places a heavy emphasis on investing in human security, not national, militaristic security, to create an environment willing and able to accept peace.
But they need our help. Everyday their situation worsens. They need people like you and me to become their voice and support. Please help me pay credit to their inspiration, creativity, and leadership. Become their advocate. Explore what you can do to help.
With thanks and the love of Christ,
Carnegie Mellon University SMC# 2046
Pittsburgh, PA 15289