EYN Nigeria International Press Conference

Rev. Joel S. Billi, president of EYN, at an international panel discussion. Photo: Mission 21

Of all the religious communities in Nigeria, the EYN has been most affected by the attacks and violence by Boko Haram. In total, the EYN has about 1.5 million members. Over 700,000 of them had to flee, 8,370 church members and eight pastors were killed. Women and girls continue to be abducted during attacks. 217 of the 276 girls and women abducted from Chibok were members of the EYN. Some of them are still in the hands of the kidnappers. 300 of the EYN's 586 parishes have been burned or destroyed.

Interreligious dialogue

The list of names of those killed, abducted and disappeared by Boko Haram is long and painful to listen to. The EYN calls on the government to do more for the security of the population and to allow the return of displaced persons to their villages. In addition, Christian Religious Studies should be included in religious instruction in public schools; this has not been done in some northern regions to date. Interfaith peace work is particularly important because the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram is dividing the country and driving a wedge between Muslims and Christians.

Commitment to peace

The EYN is one of the three largest peace churches, along with the Mennonites and the Society of Friends (Quakers). Peacebuilding and interfaith work are therefore part of the core work of the EYN. Mission 21 supports this work in the projects on site.

2023 will be a special year for the EYN: It will be 100 years since the founding by the Brethren Christian Missionaries from the USA. It is hoped that by then the thousands of displaced community members will be able to return to their villages.

► Read full report of the press conference (PDF in English)

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