Many of the Nigerian school girls who were recently kidnapped from their school in Chibok, Nigeria, by Boko Haram, have ties to the Brethren movement.
The majority of the more than 200 abducted schoolgirls, ages 16 to 18, were from EYN (Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) although the group included both Muslim and Christian girls, according to the Church of the Brethren Newsline.
A letter from Church of the Brethren (COB) general secretary Stanley J. Noffsinger and Global Mission and Service executive Jay Wittmeyer, was sent to COB churches and highlights the fact that for the past several years EYN has been among the Christian and Muslim communities attacked by Boko Haram, an extremist Islamic sect that carried out the abduction of the school girls. “When asked what the American church can do at this time to be supportive, EYN leaders asked for us to engage in prayer and fasting,” the letter says, in part. “Most of the girls abducted from Chibok were from Christian and Brethren homes, but many were from Muslim homes, and we are not making a distinction between them in our prayers. It is important for us to pray for the safety of all children.”
Individuals who attended the Brethren World Assembly last summer in Brookville, Ohio, may have met some of the Nigerian Brethren leaders who attended. The Church of the Brethren has ministered in Nigeria since the 1920s.
The Church of the Brethren is one of six major groups, including the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, who trace their spiritual heritage to the German Anabaptist/Radical Pietist religious leader Alexander Mack.