Mission worker: Josh Heikkila, regional liaison for West Africa
Help send messages of Hope and Solidarity to the families of the Girls of Chibok!
On April 14 the armed group Boko Haram abducted over 200 school girls in Chibok, Nigeria. The group has been waging a brutal insurgency against western education resulting in the deaths of over 1,500 people between January and March of 2014 and as many as 5,000 since 2009. The Nigerian military has also committed abuses in its response to Boko Haram’s attacks. Three weeks after the abduction the government has yet to take effective action and reports of the girls being trafficked and sold in to slavery are growing.
The Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations has sent a letter to the Permanent Mission of Nigeria expressing concern over the abductions and sympathy and condolences to the families of the young women and the people of Nigeria.
The Presbyterian Office of Public Witness will be participating in a Vigil for the Girls of Chibok, on Friday May 9, 2014 from 12:30 to 2 pm in Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C., sponsored by Amnesty International USA and the Africa Faith and Justice Network. The vigil is part of the #bringbackourgirls, a social media movement that Presbyterians can get involved with by using the hashtag #bringbackourgirls and posting messages in social media like Twitter and Facebook. You can learn more about that movement through this article published by Time Magazine: http://time.com/90693/bringbackourgirls-nigeria-boko-haram/
Please join with Presbyterians around the United States in praying for the girls and their families as well as all of the people of Nigeria. Consider joining or organizing a vigil in your community. For tips on how to organize a public prayer vigil, visit this website: http://lirs.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/FACTSHEETPRAYERVIGIL.pdf
This resource is written by our friends at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services and designed for a prayer vigil focused on immigration, but it provides an excellent framework for planning and executing a prayer vigil.
Our mission co-worker serving in the region, Josh Heikkila, has reached out to the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria to let them know that we are praying for them and advocating on their behalf at the United Nations.
The office of Theology, Worship and Education has written a prayer to aid Presbyterians as they pray about this crisis:
Faithful God, we put our trust in you:
defender of widows and orphans,
liberator of the oppressed,
protector of all who are in trouble.
Keep vigil with us as we pray for the girls abducted in Nigeria,
and for all who love and wait for them.
Deliver them from their captivity
and bring them safely home.
Remember also the victims of attacks
and those displaced from their homes.
Comfort those who are suffering,
surround all who are in danger,
and be a refuge for those without shelter.
Help leaders and nations work together
to put an end to violence and abuse.
Hasten the day when all your children
may live in freedom and peace.|
We ask all these things with confidence
in the name of Jesus, the good shepherd,
who came to seek and save the lost. Amen.
For more information about the Presbyterian Church’s response to this crisis in Nigeria, please contact Rev. Mark Koenig in the UN office, (212) 697-4568, Catherine Gordon in the Washington D.C. office (202) 543-1126 or Rev. Josh Heikkila in Ghana, Africa. http://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/missionconnections/heikkila-joshua/
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is engaged in ministry in Nigeria through our partner church relationships. We do not have any mission personnel in Nigeria at this time. The PC(USA) joins its partners in Nigeria in a holistic approach to ministry that includes education and leadership development, community development, evangelism and new church development.
Coming out of the southeastern part of Nigeria, the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria is actively working on becoming a truly national church. Christian-Muslim relations in Nigeria have been a serious concern as this oil-rich nation seeks to provide leadership for the whole continent.
Nigeria Partner Churches
Presbyterian Church of Nigeria
Nigeria Christian Council
Learn more about Nigeria
See the 2013 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 97
Thanks for the prayer and specific info. Barbara -- thanks for your example of head wrapping. I humbly and prayerfully join you today. Proud to be your friend, and grateful for ways to give testimony to our solidarity.
Thank you. I learned last Sunday that African American women were going to church wearing headwraps as a visible prayer for the girls. I've done the same (lame as my head-wrapping is) on Facebook and whenever I go out until the kidnapping is resolved. Unfortunately, no one has yet asked me about its significance.