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On the Violence Against Christians in Nigeria
United Methodist Bishop Arthur Kulah of Liberia
United Methodist Bishop Arthur Kulah of Liberia
Image by: Mike DuBose/UMNS
Source: United Methodist News Service

January 19, 2012

Dear Friends,

Please join me in praying for our brothers and sisters in Nigeria. In recent weeks, Christians have been targeted and killed by Boko Haram, a religious extremist group in northern Nigeria demanding that Christians leave the region. Societal, religious, and economic imbalance is creating a volatile climate, despite calls for peaceful resolutions.

The Rev. John Pena of the Banyam Theological Seminary, who coordinates the Taraba State chapter of Peace and Development Initiative, described a church service that was "brutally terminated in Yola, Adamawa State, on Friday night [at] the Christ Apostolic Church, Jimeta,...worshippers [sprayed] with bullets after two days of same events in Gombe and Mobi."

There are also rising tensions in Jalingo, where The United Methodist Church is headquartered. I have been in touch with Bishop Arthur Kulah and expressed our solidarity and grief. He responded with appreciation: "Keep praying for us as we continue to fellowship together as a Church."

We have also connected with Global Ministries missionary Ombaku Lomoto to offer support. Ombaku reports: "They are killing in the church, they are killing in the mourning place, they are killing in a petrol station, they are killing in a bar, they are killing in the road, they are killing in individual houses, etc. People are traumatized and suffering."

Please join me in prayer with the Nigerian people. Attacks and reprisals could escalate if the whole country cannot quickly find its way back to a peaceful resolution of this conflict. I pray that this religious violence will come to an end and that the response of Christians and others in the region will bring peace and stability to Nigeria.

Grace and peace,

Thomas Kemper

General Secretary
General Board of Global Ministries
The United Methodist Church


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Date posted: Jan 18, 2012