The Minister’s Annual Conference of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN--the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) opened the evening of Feb. 10 with worship sessions led by Bulus Danladi Jau. In their song during the session, the EYN Headquarters Church ZME (women’s choir) sang, “Nigeria is in confusion, as killings and burnings are going on. Why? God help us.”
During the session, preacher Haruna Y. Yaduma based his sermon on texts from 1 Peter 5:1-5 and Matthew 21:18-20, titled “The Shepherd.” He challenged the pastors to self-evaluation on whether they are shepherding and are fruitful in their ministerial work or not.
As part of the business at the conference, two pastors were welcomed as newly ordained ministers into the fellowship, namely Stephen Musa from LCC Federal Low-cost, Jimeta, the only one approved for ordination as a full minister during the 2013 annual conference; and Rev. Ennoson.
EYN president addresses the conference
Samuel Dante Dali, EYN president and chairman of the Ministers’ Council, in his welcome address thanked God for sustaining us to see 2014. The president said, “It was not easy to scale through 2013 especially in places.... As a result of the continuous attacks on Christians in these areas, EYN has suffered the most and we are still suffering. A total of 138 Local Church Councils and church branches were burnt. Over 400 of our members have also been killed while over 5,000 have fled to the Cameroun, Niger, and other neighboring countries. Also, countless of properties worth millions of Naira have been looted or destroyed.
“One of the significant questions to be answered in a situation like we are experiencing in northeastern Nigeria is, will the Church survive as a church in this era of persecution? Will the church workers, especially pastors, still feel called by God to go into all nations to proclaim the gospel? Will the church members continue to be faithful to God when the situation appears as if God has abandoned them? The answer to these questions is, we don’t know....
“In a period of persecution such as this we are experiencing, we must be able to lead our members to an authentic encounter with God or they will look somewhere else. We must encourage our members to be in daily link with God in order to get comfort and encouragement in their faith. The church is a place where God is expected to be present and it is our responsibility to make our members understand this.” (The text of president Dali’s full remarks follow below.)
Two topics chosen for teaching
Two topics were chosen for teaching at the conference, which had an attendance of about 700 EYN pastors from across Nigeria, Togo, and the Cameroun. The topics were “HIV/AIDS” presented by Emery Mpwate from Mission 21, and “The Pastor and Politics” presented by Andrew Haruna from Jos.
According to Mpwate, Mission 21 has made the HIV/AIDS program a priority. In sub-Saharan regions, he said, Christians are the most affected. He also drew the attention of the pastors to what he called “the problem” rather than HIV/AIDS. “Our real problem is not HIV/AIDS; our real problem is our sexual behavior.... We as a church don’t talk about sexuality which actually is part of us.” There is lack of sex education in the church, and churches are not contributing much to the program of HIV/AIDS.
Adding to Mpwate’s address, the EYN president said that the aim of bringing in an HIV/AIDS program is to know the status of EYN members on HIV/AIDS.
A medical doctor was introduced by the president to the gathering. He has started work as a contract officer at the EYN Dispensary. Dr. Zira Kumanda is a retired civil servant, who worked at the Teaching Hospital in Yola. While appreciating the offer to serve the church with his long experience, he said that a lot of people come from far places to the EYN Clinic. He therefore called for more staff, such as young doctors to help the people.
-- Zakariya Musa is secretary of “Sabon Haske,” a publication of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria. To read the full text of president Samuel Dante Dali’s remarks, go to www.brethren.org/news/2014/eyn-ministers-hold-annual-conference.html.
Source: 2/15/2014 Newsline