Bishop S. Chuka Ekemam Sr., Presiding Prelate of the Eastern West Africa Episcopal District which includes all of Nigeria has sounded the alarm with respect to the viability of AME Zion Churches in Nigeria. The call for help comes in the wake of continued violence in Nigeria that has been attributed to a militant group called Boko Haram. This violence has increased tensions between Christians and Muslims in the region.
Bishop Ekemam said in a dispatch about the violence “As you know, as the Boko Haram (an affiliate of Al Qaeda) anti Christian uprising in Northern Nigeria got real bad in Kano area, resulting in loss of lives and property. I moved our Feb 2012 Annual Conf from Kano to Aso, Mararaba, a newly organized church in Abuja area, in a temporary sanctuary built with our initial gift of N610,000.oo (about $3,500.00 US). Thank God, the Annual Conf was held and in a safe place. But we had to bear the cost of travel and other expenses of Kano Presiding Elder, Rev A.G. Ekpo, ministers and delegates who braved it to attend. Rev. Ekpo who had lost his job to Boko Haram also experienced destruction of work places, homes etc, but was willing to stay around with the church and the remnant members, had to be assisted by me with payment of rent and living expenses. I had to find money for him and the people around him, to keep our work going. Today, we are racing against time to put up a permanent sanctuary for Aso, Mararaba congregation.”
In response to this major crisis, each member of the Board of Bishops of the A.M.E. Zion Church, personally and as a corporate body made significant donations in support of Bishop Ekemam’s pleas. In addition to financial support, the Board, through a press release and press conference spoke directly to the issue. In a Salisbury Post article; Bishop James McCoy, chairman of the church’s overseas missions department, said the Board of Bishops stands by Ekemam and the Nigerian citizens to “show our support, love and concur for the unholy acts that they have had to endure.”
The World Methodist Council urges members of its worldwide family to pray for those affected by this crisis in Nigeria, and that religious tolerance can return to the area.
You may also donate through the Dept of Overseas Missions, A.M.E. Zion Church, 475 Riverside Drive, NY, NY 11505 or the Finance Dept., A.M.E. Zion Church, Charlotte, NC.