Prayers for the oppressed

The United Methodist General Board of Church & Society condemns the attacks by the insurgency group Boko Haram in Baga and other towns in northern Nigeria that resulted in almost 200 deaths this month. We grieve with the families over the innocent lives lost in the Baga massacre, where 150 persons died. We pray for the innumerable displaced persons seeking security in the wake of such senseless violence.

We know that God hears the cries of the widow and the orphan.

We know that God hears the cries of the widow and the orphan. We pray with our brothers and sisters of Nigeria, and for those in that beleaguered country and surrounding nations receiving so many persons struggling with devastating displacement.

The United Methodist Social Principles emphasize that God’s world is one world. They point out, however, that the “increase of tyranny in all its forms” must be resolved (¶165). People must feel secure in their right to live within any community, if stability is to prevail. Our Social Principles also denounce as immoral any ordering of life that perpetuates injustice and impedes the pursuit of peace.

Consequently, we urge United Methodists to:

  • Call on the Nigerian government to investigate these violent acts, and take measures to protect its citizens from such violence.
  • Advocate for international relief aid and cooperation on all matters of need and conflict, especially in regards to this most recent horrendous situation.

As United Methodists, we reaffirm our historic concern for the world as our parish. We seek for all persons full, equal membership in a true world community as God intended.

—The Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe
General Secretary
General Board of Church & Society
The United Methodist Church
January 13, 2015

The General Board of Church & Society is one of four international general program boards of The United Methodist Church. Prime responsibility of the board is to seek implementation of the Social Principles and other policy statements on Christian social concerns of the General Conference, the denomination’s highest policy-making body. The board’s primary areas of ministry are Advocacy, Education & Leadership Formation, United Nations & International Affairs, and resourcing these areas for the denomination. It has offices on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and at the Church Center for the United Nations in New York City.

Editor’s note: The United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries, the World Methodist Council and the World Council of Churches issued statements condemning the Boko Haram terrorist attacks on 16 villages in northeast Nigeria.

Letter to the Editor