Boko Haram Strike Displaces AME Zion Churches, Members
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.

In his latest updated dispatch, he makes it known that he is using all of his resources, including financial to help restore and preserve church property and displaced people in several areas affected by the crisis being perpetrated by a group called Boko Haram.

According to the British Broadcasting Company (BBC), Nigeria's militant Islamist group Boko Haram has caused havoc in Africa's most populous country through a wave of bombings and is fighting to overthrow the government and create an Islamic state.

Its followers are said to be influenced by the Koranic phrase which says: "Anyone who is not governed by what Allah has revealed is among the transgressors".

Boko Haram regards the Nigerian state as being run by non-believers, even when the country had a Muslim president.

The group has staged several audacious attacks in different parts of northern Nigeria, showing that it is establishing a presence across the region and fuelling tension between Muslims and Christians.

bokoharam01.jpgBishop Ekemam, who will retire this year during the upcoming General Conference in July, noted this in his update;

This comes as an answer to inquiries and requests from across Zion since. 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. During the April 13-14 weekend, I visited and worshipped with this new congregation of our future to assess the progress of the church and the building project.

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.”

“We call upon our president and nation to use its influence and to employ whatever means necessary to assist us and our cause of assuring safety, freedom and consolation to bring about a better way of life for the people of Nigeria,” McCoy said.

“When tyrants of any nation or country, be it Syria, Nigeria or any other area in the world, inflict death, mutilation or injury to its people, those of us who have respect and interest in human rights are mandated by God to stand up and come forth to denounce such acts of violence and injustice with our strongest voices.”

Bishop Darryl Starnes Sr., president of the Board of Bishops, followed up with a statement, “The Board of Bishops is appalled by developments in Nigeria that have adversely affected not only members of the AME Zion Church, but Christians throughout the country,”.

Bishop Ekemam was seeking support from the church during a meeting at Livingstone College in May.

“In the past nearly two years, they have been harassing the entirety of the northern section of Nigeria, particularly the Christians,” he said. “Churches, schools, universities and hospitals have not been spared. They’ve been destroyed.

“The people of Nigeria are calling for help, calling for prayers, calling for the world to rise up and support us against the atrocities.”

Please help us. This is a MACEDONIAN call. Our projected time for completing the building is mid July 2012, before the General Conference, when I must retire.”

Donations may be made to Eastern West Africa Episcopal District through the AME Zion Website WWW.AMEZ.ORG. PLEASE CLICK BELOW:


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.

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