The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), has expressed deep concern for the continued disappearance of the more than 200 girls kidnapped in Nigeria and the continued violence there.
In a series of letters delivered May 2014 to Nigerian religious leaders and to the ambassador of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the United States, Eaton offered prayer and support in securing the return of the girls to their families.
In her letters to Archbishop Dr. Nemuel A. Babba of the Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria, and to the Rev. Dr. Samuel D. Dali, president of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria, Eaton wrote: “We pray with you for God’s guidance, the government of Nigeria and all those involved in securing the return of the girls.” The ELCA and the Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria are members of The Lutheran World Federation, a global communion of 142 churches representing more than 70 million Christians in 79 countries. The ELCA is the communion’s only member church from the United States.
In her letter to His Excellency (Prof.) Adebowale Ibidapo Adefuye, Nigerian ambassador to the United States, Eaton wrote: “Our concern (for the girls) is not based merely on principle, although we would most certainly issue concern about such an incident based upon the ELCA’s long-standing commitment to human rights, especially the rights of children. The Gospel of Mark 10:16 reminds Christians of the special regard and care Jesus himself had for children; as followers of Jesus, we believe that children should be treated as Christ lovingly cared for them.”
In her letters, Eaton also expressed hope for a peaceful resolution to this situation “knowing that we serve a God of peace.”