Letter: ECC Stands with Kenya Church Amid Tragedy

CHICAGO, IL (July 5, 2016) – Evangelical Covenant Church leaders sent a “letter of resolution” to the Covenant Church of Kenya on Tuesday that expresses sympathy for the loss of Moderator John Njaramba Kiruga, who was killed July 1 after leading a peacemaking seminar in an area of intense conflict near the country’s Somalia border last week.

“We are grateful to God for Pastor John’s sincere desire for peace that continues to impact thousands of lives today and will continue through his descendants and all of us who knew him,” says the letter signed by President Gary Walter; Al Tizon, executive minister of Serve Globally; and Josef Rasheed, Africa regional coordinator for Serve Globally; and Dave Husby, director of Covenant World Relief.

“While it is impossible to imagine your thoughts, hurts, and feelings, please know we have entrusted you to God’s care in every one of our prayers,” the letter states. “Let your faith be strengthened as you hold on to the promise of the resurrection. May that eternal hope fortify you as you continue serving the mission of Christ.”

Njaramba was one of six people who were killed by gunmen with suspected ties to terrorist group Al-Shabaab, which is connected to Al-Qaeda. They were among the passengers on a bus traveling from Mandera.

The training, which Covenant World Relief helped sponsor, had focused on pursuing peace between Christian and Muslims.

For previous stories, see Ambush and Peacemaker Remembered.

Full text of Letter of Resolution:

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. Psalm 116:15

Letter from the Evangelical Covenant Church USA

In the infinite, mysterious wisdom of heaven, Almighty God has called Reverend John Njaramba Kiruga from labor to reward. Nevertheless, this news hit us hard as we think of this tremendous loss. We wish to express our sincere sympathies, first and foremost, to his wife, Mrs. Freshia Kamau, his sons, Ian and Kamau, as well as the Evangelical Covenant Church of Kenya, of which Pastor John served as President, and the entire family and friends who knew this loving, kind, and gentle servant of the Lord.

Imagine a world without the beauty and fragrance of flowers; and what would the world be without the beauty and fragrance of Christian lives. Pastor John’s life has not been in vain; it has filled its place in the world, and will always fill a place in our hearts. He inspired both young and old with his genuine smile and loving personality. He lived a life filled with God’s blessings and shared those blessing with his wife, family, and the church. Pastor John will be cherished for his innovative mind and untiring commitment to serving churches and Christian leaders. His zeal for the gospel, compassion for all people, and most of all, earnest attempts to bring all people into the Kingdom of God was infectious. We are grateful to God for Pastor John’s sincere desire for peace that continues to impact thousands of lives today and will continue through his descendants and all of us who knew him.

We stand with you in this time of bereavement as we accept this reality that we have lost a treasured and valuable leader of the body of Christ. We know that his passing has created a void in your hearts that only God can fill. Fear may also want to take a central place in your hearts. But because we are convinced that Pastor John maintained a relationship with Jesus Christ and that his tireless work for peace and reconciliation was not in vain, we find hope and solace in the promising words of Christ, “Let not your hearts be troubled.” Yet, we weep with you during this time of bereavement, knowing however that “weeping endures for a night but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).

Our prayer for all of you is during this time and the days that follow, that you will allow the deep and courageous love of Jesus Christ to abide among you more purposefully and with unlimited sincerity as the scripture encourages us, “Let us love one another, for love comes from God” (1 John 4:7).

While it is impossible to imagine your thoughts, hurts, and feelings, please know we have entrusted you to God’s care in every one of our prayers. Let your faith be strengthened as you hold on to the promise of the resurrection. May that eternal hope fortify you as you continue serving the mission of Christ.

With heavy hearts but undying hope,

Gary Walter, president of the ECC

Al Tizon, executive minister of Serve Globally

Josef Rasheed, Africa Regional Coordinator, Serve Globally

Dave Husby, director of Covenant World Relief

 

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