Gambella violence affects Nazarene church members

More than 200 people are dead and at least 145 children were abducted during an April 15 raid in the Gambella province of Ethiopia. Many of the victims are Nazarenes. Gambella is home to one of the largest and most active Church of the Nazarene districts in Ethiopia. Among the Nazarene church members affected were 14 adults and six children who died, eight adults who were wounded, and nine children who were abducted. Another 73 members had property vandalized or stolen.

The raid was carried out by members of the Murle community of South Sudan, which has stolen livestock and children in the past. More than 22,000 people in 20 villages were forced to flee from their homes during the most recent attack.

The Church of the Nazarene is working to respond to the needs of families affected by the violence.

South Sudan, which was established in 2011, is the world’s youngest country. Tens of thousands of South Sudanese people have been killed and more than 2 million people displaced during the country's civil war, which began in December 2013. The country is now facing a food crisis as nearly a third of the population is dependent on international food aid to survive.

About 272,000 South Sudanese refugees have moved to the Gambella province, which is near the border between South Sudan and Ethiopia. Tension between various ethnic groups is high, often dissolving into violence, and cross-border raids in the area are not uncommon.

Prayer is requested for church and community members in Gambella during this time of unrest and uncertainty. Some church families are still missing their children, and many are struggling financially after having property stolen or destroyed. Many in the area are still extremely vulnerable to future violence.

How to help


Pray for safety for church and community members. Pray for comfort for those who lost loved ones. Pray for protection for children who have been kidnapped, and pray that they will be found. Pray for provision for those who lost their homes and means of livelihood.


To support the church’s efforts to provide aid to families affected by this violence, you can give to the Gambella Relief Fund.

To send donations by mail:

In the U.S., make checks payable to “General Treasurer” and send them to:

Global Treasury Services Church of the Nazarene P.O. Box 843116 Kansas City, MO 64184-3116

Be sure to put 126490 in the Memo area.

In Canada, make checks payable to “Church of the Nazarene Canada” and send them to:

Church of the Nazarene Canada 20 Regan Road, Unit 9 Brampton, Ontario L7A 1C3

Be sure to put 126490 in the Memo area.

For any other country, give through your local church or district, designating your gift to the Gambella Relief Fund.