Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Va. hosted prayer vigils, May 11, at both of their worship services in support of the 300 school girls who were kidnapped from Nigeria.

Nearly 3,000 members of the historic church, the oldest and largest African-American church in Alexandria, celebrated Mother’s Day with a prayer vigil to raise awareness of the international travesty. The Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley, senior pastor, led the congregation in a powerful, poignant and moving prayer for the Nigerian girls and for all kidnapped and missing girls and women worldwide. Nigeria remains one of eight countries with the highest rate of human trafficking in the world.

In a show of solidarity and support for the mothers of the abducted school girls in the Chibok Borno State region of Nigeria, the pastor asked everyone to hold up their ASBC “PRAY FOR OUR GIRLS” signs that were disseminated as they entered the sanctuary.

“These young innocent girls belong to all of us. They are all of our daughters,” said Rev. Dr. Wesley. “Many of us go into a panic if we look away for one moment and can’t find our child in Walmart; imagine the pain and anguish you would feel if your child was taken from your home in the middle of the night. We believe in the power of prayer and therefore we are calling on all believers to join us in prayer to #BRINGBACKOURGIRLS.”

Alfred Street Baptist Church is committed to empowering African American girls and women through education, spiritual guidance and more importantly prayer.
“We are supporting the #BRING BACK OUR GIRLS global movement and whole heartily denounce violence of any kind against girls and women of all ages and ethnicities,” the pastor said.

The church-wide photo of the #BRING BACK OUR GIRLS campaign was sent out via social media to show ASBC’support. “Many people ask what can I do, I don’t have any money, and I can’t travel to Nigeria to help, what can I possibly do? We here at Alfred Street Baptist Church know that there is power in prayer and prayer can change any situation,” said Rev. Dr. Wesley. “Millions of African-American girls and women have gone missing including Relisha Rudd, the 8-year-old girl that has been missing from the homeless shelter in Washington, D.C. since February. Brazen abductions and violence against our innocent girls and women must stop.”