Andrew Brunson’s daughter testifies to U.N. Human Rights Council; prosecutor demands 35-year prison sentence


Jacqueline Furnari (center) implored the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, on March 9 to help get her father, EPC Teaching Elder Andrew Brunson, released from Turkey where he has been imprisoned since October 2016.

Jacqueline Furnari, daughter of Andrew and Norine Brunson, told members of the United Nations Human Rights Council that Turkey “should not get away with holding my father one more day” and pleaded with the U.N. to work to get her father released and returned to the United States. She spoke to the Council on March 9 in Geneva, Switzerland.


Andrew Brunson

Brunson, an EPC Teaching Elder who has lived in Turkey since 1993, has been imprisoned since October 7, 2016. He is accused of participation with groups the Turkish government blames for the failed July 2016 coup attempt.

On March 13, a Turkish prosecutor demanded a 35-year prison sentence, according to a report by the Doğan News Agency in Turkey. The prosecutor charged Brunson, 50, with being a “member and executive” of the Fetullah Gülen organization, which the government of Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan blames for the coup attempt and considers a terrorist group.

Click here for more coverage of Furnari’s testimony to the U.N. Human Rights Council.

On March 13 and 14, multiple media reports in the U.S. indicated that Andrew had been officially indicted on charges that he was an “executive” with the Gülen movement. (Under the Turkish legal system, once an indictment is made the court has 15 days to return a decision on the indictment. If approved, the case will proceed and the prosecution phase will begin.)

“Norine and I have been in regular contact via encrypted email this week,” said Jeff Jeremiah, EPC Stated Clerk. “She is so grateful for our continued prayers for her husband, and confirmed to me on Thursday, March 15, that the news reports of an indictment were inaccurate.”

Click here for a detailed report on the most recent accusations.

March Jeremiah Journal describes General Assembly participation benefits

In the March edition of The Jeremiah Journal, EPC Stated Clerk Jeff Jeremiah describes just a few of the benefits of attending the EPC’s annual General Assembly in June.

The Jeremiah Journal is a monthly video blog hosted on the EPC’s YouTube channel at Each month’s update also is posted to EPConnection and the EPC’s Facebook page and Twitter feed.

For a transcript of this month’s edition in printable pdf format, click here.

Jeff and Cindy Jeremiah to represent EPC at Billy Graham memorial service

BillyGrahamEPC Stated Clerk Jeff Jeremiah and his wife, Cindy, will represent the denomination at the private memorial service for Billy Graham on Friday, March 2, at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, N.C.

“We are beyond honored to be invited to this celebration of Billy Graham’s life,” Jeremiah said. “It’s truly amazing to think about how God used him to share the gospel with millions of people around the world.”

About 2,300 invited guests are expected to attend the service, which will be held under a large tent that has been constructed in the main parking lot in front of the Library. The tent is designed to serve as a reminder of Graham’s early ministry in “The Canvas Cathedral”—the white canvas tent in downtown Los Angeles where 350,000 people heard him share the gospel over eight weeks in 1949.

Following the 90-minute service, Graham will be laid to rest beside his late wife, Ruth, in the Library’s Prayer Garden.

Among Graham’s many personal connections to members of the EPC, Ruth was a member of Christ Community Church in Montreat, N.C.

“Billy and Ruth were married in Graham Chapel (on the campus of Montreat College), which is where we gather weekly to worship,” said Richard White, Pastor of Christ Community Church, which joined the EPC in 2007. “She was a member of the church until her passing.”

A live stream of the memorial service will be available beginning at 10:00 a.m. (EST) at

Andrew Brunson languishes in Turkish prison as 16-month mark passes


Andrew Brunson

by Jeff Jeremiah
EPC Stated Clerk

Your continued, fervent prayers for our brother in Christ, EPC Teaching Elder Andrew Brunson, are most appreciated and much needed. February has been very difficult for him.

On February 7 (the day marking his 16th month in captivity), Andrew was questioned by the prosecutor. Although Andrew’s lawyer was present, the interview did not go well. Providentially, Andrew had a consular visit afterward and was able to get the following note to his wife, Norine, which she posted on social media:

“Today was a hard day for Andrew. The prosecutor called him for more questioning/statement. There was a previously scheduled meeting with someone from the consulate right afterwards so he was able to write me a note: ‘I am pretty shattered … I am very discouraged. Please have prayer for me.‘”

Norine added:

“Andrew has been walking by pure faith in the dark, but oh, for the Lord to break through with a sense of His presence.

May the lies—and those telling the lies—be exposed in the name of Jesus.

May we have the Lord’s perspective on all things—on Him, ourselves, eternity, suffering …

Thanks for praying…”

Relations between Turkey and the United States have a direct impact on efforts to free Andrew. A number of factors have led to this relationship deteriorating since the beginning of the year. The most prominent and pressing component is the situation in northern Syria, where an enclave of Syrian Kurds live. There are no less than seven armed forces and militia groups in this area, so there is the possibility of hostilities between U.S. and Turkish troops. Rex Tillerson, U.S. Secretary of State, is meeting in Ankara, Turkey, with the Turkish President and Foreign Minister February 15-16 in an effort to defuse this potential crisis with our NATO ally.

Please pray for a productive and God-honoring meeting between these national leaders.

For continued updates on Andrew’s situation, you can follow Norine’s Facebook page at or by internet news searches of “Andrew Brunson.”

To conclude this update, I hope you are aware of the song Andrew wrote in prison, “You Are Worthy.” A recording and sheet music are available on the Free Pastor Andrew page of the EPC website. As we continue to pray and do what we can to work for Andrew’s release, our prayer and plan—God willing—is to have Andrew lead us in singing “You are Worthy” at our General Assembly in June.

Thank you again for your continued prayers for Andrew and Norine.

EPC chaplain Tim Mallard featured in PBS documentary to air February 13


“We’ll Meet Again,” a documentary series airing on Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) will feature the story of EPC chaplain Tim Mallard’s encounter with a Navy chaplain following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the Pentagon. The segment is part of the episode, “Heroes of 9/11,” scheduled for broadcast and web stream on Tuesday, February 13, at 8:00 p.m. EST (broadcast times may vary by location).

In 2001, Mallard was assigned as a Department of the Army Intern in the Office of the Chief of Chaplains at the Pentagon. Following the attack, a chaplain’s tent was set up 50 yards from the impact site.

“All I did for days was walk around wearing my cross and people would walk up in pain, needing care,” Mallard told the United Methodist News Service in an article posted February 8.

On the morning of September 15, Mallard went to the chaplain’s tent and collapsed in the back, overcome with his own grief.

Capt. Doug Waite, a United Methodist chaplain serving in the U.S. Navy, saw Mallard and knew he needed help. He stopped, then hugged and prayed with young Mallard. The two men never saw each other again until the producers of “We’ll Meet Again” reunited them.

Mallard said Waite’s compassion that day has been critical for the next 16 years of his ministry, as he has gone on to serve multiple tours in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“The thing that made the most difference was when I looked up and saw his face, just the kindness and Christian compassion really touched me and encouraged me,” Mallard said. “I was able to go out and keep doing my ministry because of his ministry to me.”

Mallard now serves as director for recruiting and endorser relations, headquarters, Department of the Army in Washington.

Click here for more information about the PBS documentary series.

(with additional reporting from Kathy Gilbert, UMNS)

January Jeremiah Journal provides hurricane relief update

In the January edition of The Jeremiah Journal, EPC Assistant Stated Clerk Jerry Iamurri provides an update on EPC relief efforts in response to hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria that struck in fall 2017.

The Jeremiah Journal is a monthly video blog hosted on the EPC’s YouTube channel at Each month’s update also is posted to EPConnection and the EPC’s Facebook page and Twitter feed.

For a transcript of this month’s edition in printable pdf format, click here.

EPC short-term missions in 2018: Puerto Rico and beyond


Shawn Stewart

by Shawn Stewart
Coordinator of Mobilization,
EPC World Outreach

Puerto Rico…

Our EPC churches in Puerto Rico are right in the middle of neighborhoods that are still suffering from the effects of Hurricane Maria. The need for short-term mission teams in Puerto Rico has never been higher!

Our three EPC churches in Puerto Rico are now working with Praying Pelican Missions to assist EPC churches in sending short-term mission teams to the island. Will your church be one of them?

If you are interested, contact Kevin Gamradt of Praying Pelican Missions and let him know you are an EPC church interested in working with one or more of our EPC churches in Puerto Rico: Iglesia Presbiteriana Westminster-Bayamón in the San Juan area, or Iglesia Presbiteriana Evangélica en Añasco or Iglesia Presbiteriana Evangélica Mayagüez on the western part of the island.

They are seeking teams for spring, summer, and fall. These teams can be made up of youth, adults, or combined (it will be extremely helpful for at least one member of your team to be fluent in Spanish). And just for the record, in my best missiological speculation Praying Pelicans does missions well. They have genuine, year-round partnerships with the local church, and they work through the local church in their plans and efforts.

I will be in Puerto Rico in February to learn more, so watch for a follow-up report on the needs and opportunities.

and beyond…

EPC World Outreach tried to birth a 2018 summer mission trip for high school students to work among the Middle Eastern population (particularly Muslim) of Dearborn and Hamtramck, Michigan. Due to problems finding appropriate housing and a sending agency to help coordinate this, we have postponed our launch until 2019.

If you would be interested in helping us organize this—or a similar project in Fremont, Calif., among that city’s large Afghan population—please contact me at I am particularly interested in talking to folks who would like to serve on a planning team.

Thank you for your prayerful consideration of these opportunities!