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St George in Baghdad

Known as the English Church, St George in Baghdad is part of the Anglican Communion and is led by Canon Andrew White, who wrote,

I have said it many times before but St George's Baghdad is a truly exceptional Church like I have never experienced before, and it truly lives up to the character of its patron saint. The relationship I have with our many members is indeed one of love. Our lay leaders are wonderful as are our members, and our children are quite exceptional. We have a little routine when I arrive with my body guards; I enter the church to cheering and clapping and I say I can't start the service until my children are there. They then bring them in from Sunday school and we start with the children leading worship.

The worship is always exceptional. Here the only release from the pain of life in Baghdad is to worship the living G-d. We hear stories that Christians are too scared to go to church any more but our people still come and yes, for them it is still dangerous but they come in their masses. Often hungry, always frightened, often despairing but still with hope in Jesus.

. . .The other day at Church I told them about a little girl called Megan from Dorchester Abbey. She wanted to help our Church in Iraq so she organised a sale at her Church and raised over £1200. The people cheered and clapped and were so excited to hear that a little girl in England cared about them.

Canon White was featured in the print edition of the Wall Street Journal today.

Two weeks ago, I participated in a remarkable three-day gathering of more than 70 Iraqi clerics. It was held in Baghdad, was organized by Canon Andrew White, an Anglican priest in Iraq, and had one aim: Give Iraqi religious leaders a forum to listen to and engage one another. It was a phenomenal success.

. . .The opening salvos from each of the three sects involved rhetorical statements of grievance – each against the others. What was remarkable, however, was that the statements turned out to be pro forma and by the afternoon of the first day these very powerful figures began to listen to one another. . .The common theme was one of anger at the violence in Iraq and its primary driver, al Qaeda. But this rage came tempered by a commitment to put their country back together.

Before the conference ended the men and women who attended had developed benchmarks to measure progress in reducing violence and (for those members of parliament) the passing of essential legislation, including the oil law.

Helping to set captives free. St George, indeed.

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