Anglican ‘Vicar of Baghdad’, The Rev. Canon Andrew White in Southeast Georgia

Good story in Florida Times Union:

image His parishioners are routinely slain and he lives under constant threat of death himself. Such is the lot of Baghdad’s Anglican priest, the Rev. Canon Andrew White.

But White, known as the Vicar of Baghdad, said the good his church does in the region makes the danger worthwhile.

"I love it," he said in a heavy English accent of the good his St. George’s Anglican Church does in Iraq.

White was in Southeast Georgia on Thursday to raise money for his church and the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East, which he leads. He said he also wants to praise the United States for what it has accomplished in Iraq.

"There’s no mistake it was a wonderful act in history," White said.

Here’s what else he told the Times-Union.

Tell us about your church.

Our church is not just a church. We employ four doctors, four dentists, pharmacists, a full clinic, a school, a kindergarten and we give all of our people food every week. And we have a congregation of 3,700 people.

Is the church part just for Westerners in Iraq?

We have the U.S. chapel, with military mainly and some diplomats. And we have the Iraqi church. But we consider ourselves as one. And every week we meet as one. It’s a very real and substantive relationship.

Reports say 11 of the 13 people you’ve baptized this year have been killed. Is that true?

Yes. … Last year, 93 members of my congregation were killed.

Why do you agree with the war in Iraq?

What I really want to say is that the American people have done an incredible job of getting Iraq back. Yes, it’s cost lives, but it’s given a nation back to itself.

Do you see any signs of hope amid all that violence?

If you asked me that question two years ago, during the surge, I would have said yes. … Iraq is one of the most corrupt nations in the world nowadays. … Corruption and violence, they are huge. It’s difficult for people to really imagine what it’s like. I can’t walk down any road. If I did, I’d be killed.

Are Christians, as a minority, getting the worst of it in Iraq?

Everybody has suffered. All the minorities and the majority.

Yet you say you wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Why?

I love it, because the people are the most wonderful people you could ever meet. I love all the children in the church. It’s not like being a pastor in the West, where everyone moans and groans all the time. No one ever complains to me. They’re all wonderful.

How can people here help people there?

By logging on to our Web site – www.frrme.org.

‘Vicar of Baghdad’ visits Southeast Georgia | Jacksonville.com

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