Vicar of Baghdad visits Americus - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Vicar of Baghdad visits Americus

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By Len Kiese - bio | email

AMERICUS, GA (WALB) - Violence in Iraq is down but that doesn't mean it's a safe place to be. It can be especially dangerous for Christians. That doesn't hinder a minister who leads the largest church and clinic in Baghdad.

He's working to improve relations between opposing religious groups and he took time to talk about his work Tuesday night in Americus.  

Images we see on television show the aftermath of one of the numerous bombings in Baghdad. There are images of bodies, broken glass and hands outreached to the heavens.   Reverend Canon Andrew White has seen it all.

"I went to church one day and I saw over 60 bodies hanging from a lamppost," said White.

It's not a pretty picture but White has to look past that on a special mission. "We're trying to get across to everybody our love for Jesus," said White.

White is known as the Vicar of Baghdad, overseeing St. George's Anglican Church in Iraq. The congregation has grown to 3,700 Christian members in a Muslim country. That comes with a cost.

"I had 93 people killed last year. This year everybody I've baptized apart from two have been killed within a week," said White.

It's those stories of the ups and downs in Baghdad that White is sharing with people here in the United States. One of the ups--the establishment of The Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East which provides humanitarian relief to thousands.

"Food, medicine and healthcare, all of it," said White.

The mission has gotten the attention of many Americans including retired military members like Colonel Ward Scott. "It's deeply moving and the greatest honor and purpose in my life to tell you the truth. It's a way to make a difference," said Scott.

It's a difference that comes with danger.  White and his congregation face daily threats because of their faith.  You would think the Vicar feared for his own safety. "I have to be honest with you. I don't. Because perfect love casts out all fear it says in the Bible," said White.

He lives by the book and his beliefs as he works towards peace in bomb-filled Baghdad.

White says he's very thankful and a big believer in American troops and what they did for the Iraqi people. He does worry with the pulling out of troops in Iraq that violence will intensify.

White also says people here can help in Iraq with by praying and paying.  If you'd like to help out with the mission, visit www.frrme.org to find out how.

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