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Anglican child ‘cut in half’ in Iraq, Vicar of Baghdad reports

Anglican child ‘cut in half’ in Iraq, Vicar of Baghdad reports

Canon Andrew White, the “Vicar of Baghdad,” knows firsthand the dire situation faced by Christians in Iraq. From Anglican Communion News Service:

The five-year-old son of a founding member of Baghdad’s Anglican church was cut in half during an attack by the Islamic State1 on the Christian town of Qaraqosh.

In an interview Aug. 8, an emotional Canon Andrew White told ACNS that he christened the boy several years ago, and that the child’s parents had named the lad Andrew after him.

“I’m almost in tears because I’ve just had somebody in my room whose little child was cut in half,” he said. “I baptized his child in my church in Baghdad. This little boy, they named him after me – he was called Andrew.”

Read more. A recent video interview with Canon White is posted at the Huffington Post as part of this report:

Canon Andrew White, also known as the “Vicar of Baghdad,” is the Chaplain of St George’s Anglican Church in Baghdad, Iraq. He estimates that his flock used to number around 6,000 people, but in the last decade over 1,200 have been killed, according to CNN’s Arwa Damon.

“One of things that really hurt was when one of the Christians came and said, ‘For the first time in 1,600 years, we had no church in Nineveh,'” he told Damon. White refuses to leave Baghdad, despite the danger, as St. George’s is Iraq’s last Anglican church.


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Rod, the problem is that not all of us agree with you about the causation. Could these killings have anything to do with the president’s failed Syria policy? Could it have to do with his failure to negotiate a status of forces agreement? Granted that the Bush administration could have done a better job in Iraq, but that is not the whole story.

[Editor’s note: Thanks for the comment. Please leave your full name next time.]

Rod Gillis

Re, Geoffrey, thanks for the reminder about the SSJD. It’s not a surprise the Community there would have engaging intercessions.

The “prayers of the people” thing can be a challenge. That part of the liturgy can end up being a kind of second sermon, or prayer with a lot of information clutter attached. Prayers can be offered while pasteurizing the difficult context of those for whom we are praying.

Your example about praying for sex workers is a good one. Prayer can sometimes be an exercise in which we give ourselves permission to be judge mental about others. Seems to me if we are asking God to be understanding and to effect change in the lives of others, we might want to consider how we, the intercessor, might do likewise.


Lord, have mercy,

Christ, have mercy,

Lord, have mercy.

Susan Gage

Geoffrey McLarney

Rod: Hear, hear! Alas, there is a certain gnostic mentality – often represented in the comments on the Anglican Journal – which imagines that we can pray in a vague sense for others, in a vacuum, ignoring the material realities that shape the people and situations we are praying for. (At the moment, it’s the Anglican intervention on the proposed “Nordic model” sex trade bill that seems to be attracting this kind of attention: pray for sex workers’ salvation, but don’t actually lift a finger for them). This of course is a misunderstanding of how even cloistered monastics pray! (Some of the most externally “engaged” intercessions I have heard have been at St John’ Convent in Toronto).

Rod Gillis

@ Jamie Franco, indeed my post is intended as a politcal statement. It’s important that all of us in western countries come to terms with the consequences of invading or otherwise intervening militarily in other countries. Its a justice issue with profound and long lasting consequences. The Canadian Harper government participated in the bombing of Libya. They held a patriotic “victory” event at a national televised sports event when it was over. Not so keen to talk about it now however, given the current violence in what has become pretty much a failed state.

The last parish I served in was one of several in our city that sponsored the relocation of Muslim refugees from Iraq. The lives of these folks were turned catastrophic as a direct result of the invasion of Iraq. Even worse was the plight of refugees who could not obtain sponsorship and re-settlement in western countries. It’s important to have compassion and empathy for the suffering experienced by individuals. It is equally important to understand how our foreign interventions have created the context for much of that suffering.

When we were working for support for refugees sponsorship a number of people took the view that the refugees were “lucky to be here.” There was little appreciation as to why these folks were refugees and the role of western intervention in making them so.

NPR has done excellent investigative journalism on this issue.

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