‘Vicar of Baghdad’ to speak at Bellevue church

Rev. Canon Andrew White, chaplain of St. George’s Anglican Church in the heart of Baghdad, Iraq, will give a firsthand perspective of the threat of the Islamic State or ISIS. Known as the “Vicar of Baghdad” and profiled on “60 Minutes,” White has worked in Iraq since 1998 to provide spiritual, medical, and humanitarian relief. He promotes reconciliation among Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders.

  • Tuesday, October 7, 2014 2:00pm
  • News
Rev. Canon Andrew White

Rev. Canon Andrew White

Rev. Canon Andrew White, chaplain of St. George’s Anglican Church in the heart of Baghdad, Iraq, will give a firsthand perspective of the threat of the Islamic State or ISIS. Known as the “Vicar of Baghdad” and profiled on “60 Minutes,” White has worked in Iraq since 1998 to provide spiritual, medical, and humanitarian relief. He promotes reconciliation among Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders.

He will speak during the 10 a.m. service Oct. 19 at Lake Sammamish Foursquare Church, 14434 N.E. Eighth St., Bellevue.

White recently was told to leave Baghdad for his own safety after Islamic State militants got within a couple miles of the Iraqi capital. He is now in Jerusalem, according to news reports.

White says about 1,000 of his parishioners at St. George’s have died in sectarian violence in the past five years. Most of his congregation are widows and children, often orphaned. His church is surrounded by bomb barricades and has multiple checkpoints. He has security guards and wears a flak jacket over his clerical collar and cross.

Yet the native of England stays in “my beloved Iraq,” he says, to serve those remaining in an increasingly desperate situation. St. George’s is the only Anglican congregation in Iraq, where the Christian population has shrunk from an estimated 1.5 million a decade ago to fewer than 300,000 today, according to White.

“Last week there was no communion in Nineveh [the ancient region near the modern-day city of Mosul] for the first time in 2,000 years,” he told a British newspaper in September. “All [the churches] are closed; all their people have run away.”

White, who has battled multiple sclerosis for more than 15 years, directs the High Council of Religious Leaders in Iraq, where he brings together Islamic leaders of the often-divided Sunni and Shia branches.

He also is president of the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East (FRRME), a charity based in the United Kingdom. The foundation funds a free medical and dental clinic at St. Georges, where nearly all the patients are Muslims, and offers other services.

White does not receive a salary from the foundation or St. George’s. Any donations or sales from his books during his Bellevue visit will support relief efforts for displaced people in Iraq, particularly those in Erbil, the Kurdish capital in northern Iraq to which many persecuted people have fled.

Money raised will be used to buy food, medical supplies, bedding, cradles, clothing and other items as needed.

For more information, contact Curt Brunk, pastor of Lake Sammamish Foursquare Church, at 425-463-7000 or office@lakesamm.org.


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