Home > CTP Lecture Series: Canon Andrew White
CTP Lecture Series: Canon Andrew White
Date: September 12, 2013
Location: Vanderbilt University Reading Room
Faith and Leadership Under Fire in the Middle East (scroll below for registration)
In this presentation, Canon Andrew White will discuss the extraordinary story of his ministry in leading St. George’s Baghdad, one of the largest churches in Iraq and located in the Red Zone of Baghdad. Canon White will discuss the leadership challenges he faces as the Vicar of St. George’s Baghdad as it provides a spiritual home, medical care and humanitarian relief to neighbors of the church in the face of great danger to Canon White and the church’s staff and congregants in a region of increasing chaos and sectarian strife. Canon White will also discuss his conflict mediation and reconciliation efforts throughout the Middle East, including leading the negotiations to end the Siege of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem in 2002.
Canon Andrew White, known as the “Vicar of Baghdad,” is the pastor of St. George’s Baghdad, one of the largest churches in Iraq and the only remaining Anglican church in Iraq. In the face of significant threats to him personally and repeated bombings of the church, St George’s Baghdad ministers to over 4000 Iraqis and operates well outside the safety of the International Green Zone. Most of the members of the congregation are women and children – widows and orphans – since many of the men have been killed in the decades of violence in Iraq. In addition, many of his staff have been kidnapped or killed, with up to 11 killings of his staff in a single year.
Canon White has also been heavily involved in conflict mediation and reconciliation efforts in Israel and Palestine, including negotiating the end of the Bethlehem siege in 2002, and has been the recipient of numerous peace prizes for his reconciliation efforts.
St. George’s Baghdad also operates a medical and dental clinic which delivers humanitarian relief to neighbors of the church, regardless of the patients’ religious or ethnic background. The clinic provides free medical and dental care to around 150 Iraqi patients every day.
Canon White says: ’I have been detained at gun-point, been thrown into a room with people‘s chopped-off fingers and toes all over the floor, and have had my picture posted on walls around Baghdad with a notice saying, “Wanted, dead or alive”. Members of my church have been kidnapped or killed. I have lost many friends. It is very difficult but we never give up.’
Canon White has written several books and publications including Iraq; People of Promise, Land of Despair (2003), Iraq: Searching for Hope (2005), The Vicar of Baghdad (2009), Suffer the Children (2010), Faith under Fire (2011), and Father, Forgive (2013). When he is not in Baghdad, Canon White resides in England with Caroline, his wife, and his two sons Jacob and Josiah.