Mike is running for St George’s

Mike ThomasMike Thomas is running the Isle of Axholme Half Marathon to raise money to support the work of St George’s Church, Baghdad. Mike writes:

“To celebrate my 55th birthday I have decided to risk dodgy knee and slipped disc and put myself through a bit of pain to benefit those in Baghdad who have suffered the most awful pain in recent years.  The work of Canon Andrew White in Baghdad has really inspired me  and I would be so grateful if you could join me in trying to raise £600 to support his work of reconciliation and humanitarian aid.”

Please consider encouraging Mike, and helping the work of St George’s to serve the congregation and wider community, by making a donationto Mike’s efforts – it’s very simple through just giving and you can donate by credit card or paypal – just click here!

St George’s Facebook page hacked

Dear friends, it appears that one of the Facebook pages connected with our work – the St George’s Church Baghdad facebook page – has been hacked maliciously.

The person who has done this has started to post malicious and abusive content on the FB page and there is evidence that inappropriate messages (mainly in Arabic) may also have been sent out from that Facebook page to people who have liked the page.

Our suggestion is that if you have previously “liked” the St George’s Facebook page, that you UNLIKE it and also report it as abusive.

Facebook has already started to respond to reports from some of you and hopefully this will result in the page being taken down by Facebook.

Thank you.

September Update

Dear Friends,

As floods hit parts of the UK, damaging homes and transport links, let us reflect on the far greater destruction which regularly strikes Iraq and those who live there. This month in FRRME we have been, yet again, attempting to ebb the flow.

Council of Peacemakers

On the 24th September, Sheikh Khaled al-Mulla, the leading Sunni Cleric in Baghdad, met with the ministers of Baghdad’s Protestant churches. At this meeting, Sheikh al-Mulla suggested that a Council of Peacemakers be formed which would meet every month and involve those present, as well as other key Sunni, Shia and Christian leaders. The council would focus not on differences but on how to work together for a better Iraq, both issuing authoritative statements and working to implement them practically.

Joint Christian-Muslim Declaration regarding the Mohammed Film

On the 25th September, Christian, Sunni and Shia leaders met to issue a statement condemning the film ‘Innocence of Muslims’.

We as Christian and Muslim leaders in Iraq totally condemn the recent film criticising Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). We as Christians and Muslims call for all to respect the religion of others and to hold it in highest regard. Having been working together for several years we now declare the establishment of the Iraqi Council of Peacemakers that will meet each month in our desire to overcome all sectarianism and demonstrate our unity.

The declaration was signed by Sayed Jawad Al Khoie (Shia), Sheikh Khaled al Mulla (Sunni), Canon Andrew White (Anglican), Pastor Farouk (Presbyterian) and many others.

Visits from Archdeacon and Open Doors

Canon Andrew White, Baghdad, Iraq - FRRMEThis month Archdeacon Bill Schwartz visited Baghdad. He was able to meet with various Sunni and Shia leaders on International Peace Day, and met with other Christian Canon Andrew White, Baghdad, Iraq - FRRMEleaders to talk about how they can work together, both of which helped to foster unity in Baghdad. He was also able to visit people’s homes and attend services at the church.

We also received a visit from four Open Doors workers. They were able to discuss the situation for Christians in Iraq with the Christian Minister of the Environment and see the hardships of St George’s poor families.

The Death Toll Increases

Terrorist bombings in September 2012This month experienced yet another day of mass killing in Iraq. The Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi was convicted of orchestrating large scale violence in a politically charged case, leading to accusations that Shia Prime Minister Nouri al-Mailiki is monopolizing power. This was met by increased Sunni attacks around Iraq; Sunday 9th September saw the deaths of over one hundred people.

The publication of the film ‘Innocence of Muslims’ has also led to an escalation of tensions. Many Christians have gone into hiding for fear of reprisals. Pray that God will keep them safe and that further violence will not ensue.

Construction of the Church Toilet Block

St George’s is now in the process of constructing a much needed toilet block. The block even has the luxury of being attached to a sewage system. (Many in Baghdad do not have access to this modern convenience). It is hoped that all work will be complete by the beginning of October.

October Prayer Diary

The prayer diary is now available to download and join us in interceding for Andrew’s work and the work of FRRME in the Middle East during October.

“The Long Bike Ride”

david-post-long-bike-ride-for-st-georges-church-baghdad

Retired vicar David Post started his “Long Bike Ride” around the Hebrides and Northern Ireland (from his home in Market Rasen) to raise money for St George’s Church and Clinic on 24 May.

David’s family have started a blog about the ride and we encourage you to visit http://bike4baghdad.tumblr.com/ to stay up to date with David’s progress. Please visit the blog and add your support for this amazing effort.

You can make a donation to FRRME and show your support for David’s wonderful efforts by going straight to David’s fundraising page on JustGiving.

We will keep you up to date as we hear from David and his family.

 

Prayers for healing

After being in the Middle East several weeks I am about to return home. I am desperate to see Caroline and the boys. It has been a very difficult trip not least because of being so ill. The situation with the renal stones flared up and for the first time ever I passed out whilst preaching at the US Embassy. I came round and managed to finish my sermon and then was taken directly to the Embassy Hospital where it was discovered that my renal function was very poor and I was very dehydrated. Once I had treatment at the Embassy and St George’s Clinic I improved somewhat. It was another 5 days before the stones passed and then the pain stopped.

Thank you to for your prayers for healing. read on

April Prayer Calendar

Click the button below to download our monthly prayer calendar.

April 2012 Prayer Calendar

Palm Sunday at St George’s, Baghdad

Palm Sunday at St George's Church, Baghdad

“I have no money and no work but St George’s, they help me”

You may have already picked up from our office and my Facebook posts that we are in urgent need of money to support our projects.

At the time of writing we may not be able to even pay for our relief or even our Iraqi staff this coming month. We want to continue to help people like Abu Youseff.

Here is his story.

Abu Youssef Romain from Habania, IraqAbu Youseff Romain is a 50 year old Christian from a town called Habinia,1 hour east of Baghdad. He is married to Suzanne and they have a son called Youseff and he has lived in Habinia all his life. Persecution and economic hardship have forced many of Habinia’s Christians to leave for the relative safety of Kurdistan or other surrounding countries such as Syria and Jordan.

Of the 175 Christian families in Habinia before 2003, Abu Youseff’s is the only one left. He has stayed in the town where he was born and is now Habinia’s only Christian. He single-handedly maintains the town’s two churches, even though they both stand empty.

Staff at St Georges’ heard of Abu Youseff when a local newspaper wrote an article about him, and they went to find him to see if they could support him in any way. Abu Youseff now travels to Baghdad every two months to receive financial and medical help from the team at St George’s. His wife needs delicate throat treatment and he is also able to receive free medicine for her.

Abu Youseff still tends to the churches in the hope that one day they will be full again. In the meantime he is able to have a secure livelihood thanks to the work of the staff at St George’s Church.

How can you help?

We can only continue to help Abu Youseff with your help. So I am asking if you would consider doing two things for us:

Firstly, and most importantly, can you pray for us? With prayer we can do everything the Lord has called us to do. We believe prayer unlocks provision and makes our resources go much further. Prayer makes the miraculous happen. We have been a church of miracles and continue to experience them. Maybe you already pray for us, but if not perhaps you can spare some of your valuable time to do so.

Pray for us

Secondly, We are working to have a more regular and reliable cash flow so we can better plan our projects. We can begin do this easily if our supporters are able to donate regularly with a standing order. Regular income means we can tell our clinic patients and the 800 or so Iraqi families who receive our vital food aid every month that they can continue to rely upon us for treatment and their essential groceries. If you can give regularly please do it now. If regular giving does not suit you then of course, a one-off donation is incredibly valuable to us too.

Make a donation NOW

Thank you for taking the time to read this. You are really blessing so many by being a supporter of this work.

Canon Andrew White - the Vicar of Baghdad

Andrew

 

From Nick Shenow in Baghdad

Nick Shenow with Ramsi, the accountant at St George's in Baghdad

Nick & Ramsi

I am sitting in Andrew’s office in Baghdad. Andrew asked if I would like to write the update instead of him this week. I jumped at the chance. There is much to tell.

A World of Extremes and Laughter

Baghdad is a world of extremes. I now sit yards from St George’s Church. The minute I walk inside its walls and focus on Jesus, I find I am nearly in tears; God’s presence can be felt so strongly here. From that place of peace, to just across the city where on Sunday, a massive suicide car bomb was detonated outside the Police Academy. We were completely unaware until we looked at the BBC News the next day! Several were killed. Their body parts strewn everywhere. People can go from peace to extreme violence in the space of a few city blocks.

I have met with many in St George’s. They are a passionate and committed community full of hope. I love their outlook, their humour and healthy cynicism. As we drove through the city this morning a new building was pointed out to me. I thought, “Perhaps this reconstruction is a symbol of progress?” As if reading my mind one of Andrew’s staff immediately answered me, “Ha, a new building. Nick, you know what happens when they put up a new building?” I said that I didn’t. “Someone comes and tries to blow it up. Just because!” Ironically we laughed at this absurd situation, two steps forward and one step back.

Of course wanton violence is part of the picture here. But it is only a ‘part’ of the picture. God is painting His parts too. For instance, I went to a home for children today with severe physical handicaps and learning disabilities who were cared for by ladies who have left everything to devote themselves to these little ones. I have spoken to a young Muslim man who is getting to know Jesus here at St George’s. I spoke with Lana, a Kindergarten teacher, who has asked if you would pray for the political situation to stabilise. Why? So the Kindergarten children in St George’s can have a future in Iraq. So with your prayers we can build a future for Iraq and paint a very different picture for God.

Today Andrew met with Sheik Khalid, a dynamic, surprisingly young, but important Sunni cleric. His warmth and ability to ‘make things happen’ was so encouraging to us. He has arranged an incredible meeting for us on Friday where he and Andrew can continue the dialogue of peace in Iraq. He encouraged us to join him in showing other Arab countries how diverse religious leaders in Iraq can work together and so should they. These men are incredible peacemakers and we love to have your prayers over these meetings.

Just three more things: On Sunday I saw our food aid distributed to several hundred families. On Monday I saw a tooth extracted in the clinic – ouch. Finally and thirdly, today I decided to look with the eyes of faith. I saw signs of not just hope, but laughter and humour. I see God laughing. I see him laughing at his enemies: laughing at the wanton violence, laughing at those who kill their countrymen in the name of some other god. Through the acts of love and hope I see our God’s laughter is moving through the people of St Georges and God is winning in Iraq.

With love from Nick, and on behalf of Andrew.

Keeping the Faith

Article on www.majalla.com January 2012

Article by Amy Assad in ‘The Majallah’ magazine.

Canon Andrew discusses his unique role as leader of a Baghdad parish.

Read the full article

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