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Cleric with Baghdad ministry to talk at St. Paul's

Published 4:15 pm, Thursday, June 13, 2013
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An Anglican minister based in Baghdad, Iraq, for a decade will speak June 23 at St. Paul's Lutheran Church.

The Rev. Andrew White is the rector of St. George's Anglican Church in the city center of Baghdad, which has the largest Christian congregation in Iraq at about 6,500 members.

He will speak at the 10:30 a.m. service at St. Paul's, 41 Easton Road.

White, 48, in 2009 wrote a book, "The Vicar of Baghdad."

"Today, St. George's is filled with the glory of the Lord, and even though there is violence all around, it is a place of the profoundest peace," he said in a news release from St. Paul's.

In addition to St. George's ministry, White is also the president of the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East, an organization which supports spiritual, physical and emotional care to the people of Iraq regardless of their faith, according to the release.

Before his ministry in Iraq, White studied at St. Thomas's Hospital in London, where he qualified as an Operating Department practitioner in 1985. He trained for ordination at Ridley Hall, Cambridge University, and also studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

White was a curate at St. Mark's, Battersea Rise in London, after which he became vicar of the Church of Ascension, Balham Hill, also in London. He also became active in politics as a Wandsworth Borough counselor and acting as deputy chairman of social services -- the only Conservative politician who was also an Anglican priest at that time, the release states.

In 1998, White was installed as the director of international ministry for the Diocese and Cathedral of Coventry. As the head of Coventry's international ministry of reconciliation, White became the Archbishop of Canterbury's special envoy to the Middle East -- the first to take up the position since Terry Waite.

During this time, White became involved in the Middle East by helping to lead negotiations during the siege of the Church of the Nativity in 2002 and helping draft the first Alexandria Declaration of the Religious Leaders of the Holy Land, and the Baghdad Religious Accord, both of which were instrumental in bringing together religious leaders of Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths, the release states.

White will also speak at Harvest Time Church of Greenwich on June 22 and St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Darien on June 23.

For more information, call 203-227-7441 or check www.stpaulwestport.org.