St. George's Church

Houses of God

Issue: "The plots thicken," Jan. 12, 2008

St. George's Church is an Anglican mission built in the heart of Baghdad in 1939, shuttered under Saddam Hussein, and resurrected by local Christians after the U.S. invasion. In 2005, with attendance averaging over 1,000 Christian believers from an eclectic mix of church backgrounds, all of St. George's lay leadership disappeared in the Sunni Triangle. They were returning from a church conference by car and were apparently killed. Church attendance dropped to 50. But with oversight from Canterbury, St. George's numbers have bounced back into the hundreds. In 2006 it was too dangerous to hold Christmas services. In 2007 parishioners not only held services but also a Christmas bazaar. "There is a sense in the air that things are slowly changing and that this Christmas, for the first time in many years, will be a time of hope," said Canon Andrew White last month. The 40-year-old clergyman moved to the Green Zone over a year ago and, clad in a bullet-proof vest, commutes the one mile to St. George's escorted by Iraqi Special Forces.

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