The Vicar of Baghdad drops by for a cuppa

profile.jpgPosted By: George Pitcher at Feb Posted in: UK Correspondents , Politics , Faithbook , Religion
Tags:View More Andrew White, anglicans, Iraq, Muslims, Saddam Hussein, The Vicar of Baghdad

The Vicar of Baghdad has just dropped by the offices of the Telegraph for a hot chocolate, which is an unnerving experience for those of us who aren’t necessarily at the most demanding, cutting edge of Christian witness.

The Rev’d Canon Andrew White is in rude health, waving aside the real and present dangers to his own safety in favour of talking about his “friends and family” in his church in the Green Zone, who have re-established the Anglican community, dating back to 1869, which was banned by Saddam Hussein.

Many of these are Iraqi Christians, but not exclusively so. Canon White has a remarkably pluralist approach for one from a strict Baptist background, trained at a conservative evangelical college and who describes himself as “very orthodox”.

He endeavours to integrate entirely with the Muslims around him, none of whom he seeks to convert to anything other than the ways of peace, and works Monday to Friday as the doctor he first qualified as and as a diplomat for the peace process, leaving as he puts it “Saturday and Sunday for God”. Sounds to me like God would consider him employed full-time.

I ask him how safe he feels in his work. He replies that his armed guard to get him to his church has fallen from the mid-30s to 20-odd. So that would be a new peace index then – we’ll stay in touch with the number of soldiers required to escort our minister in Baghdad. The target must be walking to church unaccompanied, as if it’s Purley or Princeton.

Anyway, it sounds to me like we should have Canon White as our very own Baghdad Blogger for Faithbook. So I put this to him. He says okay, if I plug his book.

It’s a deal. The Vicar of Baghdad, which traces Canon White’s journey to Baghdad via St Thomas’s hospital and Gaza, is published by Monarch Books and tells the whole story. It is a very good read. Buy it.

Is that a deal, then, Andrew?