Posts Tagged ‘St John’s Stoke’

Canon Andrew White at St John’s Stoke

August 16, 2015
Andrew White at St John's Stoke

Andrew White at St John’s Stoke

When religion goes wrong, it goes very wrong. But if religion is part of the problem, it must form part of the solution. — Canon Andrew White

St John’s Stoke is about 20 minutes walk from Guildford town centre. An old church with a rather ugly extension.

Canon Andrew White, until recently the Vicar of Baghdad, was introduced by the Rector of St John’s.

Andrew White commenced with a blessing in Aramaic, the language used by Jesus. If it was good enough for Jesus, it was good enough for him.

Andrew White then asked how many were Anglicans? Most hands shot up. How many Baptist? A few hands shot up. How many Pentecostal? Very few hands shot up. He then explained, in his church in Jordan, there were no denominations, they were all Followers of the Messiah, for which there was a single Arabic word. But today, he was an Anglican, as the Bishop was present.

Over 1700 of his congregation in Baghdad have been killed. Beyond that he does not know. When Baghdad became unsafe, Christians fled to Minerva from whence they came. When Minerva became unsafe, they fled to Turkey, Syria and Jordan.

In Jordan, he has established a church in an old Catholic Church, a school, a clinic and a hospital.

The church in Baghdad, St George’s, still has a clinic, which treats people of all faiths.

The children are very devout, as are their parents. Having lost everything their faith is all they have left.

Everyone has suffered.

One family, the father was told, convert to Islam, or we kill your children. He sought forgiveness for his conversion.

Another family, it was the five children who were threatened. The children refused. Each was shot in the head and their heads hacked off.

Andrew was in tears when he learnt. The children walked into his office, asked him not to cry, said they had had a dream, they had seen the children in Heaven.

ISIS destroy the Bibles they find. Small electronic Bibles, powered by solar power have been distributed, talking Bibles in English and Arabic.

There is no electricity. Pens have been distributed that also function as a torch.

ISIS has grown out of the failed policies in Iraq. Sunnis have lost position, power and money, they have become marginalised. Bombing is only making a bad situation worse. The only way to defeat ISIS is by military means, boots on the ground.

Ten years ago, Andrew White would have said he had hope for Iraq. Now he has no hope.

Their current work is engaging in the Sex Slave Market. They are buying back the girls being traded as sex slaves. $5000 a girl or more. Not ideal, but the only way to get the girls back.

It is not unusual for Andrew to have dinner with terrorists. You get nowhere without talking. ISIS they are unable to talk to.

Gordon Brown and others attack Jeremy Corbyn for talking to Hamas. Andrew White talks to the founder of Hamas and counts him as a friend. Not only talks to, but has got him to talk to a chief Rabbi and engage in peace talks. He has also got chief rabbis in Israel to talk to Ayatollahs in Iraq.

Without talking, we make no progress.

Present the Bishop of Guildford who closed the meeting with a prayer.

The Bishop was a fellow student with Andrew. One lecturer, ripped up an essay in front of Andrew, telling him he could not write.

After the meeting, there were books by Andrew, which he happily signed.

Andrew White with Bishop of Guildford and Archdeacon

Andrew White with Bishop of Guildford and Archdeacon

Canon Andrew White is founder and president of Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East (FRRME).

FRRME is pro-Arab, pro-Jew, brings relief and reconciliation to the broken parts of the Middle East.

He is also chairs Iraq’s High Council of Religious Leaders.

Launched in September, the Jerusalem International School of Reconciliation, or JISR (meaning “Bridge” in Arabic). JISR is the first project of its kind and will provide a platform for key religious leaders of the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths to come together and introduce the power of reconciliation to an international audience.

Advertisements