The Episcopal Church in Baghdad
One of the overseas ministries of The Episcopal Church is St. George's Episcopal Church in Baghdad, Iraq. The Chaplain there, the Rev. Andrew White has this update at the chaplaincy website where he follows the Jewish/Muslim tradition of not spelling out the divine word (God):
I have said it many times before but St George's Baghdad is a truly exceptional Church like I have never experienced before, and it truly lives up to the character of its patron saint. The relationship I have with our many members is indeed one of love. Our lay leaders are wonderful as are our members, and our children are quite exceptional. We have a little routine when I arrive with my body guards; I enter the church to cheering and clapping and I say I can't start the service until my children are there. They then bring them in from Sunday school and we start with the children leading worship.But the report above from 2007, can best be appreciated when you know that two years earlier, the lay leadership of the church was all killed while on a trip. That earlier report is online here: Anglican Leadership in Iraq Feared Dead. Those who died were later confirmed to be Maher Dakel, the lay pastor; his wife, Mona, who leads the women's section of the church; their son Yeheya; the church's pianist and music director, Firas Raad; the deputy lay pastor; and their driver, whose name has not been disclosed. They worship with joy by celebrating resurrection in the midst of suffering and death.
The worship is always exceptional. Here the only release from the pain of life in Baghdad is to worship the living G-d. We hear stories that Christians are too scared to go to church any more but our people still come and yes, for them it is still dangerous but they come in their masses. Often hungry, always frightened, often despairing but still with hope in Jesus.
I attach a picture of our church surrounded by concrete barricades and razor wire. It is undoubtedly the most protected church in the world.Known as the English Church it is the only coalition-linked church in Iraq. G-d is there; in his power we know that they are there for a purpose and that will be fulfilled in G-d's own time.