Chuck Colson Center Awards 2014 William Wilberforce Award to “Vicar of Baghdad”

Rev. Canon Andrew White (REUTERS)
Rev. Canon Andrew White (REUTERS)

This year’s annual William Wilberforce Award, presented by the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview, will be awarded to Canon Andrew White in recognition of his service to Christianity internationally and, in particular, his service to the Middle East.

According to a news release, like the award’s namesake, White has taken great risks to bring about radical change in some of the most dangerous places in the world. Commonly known as the “Vicar of Baghdad,” White leads St. George’s Church, the only Anglican congregation in Iraq, and one of the biggest churches in the war-torn country.

He also has worked tirelessly to bring about reconciliation between various sectarian groups in Iraq, including the Shia and Sunni.

In addition to his work in Iraq, White has been instrumental in reconciling various groups in Israel and Palestine over many years. He recently hosted a historic meeting that convened Iraqis, Israelis, and Palestinians, in Cyprus.

“I am more honored and inspired with this award than any other award I have every received,” said White, who now walks with a cane because of his battle with multiple sclerosis, which at the age of 33 years he was diagnosed with. (He has been undergoing a new stem cell treatment for MS at a clinic in Baghdad that utilizes his body’s own stem cells and he has said, “It had completely transformed my life.”

He went on to say, “I, like William Wilberforce, also used to live and work in Clapham in southwest London. Almost every day, I would pass the church he attended, Holy Trinity, Clapham Common, and pray ‘Lord, make me like Wilberforce.’ It is humbling to receive an award that honors the memory of one of the greatest statesmen ever and has been presented to such inspirational people, including Cardinal Timothy Dolan last year.”

The award will be presented at a dinner in Washington on Saturday, May 3, at the Westfields Marriot Washington Dulles in Chantilly, Virginia. White is presently in the United States and is available to speak with media by phone or on-site at the award dinner.

In a story by Lela Gilbert and carried on Fox News (www.FoxNews.com), she wrote, “In 2003, shortly after the fall of Saddam Hussein, White reopened St. George’s Church in Baghdad. Today, he divides his time in several ways.

“He tends to the needs of the people in his war-torn parish, distributing food and medical care to both Christians and Muslims.

“He travels across wide swaths of North America and Britain, seeking to raise awareness and funds.

“He also tries to bring together Muslim, Jewish, and Christian leaders in his never-ending quest to restrain religiously incited violence.”

Ms. Gilbert added, in her story dated February 6, 2014, “White’s indefatigable efforts entail his own medical issues, and they are acted out against an increasingly bloodstained backdrop.

“Wednesday morning, Al-Arabiya’s headlines proclaimed that three separate bombs had ripped into the heart of Baghdad. Dozens were injured and more than 20 were killed.

“Last month alone, 1,013 people in Iraq – 795 civilians, 122 soldiers, and 96 policemen – died as a result of violence.”

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SOURCE: ASSIST News Service
Dan Wooding

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