The lay leadership team of Baghdad's St. George's Anglican church is feared missing after being attacked. The attack occured on the road as the team returned from a conference in Jordan. "Anglican leaders in Baghdad have been missing for two weeks, and they are presumed dead," said Canon Andrew White of the Foundation for Reconciliation in the Middle East. White is the Anglican representative in charge of St. George's, one of the largest churches in Baghdad. (More CT coverage on the difficult times for the church in Iraq is available elsewhere on our site.)
According to the London Times, the missing Iraqi-born Anglicans include: "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."
The last time anyone heard from the group was after they had been attacked on September 12 on the treacherous road between Ramadi and Fallujah. "It is the most dangerous area in Iraq," White said. "One of two things must have happened. They either got kidnapped, or they died. But we have had no ransom demand or anything."
Ruth Gledhill of the Times reports, "The loss brings to 12 the number of Iraqis that Canon White has lost in his reconciliation work in Iraq, although these are the first connected to the church."
"We are all devastated," White said. "This is the very core of our Anglican church in Iraq. With such a large congregation of about 800 strong, losing key leadership will be devastating."
The Right Rev. Colin Bennetts, Bishop of Coventry, said: "I find this news particularly sad and poignant. When we first visited Iraq in 1999, it was my privilege ...1
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