Until November 2014, Canon Andrew White pastored one of the largest churches in Iraq – St George’s Church in Baghdad – a position which afforded him the moniker ‘The Vicar
of Baghdad’. Sadly, recent events in Iraq have made it very difficult for him to travel there. However, he remains Emeritus Vicar of St. George’s and his thoughts and prayers are always with the congregation.
Prior to St. Georges, Canon White worked for many years in Israel / Palestine, playing a key role in negotiating the end of the Bethlehem siege in 2002. Since 2005, Canon White has worked full time as President of the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East (FRRME), which he set up to provide spiritual and material relief to refugees displaced by violent upheaval. In his role as President of FRRME, Canon White also works with key religious leaders towards bringing peace and reconciliation to the Middle East.
Currently, Canon White and FRRME’s focus is on the unfolding refugee crisis in Northern Iraq, as well as supporting the many thousands of refugees who have fled Iraq into Jordan to escape the violence. Canon White spends a great deal of time in Jordan, where he has set up a school so that Iraqi refugee children can continue their education. The relief that Canon White and FRRME provide in Iraq and Jordan includes food, medical provision and shelter and is made possible by generous donations.
Alongside his relief work, Canon White’s reconciliation work has been internationally recognised. In 2002, he partook in the Alexandria Process – an active dialogue between Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders to build understanding and work towards peace in Israel / Palestine. In 2004, following an escalation of violence in Iraq, he hosted the Baghdad Religious Accord which led to the establishment of the Iraq Centre for Dialogue, Reconciliation and Peace (ICDRP). In 2011, he chaired a summit of Iraq’s religious leaders in Copenhagen which produced the first ever joint Sunni / Shia fatwa against violence in Iraq.
Before becoming a Priest, Canon White qualified as an Operating Department Practitioner at St Thomas’ Hospital in 1985. Following St. Thomas’, he trained for ordination at Ridley Hall, Cambridge University, and studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Canon White then served as Curate at St. Mark’s, Battersea Rise, London, and Vicar of the Church of Ascension, Balham Hill.
canon-andrew-2007-cbs-articleIn 1998, Canon White was appointed Director of International Ministry for the Diocese and Cathedral of Coventry, serving in this role until becoming Vicar of St. George’s Church in Baghdad in 2005. Canon White has also served as the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Special Envoy to the Middle East – the first to take up the position since Terry Waite.
For his reconciliation work Canon White has been awarded several prizes, including the ICCJ Prize for Intellectual Contribution to Jewish-Christian Relations, the International Sternberg Prize, the Tanenbaum Peace Prize, the William Wilberforce Award, and the Anne Frank Award which was presented to him by the Dutch Government.
Canon White has also written several books including: Iraq: Searching for Hope (2005), The Vicar of Baghdad (2009), Suffer the Children (2010), Faith Under Fire (2011), and Older Younger Brother: The Tragic Treatment by Christians of the Jews (2014). These are available through the FRRME website. Andrew’s new book, My Story, is due to be released in October 2015. Money made through the sale of Canon White’s books contributes to the running of FRRME.