Iraqi Christians Baptized In Baghdad Despite Looming ISIS Threat

( [email protected] ) Oct 02, 2014 01:08 PM EDT
5 Iraqi Christians were baptized by Canon Andrew White in the capital city of Baghdad as ISIS works to establish a caliphate in the region.
Canon Andrew White, or the ''Vicar of Baghdad,'' pastors the last church in the capital city of Iraq.

Despite the Islamic State's attempts to stunt the growth of Christianity in Iraq, a family of five was baptized as the militants circle ever closer to Iraq's capital.

Canon Andrew White, often called the "Vicar of Baghdad," shared the news on his Facebook page on Wednesday.

"Despite the tragedy all around us we are so aware of the presence a glory of God," he wrote.

"We had a great joyful event today as I baptised a mother and her four young children. What a joy it was when the 10-year-old came up to me after the Baptism and said 'I feel all new now I am all different' and he was."

Canon White is the founder of the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East and pastors St. George Church which is located at the center of the city near the Iraqi Parliament building and the Green Zone and the American Embassy.

Earlier this week, White told Anglican News Service that "people really wanted to demonstrate their faith", despite the danger of doing so.

"It was lovely baptising them and the children were so excited...In the midst of such a desperate situation it was wonderful to have something which was so nice."

While reports stating the current location of the militants as they work to close in on Baghdad have varied over the past few days, BBC's Lyse Doucet reported that members of ISIS were less than 10km away from the city in the early hours of the morning.

"The crisis here with ISIS/L continues but their movement toward Baghdad has been pushed back," Canon White said yesterday.

"At one point yesterday they were said to be within a mile of Baghdad. Now the Intel tells us they are 20 miles away from the Capital."

"So many people have asked how they can help us," he continued.

"There are only two things we need. First and most importantly we need prayer that the presence and protection of God will remain with us and secondly we need funding to provide the needs of our people."

"We will live in hope," said the Vicar. "But we seriously need prayer."