Conceived and nourished by people just like you, SWIC was founded in 2015 at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Radnor, PA. Under the leadership of The Rev. Chris Bishop, and with the encouragement and support of the Anglican Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf, and the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania, we heard and responded to the cries of those in Iraq who had suffered much and yearned for a new start. Since its founding, SWIC has raised and distributed over $300,000 from a variety of sources, including individuals, dioceses and churches from multiple denominations, grants and private foundations. An invaluable partner for SWIC is St. George’s Church in Baghdad.
SWIC anticipates continuing its Family Farm Initiative (FFI) and Small Business Redevelopment Grant Program efforts well into 2025. At the same time, we intend to significantly expand our support for education in support of schools, parents, and others preparing the next crucial generation of Iraqi citizens and leaders.
While SWIC’s focus is on supporting imperiled Christian communities, our commitment is to all of the people of Iraq. We will offer friendship and resources without participating in the historic and often bitter rivalries that have beset the region for millennia. A new Iraq will depend on all of its factions finding and nurturing a common sense of humanity and national purpose.
We will never seek to drive out darkness with more darkness, nor fight hate with more hate. Rather, SWIC is committed to the long-term and sustainable building of a new, more secure, prosperous, and tolerant country for Iraq’s extraordinarily diverse peoples. This is the dream of most Iraqis.
ISIS painted ن (pronounced “noon”) as a derogatory way to refer to Christians. ن is the 14th letter of the Arabic alphabet and the equivalent to the Roman letter N. SWIC adopted this symbol to show solidarity with the Iraqi Christians. The logo includes a rose at the top to connect back to King Faisal. He said (like flowers), “Christians bring beauty and fragrance to Iraq.”
SWIC anticipates continuing its agricultural and Small Business Redevelopment efforts well into 2025. In that same time frame, we hope to significantly expand our support for education, as schools, parents, and others prepare the next generation of Iraqi citizens and leaders.
While SWIC’s focus is on supporting imperiled Christian communities, our commitment is to all of the people of Iraq. We will offer friendship and resources without participating in the historic, ongoing, and often bitter rivalries that have beset the region for millennia. A new Iraq will depend on all of its groups finding and nurturing a common sense of humanity and national purpose. We will never seek to drive out darkness with more darkness, to fight hate with more hate.
SWIC looks to the long-term and sustainable building of a new, more secure, prosperous, and tolerant country for Iraq’s extraordinarily diverse peoples. This is the dream of most Iraqis.
After the military defeat of ISIS in 2017, SWIC shifted its focus to supporting families returning to their ancestral homes in towns like Qaraqosh/Bakhdadi, to make a fresh start on the Nineveh Plains. Responding to conditions on the ground, we have funded crucial projects including water wells (See Water wells in Qaraqosh video), and agricultural redevelopment grants, (See Veterinarian’s Day; Family Farms videos). SWIC also helped finance school construction, as well as administration, teacher, and student support (See St. George’s SOTR and St. Efram’s Qaraqosh/Bakhdadi videos).
In 2022 SWIC began offering Small Business Redevelopment Grants to Christians who had businesses destroyed by ISIS or developed business expertise but lacked capital to restore what was taken from them. These businesses range from a bakery, to restaurants, a laundry, painting business, and other construction-related services. The initial tests are successful and we expect to provide more on-time grants into 2023.
SWIC was founded in response to catastrophic events that imperiled Iraq’s ancient Christian communities in 2014-15. Fr. Chris Bishop’s short documentary Where Is Our Place? (34 mins) graphically tells this story. From 2015-2017 SWIC addressed needs in the refugee centers in Erbil (See Ashur’s Copy Shop, Building Caravan Housing in Salemania, and Grocery Store videos).
Yet SWIC is much more than a crisis management organization.
Fr. Chris is an Episcopal Priest and the Founder of Stand With Iraqi
Christians (SWIC). The son of an Episcopal Priest, he came to the priesthood as a second career. At the founding of SWIC, he was the Rector of St. Martin’s Church in Radnor, PA. While at St. Martin’s Fr. Chris met a parishioner who had worked in Iraq and had seen firsthand the desperate situation of Christians in Kurdistan caused by attacks from Da’esh (ISIS). Upon learning this, he resolved to go to Iraq to see for himself. SWIC was originally a mission of St. Martin’s. Fr. Chris and companions first traveled to Erbil, Kurdistan in 2015 to learn more about the situation, listen to the Iraqis, start building relationships, and to distribute material aid. While in Kurdistan he resurrected his previous career as a documentary filmmaker and filmed “Where Is Our Place?” SWIC has grown beyond St. Martin’s Church into a 501(c)(3) non-profit under the IRS group designation for The Episcopal Church in the United States.
Rector, St. David’s Episcopal Church, Wayne PA. Frank attended Virginia Theological Seminary and was ordained in 1995, and was called as Rector of St. David’s in 1997. Frank has served on the Standing Committee for the Diocese of Pennsylvania and has been elected Deputy to The General Convention of the Episcopal Church. Frank is a Canon for Mission in the Episcopal Diocese of Guatemala and serves on the Board of the Gathering of Leaders.
Episcopal Global Missioner. Buck has worked on mission and outreach ministries for 14 years in Virginia, Colorado, and as a member of the Presiding Bishop’s staff. Buck is passionate about connecting with and learning from Christian communities throughout the world. SWIC’s mission and ministry aligns well with Buck’s passions and interests.
is an advertising photographer and father of four children living just outside Philadelphia. Vincent met Fr. Chris when he presented his documentary “Where Is Our Place” and gave a talk at a local church. He was both moved and inspired by these Christians who have lived on the Nineveh Plains since the time of the apostles. Vincent quickly became involved with SWIC and visited Iraq in 2018 with Chris, hopefully only the first of many trips there in the future.
Joe Lipuma lives and works in Manhattan, NY, and has a background in accounting, finance, and real estate. Her serves on the vestry of his local parish and also serves on the board of the Holy Trinity Neighborhood Center, which specializes in feeding the hungry and serving the community. Joe joined SWIC as a volunteer in 2021(?) following a presentation made by Father Chris Bishop about the needs and hardships facing the Iraqi Christians and their community at large. Deeply moved, Joe is committed to expanding SWIC’s efforts and helping those in need on the Nineveh Plains and beyond.
Retired Archdeacon for the Anglican Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf and Dean, St Christopher’s Cathedral, Manama Bahrain. Before retirement, Fr Bill was one of the most senior appointed missionaries of the Episcopal Church who served the Church in the Middle East for more than forty-five years and speaks Arabic. As Iraq is one of the countries in the archdeaconry, Fr. Bill visited Iraq regularly, interacting with the Anglican community there and leaders of other Christian denominations. He contributes helpful insight on Iraq’s particularities as a board member of SWIC.
Ayla worked in the US House of Representatives from 2013-2017 where her portfolio involved the development of US policy responses towards emerging human rights issues, with a particular interest in genocide response. Following federal service, she moved into the non-profit space. This period of her work initially began with a focus on documenting and raising awareness about ongoing human rights abuses in socialist countries such as Cuba, Venezuela, and North Korea. It soon shifted towards a Middle East specialization, where she worked in humanitarian assistance which supported the needs of minority victims, many of whom were victims of the ISIS genocide. She is currently pursuing her masters in Forced Migration and her dissertation research has a focus on Internally Displaced Persons.
Pam embraced the SWIC mission right from the beginning in 2015. Her background is in International Finance, and her professional career spanned the public, private and non-profit sectors which positioned her well to serve as the SWIC Secretary/Treasurer. She is proud to be a part of the SWIC mission, is passionate about making sure that the Iraqi Christians are never forgotten and is adamant that SWIC’s financial resources are used to provide the greatest impact.
Deborah Bressoud Parker (Deb) is the Executive Director of Stand With Iraqi Christians (SWIC). She moved into this position in 2017 following an 18-year career as an Education Manager at Newsweek and Corporate Marketing Director at BusinessWeek magazine. This international business background, as well as serving as a Formation Director at Episcopal churches, provides her with a global perspective grounded in the Christian faith. In the past she served on the board of multiple non-profit organizations where she ran conferences and coordinated efforts with groups of volunteers particularly in the field of media literacy and fair trade. Currently Deb is the part-time Christian Formation Director at St. Martin’s in Radnor, PA, and an Education for Ministry (EfM) Mentor. She is also on the Standing Committee for the Diocese of Pennsylvania. If you wish to ask questions, make suggestions, or donate time, talent and/or treasure, please write to Deb at ExecDirSWIC@gmail.com.
Your financial contributions put tools in their hands and hope in their hearts. Additionally, SWIC envisions a grassroots effort that requires gifts just like yours— awareness-raising, online communications, volunteering, networking, strategic planning, and, of course, prayers. None of us can build a house alone. But if we each provide one brick, together we can make a new home where there was rubble. Every gift, whether of the heart or purse, goes a long way. Just ask our past and current friends. Let’s take the next step together.