My Dear Friends,
It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged—what’s happening with Stand With Iraqi Christians has been incredibly exciting and full of activity!
We have been screening our documentary film “Where Is Our Place?” around the Diocese and receiving enthusiastic receptions and good feedback. We hope that you can see it at your earliest convenience and we welcome your input before locking the edit and making it available for downloading and sale as a DVD. For screening times and places please see our calendar, and please contact us if you’d like to host a screening for your organization. You can watch the trailer here.
In other exciting news, as we speak I am preparing to leave today to go meet with Rt. Rev. Michael Lewis, the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf. We will discuss long-term possibilities of partnership and mutual support in Ankawa (the Christian quarter of Erbil) in service to the Christians there.
As Episcopalians and as part of the worldwide Anglican Communion we can do a great deal to encourage a healthy and sustainable Christian presence in this challenging and blessed part of the world. I cannot tell you how happy I am to be seeing him and discuss ways we can work together. As I’ve said all along, we are in a long game here, with short-term, and very important long-term objectives as well. Some specific info regarding these objectives is detailed below.
After visiting Bishop Michael in Cyprus, I will be returning briefly to Erbil to visit our good friend Father Douglas Bazi and the folks at Mar Elia, as well as our partners at Alliance Church and Mission in Ankawa. I can’t wait. These folk have become good friends; I miss them and want to hear how things are going and how we can be making plans to accompany them through whatever it is they are dealing with—a blessing and a gift to us.
Short-term we are out to raise $40,000 by September 2016, when I will return to Erbil to offer our collection to our partners there and explore how we can deepen our relationship. So far, our benefit screenings have been great successes, and we are in the midst of planning our fall iROCK4IRAQ2 benefit concert at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Radnor on September 17, 2016. Save the date!
Long-term, the Christians now living in Erbil need schools, hospitals, and other support networks to help build sustainable communities. It is a great and wonderful undertaking to be part of helping to preserve a Christian presence and spirit in Iraq and throughout the Middle East.
Please stay tuned as I will be blogging regularly from Cyprus and Erbil. Please remember, there is always something we can all do every day: Learn, Donate, Serve! This website is an excellent place to learn more about the plight of Christians in Iraq and donate to support them.
Please also consider serving: offering your gifts and talents to help fuel this important work! And, of course, there is nothing better than to receive messages of support and prayers to pass onto our Iraqi friends while I am there!
Peace and grace to you all, and I hope to hear from you—it’s so wonderful to be in communication with my friends here in the states and around the globe as I wander the Middle East.
Fr. Christopher Bishop