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Palm Sunday in Baghdad
the Most Revd Clive Handford
President Bishop of the Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East and Bishop of Cyprus and the Gulf

5 April 2004

Out of all the sadness and suffering and turmoil of Iraq comes news of a wonderful service on Palm Sunday evening in St George's Baghdad. Canon Andrew White, of Coventry Cathedral, who conducted the service and celebrated the Eucharist described it as one of the most joyful services he had ever attended.

The congregation, as on every Sunday, was almost entirely Iraqi with people nearly all from the Chaldean or Syrian Catholic Churches. Living near to St George's, they can get there when they cannot easily or safely reach their own churches which are more distant.

A visiting American brought 100 Bibles which were distributed to the children. It was feared there would not be enough to go round. There was exactly the right number. After the Eucharist formally ended, the congregation stayed for another hour, singing "Hosanna".

As we continue to pray for all the people involved in any way in Iraq, please remember Andrew White and his little team. Pray for their safety and for the important negotiations in which they are involved as they attempt to enable understanding and co-operation across community divides.

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