Canon White's visit should be on your calendar - Jim Wood

Canon Andrew White, of London, England, widely known as the captivating "Vicar of Baghdad," is scheduled to be in the Georgia area, beginning next week, for a series of appearances and talks to benefit the American Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East, which supports his world, peace ministry.

Canon White is a priest in the Anglican Church, and has made numerous friends among those Americans serving in the armed forces and in the civilian corps assigned to Iraq during the recent war to oust dictator Saddam Hussein. His peace foundation is heavily weighted with Americans, who have had tours of duty in Iraq, including my son, Max Wood.

While pastor at St. Georges, the only Anglican church in Iraq, White was also a chaplain for the U. S. government, and held services in Saddam Hussein's Palace, significantly in Saddam's large throne room.

My knowledge of Canon White's career has come largely through my son, Max, who became a friend of the Canon while serving as the U. S. Department of Justice liaison to the U.S. Ambassador in Iraq for 16 months in 2005-2006.

Max, who recently retired after nearly eight years as U.S. Attorney for the Middle Georgia District, headquartered in Macon, frequently attended White's church services in the Green Zone. He has become a friend of Canon White and a trustee of the foundation.

The Trustees Board is chaired by retired Army Lt.Gen. Claude M. (Mick) Kicklighter, of McLean, Va., a native of Glennville, Ga. Others are Richard C. Swett, a former congressman who served in the Clinton Administration as Ambassador to Denmark; Jerry H. Jones, who served as assistant Secretary of Defense and was the liaison for the White House during the term of George W. Bush; John W. Busterud, an attorney, in San Francisco, Calif., who as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve, served in Baghdad; and Scott C. Rye, a public relations executive from Mobile, Ala., who is a commander in the Naval Reserve.

A member of the Board of Trustees and serving in a non-paying capacity as the executive director of the foundation, is Ward E. Scott, II, an attorney who lives in Plymouth, N.H. He is accompanying White to Georgia.

Canon White is to be greeted at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport upon his arrival from London next Tuesday, Oct. 13, and will have a full schedule of activities for the next 10 days. He begins Wednesday with media interviews and a television appearance on WMAZ-TV in Macon, after which he is to speak at the Valdosta First Methodist Church.

On Thursday, Oct. 14, he will speak at Christ's Church, made famous by Methodism's founder, John Wesley, on St. Simons Island, Ga. Wesley was a priest in the Church of England while in Georgia.

White is also scheduled to speak on Sunday, Oct 18, at the Martha Bowman United Methodist Church in Macon at the morning worship service. That evening, he will speak at the Second Baptist Church in Warner Robins.

On the 19th, he will address students and citizens in a meeting at Spivey Hall at 1 p.m., on the campus of Clayton State University. The meeting is being sponsored by the Rotary Club of Clayton County. That evening, at 7 p.m., he will speak at the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul (Episcopal) in Marietta. On Tuesday at noon, he is to speak to the Warner Robins Rotary Club, and in the evening, will journey to speak at First Baptist Church in Americus.

Canon White is to speak at LaGrange College on Wednesday, the 21st, and that evening will be in Columbus to speak at the First Baptist Church. He will return to Baghdad, Iraq, on Oct. 22. He became an ordained Anglican priest after studying medicine at St. Thomas' Hospital in London and becoming qualified as an Operating Department Practitioner in surgery and anesthesiology. He has also studied at the Hebrew University and an Ultra Orthodox Yeshiva in Jerusalem.

He became the youngest canon in the Church of England in 1998, the same year he received an invitation from Iraq's deputy prime minister under Saddam Hussein, Tariq Aziz, to visit Iraq. This, and subsequent visits, developed into the ministry which changed his life.

His career includes numerous awards and honors from all over the world, particularly for his work toward world peace. I got to hear him on a previous visit to Georgia and have read his book, "Iraq: Searching for Hope." You would be wise to try and hear him at one of these events next week.