Text by John Paul Kuriakuz – former executive director of the Chaldean Assyrian Syriac Council of America.
“Before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, an estimated 1.4 million Chaldeans and Assyrians inhabited Iraq. In the decade that followed, hundreds of thousands of these Iraqi Christians either sought permanent refuge abroad or were internally displaced. During this turmoil, more than 60 churches were bombed, a Chaldean Catholic Archbishop was kidnapped and murdered, and an Iraqi Christian population of 1.4 million dwindled to fewer than 500,000—a result of the insurgency, subsequent unrest, and radically anti-Christian sentiment that ensued.
Today, targeted by ISIS for their Christian faith, Chaldeans and Assyrians are the victims of an unabashed ethnic-cleansing campaign. After seizing the northern city of Mosul in June, ISIS spray-painted the symbol for “Nazarene” on the homes of Christians. Families had 24 hours to convert to Islam, leave the city or face execution. Christians leaving the city had their possessions confiscated at security checkpoints and were forced to leave with nothing.
Most refugees fled to neighboring villages under the protection of Kurdish security forces, the Peshmerga. In response, ISIS shut off water supplies from Mosul to those villages. ISIS then continued its rapid advance into the villages outside of Mosul, displacing hundreds of thousands from their homes, converting churches to mosques, destroying homes and businesses, and leaving nothing to return to. An entire people have been cleansed from the region, guilty of nothing but their faith and ancient ethnicity.”
As you might be aware, last December the Church of Ireland ordained its first female Bishop, Pat Storey. Pat is the first female Bishop in Britain and Ireland.
I’ve followed Pat for the last few weeks in her preparation for this historic role, culminating with her consecration at Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin.
Her nomination comes only weeks after The Church of England’s ruling body has voted in favour of proposals which could allow the ordination of women Bishops in England this year.
This is not a story about a religious ceremony. It is a story about a strong and much loved woman taking on a unique challenge in one of the world’s last male bastions.
Please feel free to comment below.
Not a big fan but remember the day that Joseph Ratzinger and his circus visited London. It was the same day that a low-flying pigeon hit me right in the chest. Very weird day.
I’ve been back to see Jeff.
As you can see earlier in this blog, Reverent Jeff Yelland is an Associate Minister of St Paul’s Church in Dorking, Surrey.
I still haven’t found out which direction this story is going. I just know that there’s strong pictures and a even stronger story hidden in there somewhere. Wont get in to writing too much about it right now, better save that for my “Aha-moment”
Ideas are welcome!
How do you define a relationship? What is a relationship? First thought was mother and child, employer – employee, man and woman, man and man… Suddenly the list is endless. People interact with each other every moment of every single day. Even when we’re not together, we interact! But how to capture this in pictures! This single most important human feature, the meeting of two individuals.
I wanted something that had more soul than an office, but at the same time I was attracted to the idea of a workplace. I chose a church. I see priests as people working with and in faith, with and within the soul. Perfect for the assignment and perfect for me personally. Having been brought up without religion, the church and the people within (which of course are the church) always interested me. What was it that made the church? What was it that people claiming god in their heart found there? Is there still a room for the church in our time? Luckily, I’m surrounded by good and generous people and within a day I had a contact. I met with Reverend Jeff Yelland from St. Paul’s church in Dorking and started working right away.
This is an ongoing project, and I’m going back this weekend to shoot some more. I hope to be able to convert this one from a single assignment in to a major project. This is the intro:
The Christian faith that used to be so strong within its many followers seems to be declining in recent years. Today most of the British population know the outside of the church better than the inside. This is not the case with St. Paul’s Church in Dorking. With a congregation of 350 people, which includes 100 children, this church is full almost every Sunday. Come in and meet Reverent Jeff Yellard and see the work of a modern day Vicar.