Michael Porter/ANN Staff
Seventh-day Adventists continue to hold weekly services in Baghdad, Iraq, despite recent attacks on other Christian congregations in the city, church leaders report.
“In spite of the recent bombing of several Christian churches in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq, Adventist believers met on Sabbath for worship,” reports Oweda Wahbe, Baghdad Church pastor, “reopening the church after it was closed for one Sabbath.” It was with great joy that the believers met to praise God in singing, Bible study and prayer.
Barriers were erected near the church to prevent vehicles from approaching the building; additional security is now in place after business hours. On the Sabbath, Iraqi police sent a vehicle with three uniformed officers to assist in security.
The church board met during the week and decided they would meet on Sabbath as usual. As an additional precaution, the members meet in the lower level of the building, which is far more protected than the sanctuary, which is exposed on three sides.
Earlier in the week, authorities closed a main road near the church. Church staff later learned the reason for the closure was due to a fuel tanker truck parked in front of a nearby hotel carrying 36,000 liters (close to 10,000 gallons) of gasoline with a box of dynamite attached. If the dynamite had been detonated and the fuel exploded, the entire area around the church would have been destroyed.
“We can only thank God for His protection,” says Basim Fargo, secretary-treasurer of the Adventist Church in Iraq.