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Reflection on Canon White Visit

Canon Andrew White by Laura Clark CACE Student Fellow

 

Laura Clark    Anyone who has met Canon Andrew White can hardly forget him. Students truly anticipate his arrival on campus—really an extraordinary statement considering the number of events and speakers that come to campus each year. There are many words and ways to describe him, but one characteristic in particular that stuck out to me was his extraordinary hope, both that he possesses and that he gives to other people.

The stories that Canon White and Dr. Sarah brought from the refugee camps are simply horrifying. Refugees are not permitted to leave, children are getting swallowed by pits of sinking sand, there is an abundance of violence and scarcity of health care, and the education system is far from sufficient. Hearing about these realities in the Middle East transports me into an unknown world. I live a safe life. Meanwhile, there is a bounty out for Canon White’s head in Northern Iraq—a reality that does not seem to bother him. “I’ve already been back a few times” he said causally, as if we would be foolish to expect anything less. 

This is simply the sort of life he lives, and one cannot believe that he is able to do it without the power of hope. I sat in the audience listening to stories of suffering, yet saw a resilience that could have only come from the hope that Jesus gives. It is a hope that is not afraid, not cautious, not qualified, not stagnant. Radical hope in the redemption of the world and nothing less. This is how Canon White is able to love and serve with abandon in such a war-torn and deeply scarred place. It is how is he able to love and serve his enemies, the outcasts, the poor, the helpless, the broken, and the non-Christians among him. How beautiful this hope is, and how necessary that the Wheaton community hear it.

We look forward to the day when hope is rendered unnecessary because groaning and suffering is no more. But for now, we continue to hope and are grateful for the ways that Canon White and the FRRME help us to do so.