Why Do We Do This?
It is our mission to support, through friendship and material aid, the right of Christian communities in Iraq to survive and thrive.
Stand With Iraqi Christians is blessed to have a wonderful team who gives their all, day in and day out to support our Christian brothers and sisters in Iraq.
Father Christopher Bishop
Founder & President
Stand With Iraqi Christians (SWIC) was conceived at a children’s Christmas Pageant rehearsal at St. Martin’s Church (Radnor, PA) in 2014. A father was visiting for Christmas from his job working construction in Kurdistan in northern Iraq. I asked him how life was for him “My life is great, but do you know what’s going on with the Christians over there?” I did not. But when he began telling me about the 120,000 Christians, from some of the oldest Christian communities in the world, fleeing from Daesh (ISIS) into Kurdistan, living in desperate poverty in camps for Internally Displaced Persons, I knew I had to go there. Thus began this extraordinary journey.
St. Martin’s Church embraced this mission and in 2015 I traveled to Erbil, Kurdistan to distribute $15,000 in donations among our new partners there, and filmed Where Is Our Place? (35 mins.) SWIC has grown into a 501(c)(3) non-profit with an international network of relationships that has allowed us to help build a primary school in Baghdad and assist Christian families returning home to their historic communities on the Nineveh Plains (read more about our new inititatives here).
The time to act is now, as the long-term survival of minority Christian communities in Iraq after the destruction of ISIS is by no means assured. It is up to us, gathered together in common mission as the body of Christ, to stand and walk with our friends. Ask anyone in SWIC, and they will tell you that we have received more sustenance in spirit and friendship through our relationships in Iraq than we can ever hope offer. Won’t you join us?
Please take some time and explore this site for more information and opportunities to take action on behalf of our courageous and struggling sisters and brothers in Iraq.
The mission of SWIC is “To support through friendship and material aid the right of Christian communities in Iraq to survive and thrive.” My passion is to use God-given talents to identify and support people who are persecuted and have few choices. There is a fit between the SWIC mission, those dedicated people who started this amazing ministry, and my own passion.
I come to my role as Executive Director after being a business executive, Education for Ministry (EFM) Mentor, and Christian formation director. I also served on the board of multiple non-profit organizations. Additional volunteer roles include being a member of the National and World Mission Commission and Chair of the Christian Formation Commission in the Diocese of Southern Ohio. I learned early in my life to look beyond my own immediate area, helping empower those who may be poor or persecuted (link opens in new tab). With a growing community of committed people, the work SWIC has started–to provide friendship and support so Iraqi Christians can make their own choices–will grow and we will build on the foundation of Christ’s love. If you wish to ask questions, make suggestions, or donate time, talent and/or treasure, please write me at ExecDirSWIC@gmail.com.
Treasurer & Secretary
I embraced the SWIC mission right from the beginning. What appealed to me was the original concept of the mission—identifying specific communities in Erbil with whom we could have a direct relationship. While providing financial assistance is always critical, my passion was to make sure that these Christians were not forgotten, and that we made decisions based on their needs and not what we thought was best. To date, I think we have accomplished just that. Thanks to Father Bishop’s personal visits, the Iraqi Christians know that we are telling their story. The task is daunting, but every successful mission begins by taking some action no matter how small. I am proud to be part of this, and I know that SWIC will just continue to grow.
Assistant Missioner & Merchandising Director
I joined the SWIC team in order to stand with like-minded persons against genocide. Not to do so for me is unthinkable, something close to moral cowardice. I want to stand for our brothers and sisters in Iraq and beyond. They need us, so we have a responsibility to help.
Harry G. Hayman
As a lifelong member of the church, I have always wanted to see St. Martins not only survive, but thrive and I wanted to do my part, no matter how small. After attending the services one Sunday, I got into a long and passionate conversation with Father Chris. For those of you who know Father Chris, you know what I mean. I was struck by his passion and commitment to not only the church, but an organization he started to help Christians in Iraq. As a member of Amnesty International since 1987, human rights have always been something I have cared very deeply about and after speaking with Father Chris, I decided I could assist him by meeting with him on a weekly basis, whether at the church, his home, my office, or simply on the phone to ensure that his efforts were organized and effective. I am also hoping that Father Chris’s efforts on behalf of SWIC will increase the awareness of St. Martins along the way as well.
While attending a presentation of the SWIC film Where is Our Place?, I heard the the co-producer of the film, Andrew Bilindabagado say this: “When we consider the plight of the Christians in Iraq, it is not okay to do two things: it is not okay to lose hope, and it is not okay to do nothing.” That is when I made my decision to join the SWIC team.
A friend introduced me to SWIC, and before that I have to admit that I had never thought much about the plight of Christians in the Middle East. I admire Fr. Chris and the people of St. Martin’s, who saw a need and chose to take action; I love the way the organization builds relationships with Christians in Iraq and takes their lead from the people on the ground to find out which needs should be met. I am honored to be a part of this team.