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Thursday, June 23, 2005

Just What We Needed - Evangelicals Building a Base in Iraq

Newcomers Raise Worry Among Traditional Church Leaders
By Caryle Murphy
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 23, 2005; Page A01

BAGHDAD -- With arms outstretched, the congregation at National Evangelical Baptist Church belted out a praise hymn backed up by drums, electric guitar and keyboard. In the corner, slide images of Jesus filled a large screen. A simple white cross of wood adorned the stage, and worshipers sprinkled the pastor's Bible-based sermon with approving shouts of "Ameen!"

National is Iraq's first Baptist congregation and one of at least seven new Christian evangelical churches established in Baghdad in the past two years. Its Sunday afternoon service, in a building behind a house on a quiet street, draws a couple of hundred worshipers who like the lively music and focus on the Bible…