Mon., 10:34 pm: Cortland church offering pray gathering for conflict in the Middle East

COMING TUESDAY: Although the religious persecution of Christians in Iraq is thousands of miles away, one church in Cortland is hoping the power of prayer can show them they are not alone.

Pastor Dan Barker of Cortland Trinity Baptist Church is helping to organize a prayer gathering for 7 p.m. Thursday at his church that he said will give people a chance to offer prayers for persecuted Christians in Iraq and worldwide, as well as for Muslims suffering at the hands of terrorists of the Islamic state and Israel’s conflict with Hamas.

“There has been a major response to (the conflict in the Middle East) and people here are left feeling helpless,” Barker said. “People are asking what they can do, and one thing we can do is pray.”

Recent reports indicate that the Islamic State, a brutal jihadist group, has all but eliminated Christians from major cities in the north of Iraq, and now cells from the group are beginning to establish themselves in the capital city of Baghdad.

The Rev. Canon Andrew of Baghdad, the vicar of St. George’s Church in Baghdad, recently begged for prayers on behalf of the embattled Christian community in Iraq saying, “Every day, we think that the crisis here cannot get worse, and every day it has.”

Read more in the Tribune Chronicle on Tuesday.