American pastor dies in Iraq

By February 19, 2004

Iraq (MNN)–The U.S. military has confirmed that gunmen killed an American pastor when the taxi he was riding in was ambushed outside of Baghdad.

According to the Baptist Press, 48-year-old John Kelley was the pastor of Curtis Corner Baptist Church , an independent Baptist church in South Kingstown, R.I. He was traveling with about 10 other ministers who went to Iraq on a two-week trip to explore the possibility of starting a church there.

On February 14th, the group of pastors had been riding in a taxi about 15 miles south of Baghdad, when a white sedan pulled up alongside the taxi and opened fire. Kelley was killed while three other men were injured. They included David Davis of Grace Bible Baptist Church in Vernon, Conn., and Kirk DiVietro of Grace Baptist Church in Franklin, Mass.

The Associated Press talked to a member of Kelley’s congregation who said that Pastor Kelley was willing to give his life so that people would hear the message that Jesus had because he was that kind of man. Kelley, a former Marine, is survived by his wife Jane and four children.

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