Kember attends first Sunday church service

Click to follow

Freed British hostage Norman Kember attended a special thanksgiving church service Sunday, after four months in captivity in Iraq.

Kember and his wife, Pat, arrived for the service at the Harrow Baptist Church, near his home north of London, through the back entrance to avoid journalists who have followed him since his return to Britain Saturday.

"We will rejoice at the news that Norman has been rescued and look forward to celebrating with him and Pat soon. Praise the Lord," said a message posted at the church on Sunday.

The Rev. Bob Gardiner began the service asking churchgoers to allow the 74-year-old to worship "without having a circus around him."

"Norman was quite insistent, if he was free then he should be free to worship," Gardiner said.

The couple later emerged and took up seats at the back of the church hall, where they listened to prayers and sang hymns.

On Thursday, a joint U.S.-British military operation freed Kember and two fellow members of his Christian Peacemakers Teams group — Canadians James Loney, 41, and Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32 — from a house west of Baghdad where they were held. Upon being freed without any violence, the three learned that fellow hostage American Tom Fox, 54, had been killed by the hostage takers weeks earlier.