From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
ABCUSA: Military Chaplains Express Gratitude for Prayers and Support
"SCHRAMM, Richard" <Richard.Schramm@abc-usa.org>
Fri, 14 Feb 2003 08:45:17 -0500
American Baptist News Service (Valley Forge, Pa. 2/14/03)--As tensions
continue to grow over the increased threat of war with Iraq, American
Baptist military chaplains have expressed appreciation for the prayers and
support for them, and for those with whom they minister, that have been
pledged by individuals, churches and groups.
Many have responded to American Baptist Churches USA General Secretary the
Rev. Dr. A. Roy Medley, who wrote last October to all American Baptist
military chaplains: "As we face the possibility that many within our armed
forces and reserve units may now be called upon to place themselves in
harm's way on behalf of all of us, I want to assure you of my prayers (and
those of our ABC family) for you and for them. Though I have publicly urged
that war should be our last resort, my support for you is unqualified as you
minister on behalf of our Lord and denomination with our fellow citizens.
Those whom you serve are, to you, not faceless numbers but people with hopes
and dreams, families and friends. As you lead them in prayer and worship
and look into their faces, I know there is an increased burden and strain
you bear as you wonder what the future might hold for them. In your
ministry, war is always intensely personal. We lift you in prayer to our
Lord Jesus Christ that he will minister to you according to your need as you
serve the needs of others.... Even as we pray that war might be rendered
unnecessary, we also pray for you, your family, and those under your care
that God might grant you favor as you serve in these uncertain and perilous
Among those responding to that letter:
Chap. (Col.) Ralph G. Benson, Pentagon chaplain, U.S. Army: "I was moved
and encouraged by your concern and prayer support for our military
chaplains, the military, and their families. I too, and many of the senior
staff that I work with here...share your desire for peace without war. Our
prayers are that war plans do not have to be used, and that our service
members will not be in harm's way.... It is so good to know that senior
religious leaders like yourself understand our situation, and are praying
and concerned for us. Thank you for your support and know that we are
praying for you to speak boldly for the gospel of Christ...."
Chap. (Maj.) Anita Castillo, U.S. Army: "Thanks for praying for all our
Armed Forces, all of us who serve this country. We too are behind the call
for duty and to serve wherever the Lord sends us. My unit is an Army
Hospital and we are on stand by. I pray God's peace will be in earth as it
is in Heaven."
Chap. (Col.) Philip Fain, U.S. Air Force: "Thank you for your prayers. I
know we are mentioned by name by many of our church families.... It is
folks like these whose prayers enable us to do the Lord's work in the
military.... Pray for the children of our service members [and] pray for the
officers who must make the decisions to send our youth into battle. Freedom
is not cheap."
Chap. (Capt.) Alan N. Keiran, executive assistant to the Chief of Chaplains
U.S. Navy: "...Thank you for your prayers for all armed forces personnel and
their family members, and specifically for all Navy chaplains, Sea Services
personnel (USN, USMC, USCG), and our wonderful families. Thank you for your
deep faith in Jesus Christ and how your light shines so brightly."
Charles A. Layne, U.S. Navy Reserve (Ret.): "Although I am no longer an
active member of the Armed Forces (a calling and a ministry I sorely miss),
I want to express my appreciation for your letter..... In the unlikely
event that I would be recalled for ministry and service once more, I will
cherish your prayers even as I am certain those in active and reserve
service cherish them now."
Chap. (LTC) Gary Mauck, Laconia, N.H.: "Thank you for your message...and all
your prayers for us. I am the deputy staff chaplain for the 94th Regional
Support Command at Fort Devens, Mass. Even though I only drill once a month
as a reservist I am almost constantly on the phone or emailing someone about
the units that we already have deployed or might be deployed. It is
intense, but it is also a very rewarding ministry."
Chap. Hazel Oldham, U.S. Air Force Reserve, and Cleveland Baptist
Association staff member: "Thank you so much for your note of concern and
encouragement for ministry. As an Air Force chaplain in the Reserves, being
'called up' has always been in the back of my mind and continues to be.
Your words are true about stress, worry and concern not only for those with
whom we minister to but also our families. With you we are praying for
peaceful resolve on this matter...."
Chap. (Capt.) Paul W. Steel, U.S. Navy Reserve, and pastor, First Baptist
Church, York, Pa.: "Thank you so much for your kind letter to ABC endorsed
military chaplains. I cannot remember ever receiving such an encouragement
from our denomination's leadership! Although a reservist, I have been called
upon numbers of times, both during and after the September 11th events. As
we move through what may be even more difficult times in the days ahead, it
is helpful to know that I have the prayer support of my 'bishop.' Please be
assured that you have my support as you provide leadership to our
denomination in these days of change and challenge. Whatever our political
opinion of the present situation, my purpose is to provide spiritual support
to our soldiers and sailors, and I will go into harm's way to do that."
Chap. (Lt. Col.) Tim Thompson, U.S. Army National Guard, Fairfield, Conn.:
"...During these mobilizations I...have often felt lonely, forgotten and
really misunderstood by members of my church and denomination. For that
reason my heart swelled when I received your letter.... Thanks for showing
that you care and that you understand the issues...."
"It is essential that we all continue to keep these great servants of the
Lord, and those they serve, in our prayers," Medley said. "These are indeed
perilous times, and our chaplains and military personnel are set to assume
'front line' risk in the event that diplomacy cannot avert armed conflict.
Let us continue to pray for them and their families, and for the leaders of
this world, that they might see the wisdom of restraint and dialog."
American Baptist chaplains are endorsed through National Ministries' office
of Chaplaincy and Pastoral Counseling; Dr. George Langhorne serves as
director of Pastoral Counseling Services. More than 500 American Baptist
chaplains serve worldwide as American Baptist missionaries. Those seeking
endorsement or more information about chaplains can e-mail
firstname.lastname@example.org, visit www.nationalministries.org/mission/cpcs or
American Baptist News Service: Office of Communication, American Baptist
Churches USA, P.O. Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0851; (800)ABC-3USA x2077
/ (610)768-2077; fax: (610)768-2320; www.abc-usa.org;
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