Armed Forces and Federal Ministries

Afghanistan Exodus

August 25, 2021
Armed Forces and Federal Ministries

(St. Louis, King of France, Third Order Franciscan)

Re: Afghanistan Exodus

My Dear Chaplain Colleagues:

At this writing, we are all upset and confused about the evacuation of our troops and fellow citizens from Afghanistan. The reports of Afghan sisters and brothers dying in attempt to flee Taliban persecution makes the situation that much more disturbing.  It’s beginning to look as if the Taliban is – or soon shall be – in complete control.

Further, many vets feel betrayed, as if our 20-year investment in the security of Afghanistan, like that of previous world powers, was in vain; or, like sending-in 3,00-plus soldiers and marines is unwise and only invitation to more killing; or as if our Commander-in-Chief, now facing his own “Bay of Pigs,” is making the biggest mistake of his presidency.

Further, I now have knowledge that this situation affects our own Episcopal Chaplain family as well.

However you may feel about this current unpleasantness, let me remind you that no matter how ridiculous things may seem, “God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in the time of trouble (Psalm 46).” In crises like these, not only Scripture, but spiritual songs can

encourage us, too. For example, I offer these words from a Negro Spiritual:

“The only hope we have is in Jesus.

The only one to help us…in this world of turmoil.

Though Satan’s hosts oppress…and our hearts distress,

Yet we have this hope and it’s in Jesus.

The only hope we have is in Jesus.

Confusion is great in this world to-day.

Persecutions may come…with such a heavy weight,

Yet we have this hope…and it’s in Jesus!”

Finally, my friends, although we are ordained servants, yet there’s much we do not presently understand. But the Lord sees all and knows all. He asks us, at this time, to have faith. Those with whom we minister are looking to us to show them the way. Please “let your light shine” even in the darkness of Afghanistan’s troubles. Oh, and don’t forget to pray for the Taliban and other extremists, remembering the Lord’s admonishment to pray for our enemies and pray for the Afghan people.

This comes with my prayers and blessings on you and yours.


Bishop Carl

The Rt. Rev. Ann Ritonia

Bishop for Armed Forces and Federal Ministries

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