President’s Letter December 2022

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

What a year we have experienced as the industry that we support has continued to bounce back from one of the most devastating periods in its history.

Here in Melbourne flights are full both domestically and internationally and there is a crazy buzz around the place.

One of the things I have been trying to practise in amongst this craziness is finding a few moments several times through the day just to pause, contemplate and listen.  To still my spirit from all of the rush, noise and often confusion people have as they move around the airport.

As we celebrate Christmas, especially in the West, it can be a crazy, busy, noisy time as we fit in all of the celebrations, the festivities, parties, church services, money raising and giving a helping hand to those who will be doing it tough, that we find it hard to stop, to be still, to contemplate.

We also want to recognise that our Jewish brothers and sisters are also celebrating their Hannukka and I pray that you also find the time to stop to enjoy family and if it is your tradition to enjoy the food cooked in oil.

I was reminded recently when talking with a person who is a respected Sociocultural anthropologists in Australia that one of the things that seems to have disappeared over the past 30 years but seems to have accelerated through COVID has been humans being kind to each other.  We see a bigger minority especially at our airport of people who are angry, frustrated and become aggressive to staff and those around them.

I encourage each of you to be human this festive season and find ways to be kind to those you encounter.  It can be costly but it is worth the price.

Bless you all


President IACAC

Melbourne Airport

News from our chaplaincies

USA: Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport

Ruth Agrusa from wrote to say.  “I want to let you know that we are celebrating the 5th anniversary of the MKE Airport Meditation Room at Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee Wisconsin in the USA.  Time has really flown by quickly. We are hosting an open house event on November 15, 2022 in the room from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm.  There will be refreshments and gifts for those who attend.  Wish you could come and join us.

The room continues to be a place for reflection and prayer.  We still hope to have chaplaincy there some time in the future. That is not possible now but we still hope.    The guests that come, have left many wonderful comments that they appreciate having the room and had a good experience there.  We are so happy that we can provide the space for them”.

Nigeria: Lagos

 Fr Gariel Feyisetan sends his greetings  and thanks very much for the newsletter and happy feast of all the Saints. May God also bless us in our daily struggle to win the victory of glory and be among the family of saints. Have a blessed week and a blessed month, God bless you all.   

Finland: Helsinki Airport

Good news from  Rev Hanna Similä whohas been working hard to establish a chaplaincy . She has been able to establish an agreement with the airport management, Finavia, and will be celebrating the opening of a Quiet Room within the airport in January. It is wonderful news and we look forward to hearing more about the development to the Chaplaincy.

News from our chaplaincies

Melbourne Airport Chaplaincy team were extremely saddened by the sudden passing of one of their team, Chaplain Graeme McClimont. He will be remembered for his weekly visits to the ramp, bag rooms, engineers, cleaners and anyone else he could find to have a chat with airside.

Our deepest condolences are extended to his wife, Chaplain Helen, and the extended family.

We honour and are grateful for his more than eleven years of service to the airport. Rest In Peace

To all those in our chaplaincy teams who celebrated Diwali on the 24th October. We hope it was a joyous time with your families and communities.Diwali, meaning ‘a row or cluster of lights’, is celebrated by cultures and religions around the globe, with lamps, fireworks and bonfires illuminating the sacred holiday.

The 18th October was a very special time for the Frankfurt Chaplaincy when they celebrated the 50th anniversary of the founding of the chaplaincy. Fr Walter Maader, the first permanent Secretary of the IACAC, was the early chaplain at Frankfurt and still keeps in touch with the team there.  An ecemenical service was held during which representatives from other churches and the airport spoke. Chaplains from around the world were invited to send  short video messages to the Frankfurt Chaplaincy and share in the celebration. Frankfurt Chaplaincy are considering hosting the 2024 IACAC Conference.

Welcome to the Rev Hanna Similä whois working hard to establish a chaplaincy at Helsinki Airport in Finland. Hanna attended the IACAC conference in London this September and it was a pleasure to have her with us for the week. Many other chaplains established connections with her and we look forward to hearing more about the development of the Helsinki Chaplaincy.

The next meeting of the  British Isles and Ireland Airport Chaplains Network( BIIACN) will be held at London Gatwick Airport on Wednesday November 16th 2022. As yet the final programme has not been finalised but they hope to learn more about the work of Border Force.

The Australian Airports Association National Conference and Industry Expo is to be held in Adelaide, South Australia  from the Tuesday 15th Novemebr to Thursday 17th November. Mr Martyn Scrimshaw from Melbourne and Mr Gus Yearsley from Hobart Airport Chaplaincies have been invited to attend. Along side national and international aviation companies, they have been given the opportunity to not only have an exhibition stand but to make a 20 minute presentation on airport chaplaincy to those attending. What an opportunity to spread the word about airport chaplaincy within the aviation community.

President’s Letter October 2022

Dear Friends and Colleagues

I have pleasure in putting pen to paper (so to speak) as your new President.

What a great time we had in London, which was for many, our first full face to face conference in nearly three years.  I do want to take the time to thank the team at Heathrow led so well by Steve and supported so well by Judi.  We had a great time of learning, networking and enjoying fellowship with each other.  It was also great to see a number of colleagues join the conference online.

I also want to thank the outgoing Board led by Pierre for your contribution to the life of the Association and especially your encouragement and communication through one of the toughest times in aviation history.

There are a few chaplains that are also either finishing or retiring and I especially want to mention the  Reverend Canon Jonathon Baldwin from Gatwick who will retire at the end of the year after more than twenty years as an Airport Chaplain with four of those years as President of the IACAC Board.  We wish you well in retirement but hope that you stay connected to the Association.

I have led my first couple of Board meetings and I look forward to working with the Board.  Over the next few newsletters I want to give you a little Bio on each member so you know who is representing you.  We are also going to undertake a short survey in the next couple of months as we want to determine how the IACAC can support and build up its members. 

We will also be undertaking a study to ensure that when the IACAC badge is seen at an airport somewhere in the world the airport understands what this badge means and that the chaplains bring the best to the airport where they are serving.

I was reminded a few days ago of the opening of the Creation account in Genesis which says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the

earth.  Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the water.”

I guess for many this last couple of years has stripped away an industry that we were all comfortable working in, even though it did seem to be going at such a pace that people were often at breaking point.

I believe just like God had an empty canvass to work on when he created the heavens and the earth we each have a new canvass to work on as the airline industry rebuilds and refocuses.  I believe as a new board we also have the opportunity to build on the work of those who have gone before but also to create a new canvas with an exciting and enriching story.

I would encourage you to send us your stories and news so we can keep in touch with each other.

God bless each of you in your corner as we share together is Civil Aviation Chaplains.

Martyn Scrimshaw

Melbourne Airport


Fr. James Devine

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of former IACAC President 1993-1999) Fr. James Devine (88), a longtime JFK Chaplain at Our Lady of the Skies and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Fr. Devine was born on May 13, 1934, ordained to the priesthood on May 28, 1960, and died on November 1, 2022. He was appointed the full-time Chaplain to Our Lady of the Skies Chapel at John F. Kennedy International Airport in October of 1988. Father Devine loved to work with his fellow Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim chaplains.

Father Devine was at the airport when Pan Am Flight 103 crashed in Lockerbie, Scotland, and was immediately sent to console the families of the victims waiting in the Pan Am lounge. He was also at the Travel Lodge Hotel to help family members of victims on TWA Flight 800.

In 1995, Father Devine was appointed one of the first Port Authority Police Chaplains. He encountered yet another episode of tragedy during the September 11 attacks of 2001.

“We lost at least eight policemen from JFK and many more from the Port Authority,” Fr. Devine said. “I did many of the funerals for those lost during the attacks because I personally knew them.”