Update: Bushfire Catastrophe in Australia

Thank you to all IACAC members for your prayers, words of support and generous donations.  It has been a busy time for the team in Melbourne as our airport went on a fund raising drive where an initial $500,000 was donated by the Airport Management, then for every dollar raised up to the end of February by staff and the airport community the Management would match dollar for dollar up to another $500,000.

I am glad to report that apart from some very remote locations all bushfires have now been extinguished and we have also had some significant rain over our drought ravaged regions.  We are moving from relief and emergency response into the long-term recovery of those communities that have been affected.  Of course we are also feeling the effects of our borders being closed to flights from Mainland China.  We rely heavily on tourists and students coming to Australia at this time of the year and the airport is eerily quiet.

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The Bushfire Catastrophe in Australia

For many weeks and, in fact months now, devastaing fires have raged across the east coast of Australia destroying people’s homes and livelihoods, burning millions of hectares of bush, farmland and towns, taking lives and killing our wild life and farm animals. Most of these fires have startrd as a result of lightning strikes but sadly some of these fires have been deliberately lit.

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Melbourne IACAC Annual Conference 2019

Those chaplains who were able to travel to Melbbourne for the annual IACAC conference found themselves challenged to think about diversity in our world and how it is reflected in our airports. There was much to consider and reflect upon as well as renew old friendships and make new ones. Conference presentations and photos have been uploaded to the Members Section of the website and are available for members to access. David Gonzalez, Protestant chaplain at Paris-Orly airport (ORY) sent the following reflection on a workshop held at the conference:

How to recharge your batteries in an airport when you work there? This was the question asked at one of the workshops during the Melbourne Conference. How do you renew your spiritual strength? One of the chaplains does Yoga, another one takes time to contemplate the planes taking off in sundown.

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IACAC Melbourne Conference

We are now in the final month of preparation for this year’s IACAC Conference.  We are looking forward to welcoming all those who are going to travel to Melbourne from far distant lands to join us for a week of fellowship and learning.

Our theme: Diversity – Celebrating Difference as a Gift has certainly got our speakers fired up and I think we can look forward to being inspired and challenged through their presentations.

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Chaplaincy at Melbourne Airport

It has been just on eighteen months since I stepped into some very large shoes and followed on from Winton as the Coordinating Chaplain at Melbourne Airport.  What a journey it has been.  So many things to learn, so many people to meet, and the constant demands of supporting the airport community, both staff and passengers.

What an incredible privilege we have in loving people all who have been created in the image of God.

We have the joy of serving a multi-cultural, multi-faith community.  This was evident through the recent celebrations of Ramadan.  Last year I was a bit caught out and we had bottles of fruit juice and food galore brought into our prayer rooms so people could break fast and pray.  The problem was, chicken curry and unrefrigerated fruit juice are not very inviting the next morning.  So this year we placed posters in our prayer room with a greeting for our Muslim brothers and sisters and said our team would provide the water and dates to break the fast.  It was amazing, the feed back from passengers and staff was incredible with emails, phone calls and great conversations thanking the team for caring about Ramadan and providing those small refreshments.  We had not food or juice that could prove a danger or we had to clean up.

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