President’s Letter August 2023

Dear Friends and Colleagues

I firstly want to acknowledge the work of our colleagues in St Louis as they prepare for our conference in October.  Now is the time to book as we gather to learn and share together.

We have also had the Board meet with our colleagues in Frankfurt and plans are well advanced for the conference in 2024.  As yet we don’t have an offer for 2025 so if you are interested in hosting please let us know.  We are open as costs increase to consider an online conference in 2025 and then a face to face in 2026.  Please let us know your thoughts.

I don’t know about you, but we certainly seem to be operating in a very different environment.  Lots of new staff and passengers who seem to have very different expectations from a time that seems to have long disappeared.

It is bringing with it pressure and I am seeing staff that are tired and breaking down.

Recent weeks I have had the opportunity to take part in a training session with our Airport Police.  I have facilitated discussion around Vicarious Trauma, Compassion Fatigue and Moral Injury.  I have made myself vulnerable by telling my story and it has led to some amazing discussion with members and a recognition that we are each responsible for our self care. 

The blessing from this is the deepening of relationships as we work together around rough sleepers and those presenting with mental health issues.

I was reminded this week in my own devotions about Matthew 25 and the fact that what we do each day, often going unnoticed, we are actually doing for God and he sees what we do for the least.  I pray for each of you that you may find rest when needed, a chance to recharge and that your chaplaincy may seem to be taken for granted but it does have a huge impact.

Take care my friends, book now for St Louis and I look forward to the chance to see as many as possible face to face.

Shalom

Martyn

President’s letter May 2023

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I wanted to get this newsletter out to you as some have been asking about information for this year’s conference.  We hope to start taking registrations early in June and information is included in this newsletter.  This year we will using Eventbrite to register and take payments at the same time.  I want to thank the team at St Louis for their hard work and I can assure you we will be in for a great time.

I do want to remind you all that as part of the application process you will need to acknowledge that you have taken out appropriate travel insurance.  We will also ask people to acknowledge that they will take care of their own health and not attend sessions if they feel unwell.

One of the joys I have as President is seeing the impact Chaplaincy has around the globe.  I love hearing your stories and seeing some of our chaplaincies being acknowledged through media and social networks.I am also reminded that we must never take for granted the place we have been given to serve our respective communities.  I find that I remind myself to hold the chaplaincy lightly.  That I am in the airport on the invitation of management and supported by others such as the airlines and ground handlers but at any time they could decide that we are not needed.

I remind myself that we have a part to play and we need to add value to the airport community.I encourage each of you in your place to think about and reflect on the part you play.  Our Chief of Aviation said something profound when answering a question on why does the airport have chaplains.  His response is the airport is made up of hardware (the physical buildings and resources), the software (the technology to run this complex business) and the humanware.  The airport has staff and passengers with many emotions and all sorts of reason to travel and then there are those traumatic things that can happen in our airports.  We provide the humanware in our compassion and unconditional love for our fellow staff and passengers. 

Please be encouraged in what you bring every day in your space.

Blessings

Martyn

President

President’s letter April 2023

April 2023

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

I can’t believe how fast time is going by.  Maybe it’s because I am older and I certainly want to make every moment count.

I guess, you, like us in Melbourne seem to be getting busier and busier as the airline industry reconnects the world.

One of the things I am finding that is causing stress amongst staff is the language being used around the Pandemic.  For example, how busy we are in passenger numbers is always being measured against pre pandemic numbers.  What I am finding is this is causing stress to staff especially new staff who have no idea what the airport was like pre pandemic.

I think we should be thinking that pre pandemic was an era.  Then we had the pandemic which wiped out most of our industry for a long time and now we are in a new age, with new staff, new travel expectations from our passengers and so we need to create a new dynamic era based on what is today and into the future.Maybe we can be the catalyst for this discussion and help our industry see a new future as the world reconnects.

I did mean to write this prior to Easter and so I want to acknowledge the celebrations and remembrance many have shared from different faiths through Passover, Easter both Orthodox and Christian and for our Muslim friends, Ramadan. I have taken the time myself to do a real fast from food for twenty one days and not only did I feel detoxed and better but I was able to spend quality time in spiritual reflection and prayer.  It has become a special time which I plan on repeating two or three times through the year.

To each of you I want you to know you are valued and we celebrate the amazing privilege we have to serve our airport communities across the globe.

Ramadan Mubarak

Eternal God of all the generations, we welcome this festival of freedom with joyful hearts. We have assembled together seeking Your presence. As You redeemed our ancestors from the slavery of Egypt and led them to the land of their inheritance, so have You been our Redeemer and Protector throughout the centuries.

And may you know the peace and joy of our risen Lord.

Bless you all

Martyn

President IACAC

Melbourne Airport

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

Martyn

President IACAC

Melbourne Airport

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

President