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.
I have learnt it is often the little things that make such a big difference. A box of chocolates to staff that are under the pump, an email of encouragement, or even a prayer when requested can make such a difference.
We are getting super excited to see as many of you as possible at the conference in a few months time. Our whole community is getting excited about this time we will spend together with a feature about the conference going out in the airport newsletter this week. If you can attend we promise a great tie of fellowship and learning. We have a great line up of speakers and a couple of exciting visits arranged around our amazing city.
I know how demanding being a chaplain in an airport can be. Often we put in very long hours and then provide on call services. We are often called upon to be the solution maker when things are difficult. We deal with trauma and death and other demands. I guess it is like this elsewhere, but with our cold days, we are seeing more and more homeless people come to the airport and we are often called on to do welfare checks. We are also often dealing with people with severe mental health issues as well as the staff and passenger issues. The demands are great and often outstrip what we can possible give. But I have found strength and energy in trying to follow a contemplative lifestyle where I am open as much as possible to the leading and movement of the Spirit.
This Psalm has really spoken to me lately and I want to leave it with you.
23 Some went off to sea in ships, plying the trade routes of the world. 24 They, too, observed the Lord’s power in action, his impressive works on the deepest seas. 25 He spoke, and the winds rose, stirring up the waves. 26 Their ships were tossed to the heavens and plunged again to the depths; the sailors cringed in terror. 27 They reeled and staggered like drunkards and were at their wits’ end. 28 “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. 29 He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves. 30 What a blessing was that stillness
I love that last verse. What a blessing was the stillness. I pray that you each will find the time to be still and in that find an incredible blessing as you serve you airport communities.
Martyn Scrimshaw (Captain)
Coordinating Chaplain. The Chaplaincy – Melbourne Airport