This section provides the latest news from Chaplains and Chaplaincies around the world.
June / July 2020
At the coronavirus pandemic has swept the world many of our colleagues have been unable to go to their airports, have contact with passengers and employees or hold services. But throughout this trying time many chaplains have found ways to offer support to their airports. Sadly in every country, across the aviation world, airport management, airline staff, all the supporting industries and retail outlets that support the smooth running of the sector are facing a terrible economic downturn. Thousands have been laid off or dismissed as a result of the pandemic. Many chaplaincies have found ways to reach out to airport employees even if they have not been able to be present in the airport.
Charlotte Douglas International Airport Chaplaincy, North Carolina has uploaded messages of support to their website. To read the Words of Comfort in Troubled Times by Dr Robert J Wicks go to cltairportchapel.org
The Catholic News Herald published in Western North Carolina reported on the role of the airport chaplaincy at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. The article entitled “Airport Chaplaincy slowly emerges from holding pattern”. As the airport increases its operations the team of chaplains is slowly returning to work. But, as Deacon George Szalony says, they have had to adapt their ministry to a ‘new normal’ demanded by the COVID 19 pandemic. However he went to say that staff are thrilled to see them and as someone who has been a minister for a long time, he has found it amazing to be so welcomed back.
The Christian chaplains at London Heathrow Airport have also taken time to make Youtube video reflections on Bible passages that could give comfort. These can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCv9VT91_N5oZtxJWf1S9M6w/videos
CDG Paris has farewelled two of its chaplains. The Rev Sophie Dentan Verseil finished her time on the 1st July and we wish her well in her new appointment. Deacon Yves de Brunhoff is leaving at the beginning of August and has written;
Dear friends and colleagues,
I do hope that you are going well, during this period whith so many huge sufferings over the world. I have been praying a lot for everybody on our airports.
I inform you that I am going to leave chaplaincy on the Parisian airports on end of August. Of course not whithout regret !!! As I am a deacon, I am available for the Church, so I have accepted with my wife and a team to be in charge of a service which helps suffering young and old people, already standing in France and a little outside.
I thank you a lot for your friendship. For six years I have been so happy every day to serve the Lord and men and women on the airports !
I keep each of you in my prayer, still thank you for everything,
Yves de Brunhoff (Paris)
A new priest and deacon will start at CDG at the beginning of September.
It is the time of the year that many priests are celebrating the anniversaries of their ordinations.
Congratulations to the Rev Mats Linde for thirty five years as a priest in the Church of Sweden.
Congratulations to the Rev Canon Jonathan Baldwin at London Gatwick who celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of his ordination as a priest in the Church of England.
Congratulations also to Rev George Lane at Manchester Airport who is celebrated the twenty-seventh anniversary of his ordination as a priest.
The British Isles and Ireland Airport Chaplains Network is already planning for next year in the hope that face to face meetings will again be a reality. In the meantime a Zoom meeting is being organised for Tuesday 28th July at 10am London time. Participants will need to register so that they can be sent login details. Details on how to register are available from Rev Canon Liz Hughes at London Luton airport. During the meeting such topics as how people have been coping with lockdown, reports from various airports on the effect of COVID 19 and challenges for recovery, live streaming of worship, issues faced by various faith groups and any other matters that may arise from discussions.
On the 15th June approximately forty chaplains joined the Zoom meeting to catch up with friends and share their experiences during lockdown. One chaplain described it as inspiring and enjoyed the opportunity to hear from others and share his own experiences. It was so good to see and talk with so many friends in airports around the world. The screen shot below captured some of the participants as they contributed to the discussions during the meeting.
It is fifty years since the international and domestic airport in Melbourne moved from Essendon Airport to become Melbourne International Airport at Tullamarine. At the same time the part time chaplaincy moved from Essendon too and became a full time position. Sadly in 1998 the chaplaincy changed to an on call service only but in 2011 the chaplaincy returned full time to the airport. Over those fifty years Melbourne has been represented at nearly every IACAC conference. Despite the effects of the pandemic, which meant that celebrations were low key, the airport is very proud of its achievements over the past fifty years.
The Rev Mats Linde, Goteburg Landvetter Airport, Sweden, has been visited by press reporters to find out how his work has been affected by COVID 19. He wrote, “ Suddenly it happens! Different newspapers get in touch to hear how my work as an airport priest has changed since Corona changed flight. At GOT we dropped over 99% of travellers in no time. This has hit companies and emplyees at the airport hard and many are left and warned. As the journalists do the interviews from home due to the situation, I had photogrpher, Tommy Holl, visiting today to document on site. We walked around together for a few hours meeting workers in the airport and also had the opportunity to get the airport director, Anna Strömwall in a photo. Early in 2021 the chaplaincy at Goteburg Landvetter will be reorganised and its of service to the airport will be changed. But for now, with the effects of the coronavirus on the aviation industry, there is much to do as so many emplyees are worried about losing their jobs. Mats asks for our prayers an uncertain future.
Rev Kim Worthington from Westchester City Airport New York says “Praying you are remaining well and feeling safe as well. My home Church is Living Word Christian Church, and offers live stream for the moment at 10:30AM on Sundays.
God bless you.
Rev Canon Jonathan Baldwin, London Gatwick is using Zoom to broadcast a Holy Communion Service at 11 am Sundays and Wednesdays London time. He says if you would like to join in please find the Zoom link on the Services Diary drop down menu on the Gatwick Airport Chaplaincy website then click on the date and service. He asks for our continued prayers for all those suffering as a result of the effects of COVID 19.
Richard Heybroek, at London Gatwick; ”Thank you for your post and IACAC bulletin. It’s good to remember that we have a shared challenge to support an industry where thousands are suffering health and economic adversity. Gatwick is beginning to develop a diary of online services – the schedule with Zoom data is here. All welcome, of course. I also recently sent a note about these times to my local Buddhist ‘parishioners’, those in my district sangha around Gatwick. This may be interesting for anyone unfamiliar with socially-engaged Mahayana: Warmest regards, be mindful of your safety”.
Fr Gabriel Feyisetan from Lagos, Nigeria sends his greetings and also asks for prayers for the people of Africa as they face the growing levels of infection across the continent.
Some of our colleagues have been able to hold services, which are being live streamed. This has been a great comfort for those who have been able to access them. If you are streaming your services and are willing to share the link, please upload the information to the Members Section of our website through the blog posts that our Media Officer has set up.
A very quiet committal service was held for the Rev Michael Banfield on Wednesday 1st April at 16.15 but only 10 could attend. Michael’s wife Linda wrote;
“We cannot have flowers on Wednesday so instead we shall have Michael’s black preaching scarf embroidered on each side at the bottom in gold with the IACAC symbol.
A Thanksgiving Service is planned for one Saturday afternoon in October open to all. I will let you know in due course the date of the Thanksgiving Service and perhaps there may be one or two from the British Isles who might like to represent IACAC”
Fr Fabrizio Martello from Milan sent Easter greetings to all airport chaplans:
Rev Peter Whitehead from Johanesburg is asking for prayers for their chaplaincy as they hold their Annual General Meeting on the 1st April and their new Board will be chosen.
We are so pleased to be able to welcome the Rev Ingrid Edgardh as a new member of IACAC. She has been appointed as the new chaplain at Arlanda Stockholm Airport and took up her position within the past few months. This is really good news as Arlanda has been a part of IACAC for many, many years.
From The Charlotte NC Chaplaincy- The week before the excellent conference in Melbourne Australia, we signed a ten-year contract with the management of the Charlotte Douglas International Airport to provide emotional and spiritual care to passengers and employees.
As a result, we are acknowledged as a vital part of the Airport and no longer have to always justify we belong at the airport. We are included in all aspects of airport management and operation. Our team of 37 Chaplains now wear blue safety vests with the words “Airport Chaplain” on the front and back.
Key to the contract was seeing ourselves not as a religious organization but a “spiritual” organization. We had to modify our legal name to “Inter-Faith Airport Chaplaincy” and accept a senior airport manager to our Board of Directors. Our Board consists of all secular men and woman which also brings us into compliance with City of Charlotte NC ordinances as well as fits the beliefs of the 40-50 year old Airport Directors.
Our volunteer team know that God loves everyone and cares for them whether the person believes in God or not. This core belief enables us to meet the emotional and spiritual needs of passengers and employees. It also opens a door which allows us to touch the spiritual core of the person if they chose to let us go there.
Inter-Faith Airport Chaplaincy at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Charlotte North Carolina, USA
Canon Liz Hughes, secretary of the British Isles and Ireland Airport Chaplains Network, would like to remind members of the Network of their next meeting on the 28th Apri in Edinburgh. The focus for this meeting will be “Airports and Community”.
By now I am sure you have all heard about, and have been praying for the most cataclysmic disastrous fires raging through South East Australia. Many of us have been the recipients of some great Australian hospitality over the years, and not least from Mary and Martyn, the hosts of our last IACAC Conference in Melbourne last year. In fact parts of the state of Victoria, where we have been on previous post Conference tours, have been raised to the ground through the fires. Even one of Jamie buses, the same one we used for our last tour, together with Nigel the driver, were sent to help out in one town, and became surrounded by raging fires and were trapped there for quite a few days.
The reason I am writing this is because, as well as our prayers, some people may wish to donate to some money to a Fire Disaster Fund. The details should you wish to donate are listed in the note from Martyn and Mary.
Thank You in advance,
Rev Canon Jonathan Baldwin
Hobart Airport in Australia now has an established chaplaincy and we are very happy to welcome Pastor Gus Yearsley, Mrs Di Griffiths, Mrs Ruth Pinkerton, Archdeacon Stephan Savage and Major Joel Clifford as new members of IACAC. It was good to have Pastor Gus Yearsley, Mrs Di Griffiths and Mrs Ruth Pinkerton with us in Melbourne last year for the conference and we look forward to hearing more about Hobart Airport.
Deacon Jim Martin from St Louis sent the link to an article about the chaplaincy that ran in their Archdiocesan Newspaper. There is no doubt after reading it that we all share so many similar experiences that are unique to our calling to serve in airports.
Our colleagues at Frankfurt Airport recently had to deal with a spate of graffiti attacks on their chapels. It was a very upsetting time for them and involved investigation by the airport police. Thankfully the chapels are now cleaned and back to their former glory.
On the 12th September Melbourne Airport participated in the nation wide RU OK Day. R U OK is an Australian suicide prevention charity that aims to start life-changing conversations. They want to help create a more connected world. Across the airport employees took time to speak with their colleagues, share a coffee and really listen to each other. It was a very uplifting day for all involved.
The Indianapolis Airport Chaplaincy Team recently held their annual Chaplains BBQ Reach Out to which all members of the airprt community were invited. It was a very successful day as you can see from the photos below.
Please continue hold the members of the Indianapolis team in your prayers as they still come to terms with the loss of Fr Glenn.
A message from Fr Mike Zaniolo from O’Hare Chicago to members of the National Conference of Catholic Airport Chaplains
Dear NCCAC Members,
Please put these dates in your calendar for our NCCAC annual meeting: May 3 thru 8, 2020 in Houston TX. Detailed information and registration forms will be available in January.
I hope you’re all having a nice summer and that all is well in your chaplaincies!
Let us keep each other in our prayers.
The chaplains at Melbourne Airport recently participated in the launch of the “R U OK” project, a mental health initiative for the airport.Two hundred employees attended and three spoke of their struggles with mental health and what had been the strengths for them in dealing with their own personal situations. Martyn also spoke and this has opened up some amazing doors for deep conversations and a reminder that the chaplaincy offers support to all at the airport.
The Melbourne Chaplains are so looking forward to welcoming everybody to their airport in October for the annual IACAC Conference. They hope to see you there if you have not already registered.
We ask you to continue praying for the Rev Michael Banfield, former vice president of IACAC and life member, as he faces another decline in his health. Please also pray for his family that they all may find strength and comfort at this time.
Please also hold in prayer the Rev Paul Rampton, associate member from London Gatwick, as he grieves the passing of his mother last week. May she rest in peace and rise in glory.
The Rev Peter Whitehead from Johannesburg sends his greetings and regrets he is unable to make the conference this year but is hopeful of attending next year.
Fr Chris Piasta from JFK New York was invited to make a presentation at the 2019 World Seminar for civil aviation chaplains and pastoral agents in Rome. The theme of the conference was “Catholic Civil Aviation Chaplains and Members of the Airport Chaplaincy at the Service of Integral Human Development”. His insights into airport chaplaincy in the light of the theme were well received by all attending and his IACAC colleagues present felt very proud of his contribution.
to the Melbourne Airport Chaplaincy team who were nominated for the
Melbourne Airport Excellence Awards in 2019. The following article
was reported in the Salvation Army Chaplaincy Newsletter; ”The
Airport Chaplaincy team were nominated by members of the public and
airport staff for three awards. Captain Martyn Scrimshaw and Mary
Holloway were each nominated for “Excellence in Customer
Service”. Major Graeme McClimont, Major Helen McClimont, Mary
Holloway and Sharon Chowdary were nominated for “Excellence in
Team Work and Collaboration”.
The nominees (more than two hundred) were recognised for their excellence in service at a special Melbourne Airport Awards night on the 21st June, Crown Casino, which was attended by Martyn, Mary and Team Leader Les Smith on behalf of the team (Graeme, Helen and Sharon were unable to attend).
a full-time officer, and his team of five volunteer Chaplains look
after approximately 20,000 staff at Melbourne Airport, ranging from
management to baggage handlers and check-in staff. They are also
often called in to take care of passengers, of which there are
approximately 120,000 who move through the airport every day.
The work never ends because the airport never closes. Martyn and his team are often working behind the scenes, 24 hours a day, walking alongside staff and passengers to provide emotional, practical and spiritual support for issues such as grief and loss, depression, financial distress and family struggles. They have often comforted and prayed with travellers who have lost loved ones whilst on holiday, and even perform welfare checks on homeless people living at the airport.
As Martyn said, “The team provide emotional and spiritual support often in difficult circumstances, so to be nominated by both the travelling public and staff was a very humbling experience. We give God the glory for allowing us to be present in this dynamic world called the Melbourne Airport.”
The 17th World Seminar of Catholic Aviation Chaplains and Pastoral Care will take place in Rome from 9th to the 13th June. Among other topics for discussion will be a panel discussion on the presence of the airport chapel
– As an expression of religious freedom in a country: justification of its presence and meaning based on pastoral commitment and actions.
– As a rampart against the violation of human rights: welcoming and serving people intercepted and detained at the airport.
Also to identity and mission of the chaplain and pastoral agents – Pastoral care of people in transit, airport employees, and in situations of fragility.
Fr Gabriel Feyisetan from Lagos, Nigeria who says he just trying to recover from the the shock of the passing on of his friend and brother Glenn O’Connor but has to accept what he cannot change. He thanks God for knowing and sharing life with him. He says he is making up his mind to attend the Melbourne conference. He sends his kind regards to everybody, and God’s blessings to all.
Please hold in prayer our colleague, the Rev Robert Julius Reid from Charleston International Airport, Sth Carolina whose wife passed away on Thursday 30th May. May she rest in peace and rise in glory.
Please hold in prayer the families We ask you to hold in prayer the 41 passengers and crew on board the Russian Aeroflot Flight who lost their lives as the plane exploded into fire while attempting to land after a suspected lightning strike.
Please remember their families and pray they can find comfort as they come to terms with this tragedy.
Especially hold in prayer the first responders and rescue workers they work to retrieve the remains of the passengers and crew. Also keep in mind the air accident investigation people whose work will reduce the likelihood of other tragedies.
During these past weeks there have been a number of aviation incidents around the world causing death or injury to passengers and crew. We continue to pray for safe travel for all who take to our skies either as crew or passengers and for the ground staff who work to ensure every aspect of the flight is safe.
Post Easter greetings to you and the Association. Kenya was fully involved into the Ethiopian Airline crash early last month. The process is long and continues for the grieved families. Our chaplains offered support to grieving families and aircrews.
CACK has had monthly meetings to follow-up on our meeting with IACAC Board. Thanks for your communications that followed our Kenyan fellowship.
Meanwhile wish you well; We will continue to update you on our Kenyan progress in planning of 2020 Conference.
Rev Edward Nambute and the Nairobi Chaplaincy Team
The Rev Samuel Karoki from Nairobi also sent a message. ”Thanks so much for your prayers and concerns for the bereaved families and the hard work by the rescue workers. The pastoral care during the vital day was overwhelming for us at Nairobi Airport but by his grace we stood with the affected families. Then daily program was affected for the same. I was at airport with Pauline and Grace waiting for the bereaved families coming from Addis Ababa. We asked to be lifted to the Lord for the task ahead of us”.
Rev. Joseph Omollo Kisumu Aviation, Kenya also sent messages and thanks for the prayers offered.
Greetings have also come other colleagues in Africa. Fr Gabriel Feyisetan, Lagos, Nigeria sends his best wishes to everybody and spoke of his grief on the passing of Fr Glenn O’Connor.
The Bristish Isles and Ireland Airport Chaplains Network held their next Network Day on the 29th & 30th April in Belfast. The program was very interesting and thought provoking. Congratulations to Alan Benstock from Leeds Bradford Airport on his election as the new Network Coordinator.