News from our chaplaincies

On the 17th May chaplains from Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Sth Africa met via Zoom to share time together. Unfortunately our colleagues in the Congo were unable to connect on the day. The guest presenter for the day was Captain Gilbert Kibe, Director General of the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority. Captain Kibe is a passionate supporter of chaplaincy in Kenya and is keen to see many other African countries appoint chaplains to their airports. In his presentation Captain Kibe spoke of the contribution of chaplains to the life of the airport and the airport community especially throuhout the COVID pandemic. He saw the chaplaincy as a source of spiritual support that helps grow a healthy work force and eases emotional stress. He believes that the chaplaincy ministry  supports the raising of awareness of diginity for all people in their work. Captain Kibe encouraged all those present to continue to grow their networking in order to learn and benchmark on faith based matters at airports both locally, regionally and internationally.

Our President, Rev Pierre de Mareuil, was also invited to speak on the history of chaplaincy in Africa. He reminded everyone that African chaplains have been a part of IACAC for a long time and had been attending IACAC conferences for more that thirty years.Three times now our annual conference has been held in an African country – 2000 and 2006 the annual conference was held in Sth Africa and in 2009 in Zambia. Our President sincerely thanked the Nairobi Chaplaincy team for hosting this zoom meeting  and hoped it would be the first of many for our chaplains working in airports across Africa.

The Rev Samuael Atabua has been asked by his Bishop to establish a chaplaincy at Entebbe International Airport in Uganda. We warmly welcome him to airport chaplaincy and were very pleased that he was able to join the zoom meeting and make contact with other chaplains in Africa.

The Rev Marieke Meiring from Schiphol, Amsterdam tells us that her airport is slowly returning to life and she is looking forward to being able to make more contact with people across the airport.

Rev Canon Jonathan Baldwin is very pleased that at last he is able to welcome more people in person to his services in the chapel at Gatwick. Over the past year he has conducted services twice a week on Zoom and provided a great opportunity for worship for those unable to attend their local churches.

At this time Melbourne Airport is again in lockdown as the state of Victoria, Australia responds to another outbreak of COVID19. This has been particularly difficult for airport workers and airlines as they had been slowly recovering from last year’s extended lockdown. Throughout each lockdown airport management has been very suportive of the  chaplaincy being a constant presence in the airport to provide support and ease emotional stress.