It is with a heavy heart that I write these lines as we have heard about the death of Father Xavier de Meeûs one of the founders of our association. I never had the chance to meet him and get to know him but it has always amazed me that in the first decades of civil aviation two Roman Catholic priests who were chaplains in Brussels and Paris-Orly airport decided to start what would soon become an international and multifaith movement. Two other things struck me of what I’ve heard about Fr de Meeûs one was in a conversation with I believe Fr Walter Maader during our 50th anniversary conference in Stockholm where I was told he always wanted to innovate and encouraged chaplains and the association to be innovative. It has been a guide for me since. The other thing was, more recently just after learning about his death in a conversation with Mary who insisted on how gentle he was and how much he wanted our association to be open to people of all faith. Had we met we might have had some discussion about such things as the relevance of a legal entity for the IACAC or on us becoming a more professional association and we might have disagreed on those issues. I nevertheless feel very humble and encouraged to follow the footsteps of such a giant. As we honor his memory I hope and pray that we will continue to be inspired by his vision.
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
Gonzalez, Protestant chaplain at Paris-Orly airport (ORY) sent the
following reflection on a workshop held at the conference:
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.
As an association we owe much to Fr Xavier, chaplain at Brussels Airport, who during 1961 met with Fr Steux from Orly Airport in Paris. Their idea was to bring together those engaged in airport ministry with the aim of mutal support and encouragement. As a result of their discussions ten more chaplains met in Brussels in 1967 and the foundations for the IACAC were laid with their decision to meet annually. They called themselves the Airport Chaplains International. Every year since then, except in 1985, airport chaplains from around the world have come together to share fellowship and learn from each other.
During the IACAC Annual Business Meeting held at Melbourne Conference the new Executive Board was elected and installed.
President: Rev. Pierre de Mareuil (CDG, FR) Vice-President: Deacon David Reiser (CLT, USA) Treasurer: Rev. Romeo Dabee (JFK, USA) Media Officer: Rev. Stephan Pfenninger Schait (ZRH, CH) Secretary: Miss Mary Holloway (MEL, AUS)
Nominations were also received for the election of a new Secretary at the Nairobi Conference in 2020. Deacon Jim Martin for St Louis was nominted by Deacon David Reiser and seconded by Canon Liz Hughes. As his nomination was the only one received, Deacon Jim will be elected unopposed as Secretary in Nairobi.
During the Paris Conference in 2016 Major Peter Hawkins presented a workshop on the skills and competencies that could be required for an airport chaplain. The Board, led by Vice President Pierre de Mareuil, has continued to work on defining those skills and competencies. At the bottom if this article there is a download-link to the most recent version of that work. The original list of 60 has been grouped into two categories; Character and Competencies. Character which is related to one’s own natural ablities and personal experiences Competencies which can be acquired through training and education.