Dear Colleagues and Friends of the IACAC,
The entire planet is going through a very strange and painful time. The COVID-19 pandemic has enforced half of the world population into some sort of isolation although it seems that we haven’t reach the peak of the pandemic yet. Each of us has now seen the dramatic impact of lockdowns around the world on air traffic and on the global aviation industry. Our airports are empty. It will take months and years for airlines and airports to recover from this tragedy and if many of us are unable to visit the airport in which we serve for now, the presence and ministry of airport chaplains will be more than ever essential in airports around the world.
Finding strength in an uncertain time
In Chapter 7 of the Book of Judges in the 1st Testament of the Bible, Gideon and the people of Israel are facing the uncertainty of a battle against Midian. God tells Gideon to go to the camp of his enemy “go down to the camp and listen to what they are saying. Afterward you will be encouraged to attack the camp” (v. 10 & 11). It might have looked like a very strange strategy for Gideon who was understandably quite afraid to follow this advice. But he went, listened to a man telling a dream to his companion who interpreted it as the vision of the victory of Gideon who was then strengthened and encouraged to pursue the battle.
In time of uncertainty we need to have our ears and spirit open in order not to lose our purpose, faith and vision. For in the strangest advice and the weirdest dreams might come the wisest solution and the most creative vision of the future. Creativity is what we need. I am actually quite amazed at the creativity of teachers, doctors, nurses, religious leaders, families and individuals who had to reinvent their practice and daily life and this, I must say, gives me hope and strengthens my faith in a renewed future. This same creativity has been developed by airport chaplains those past weeks and will moreover be needed to reinvent our service to airports communities. And when we can’t find the strength, courage and creativity in our inner life, maybe listening to the voice of God or of our fellow humans (even sometime from our enemies) might open new perspectives and hopes to go ahead with our lives and ministry.
With difficult times come difficult choices and although it seemed like the only and obvious one, cancelling our 2020 Conference was a painful decision that the Board made a few days ago. It is particularly painful as, I believe we need now more than ever the fellowship and the mutual encouragement we find in our annual conference. But it was necessary.
Out of this might come some good things. This at least is my hope and prayer. And although nothing will replace a face-to-face encounter, the Board is considering the opportunity of an online meeting of some sort and we are waiting for ideas on how to do it and what we should do with it. I believe that it could be the opportunity for many chaplains who can’t usually attend our Conferences to connect with us and enjoy the fellowship of our association. So please send in your ideas (even the craziest and most unexpected ones)!
Deepening our spirituality in isolation
After Christians around the world went through Lent and Easter in this difficult time, often being unable to join other members of their family and community to celebrate the central festival of the Christian faith, it is now the turn of Muslims around the world to go through Ramadan, one of the 5 pillars of their faith in isolation. Community and fellowship is an essential part of most, if not all, world faiths. Wherever we are we need to create new ways to maintain and strengthen this fellowship. But isolation is also an opportunity for each of us to deepen our spirituality and to “constantly remain connected with our creator” as a Muslim colleague wrote to me a few days ago.
We pray you will safe and well.
Pierre de Mareuil
Holy Days of the Month
Celebrating and sharing our traditions
7th- Vesak – Buddha Day, Buddhism
8th Second Passover, Jewish
12th Lag BaOmer, Jewish
19th Laylat al Qadr , Islam
21st Ascension of Jesus, Christian
22nd Yom Yerushalyiam, Jewish
22nd Savitri Pooja, Hindu
24th Eid-al-Fitr (End of Ramadan), Islam
29th Shavuot,(1st Day), Jewish
30 Shavuot, Jewish
31st Pentecost, Christian