President’s Letter | August 2021

Dear friends and colleagues,

It’s been too long since we last met!

It seems to me that I’ve been repeating that phrase for the past 2 months. Meeting friends and family for the summer holidays or airport staff that had been furloughed for 12 to 15 months has been such a joy and made me realize once more how much we need to see and meet each other. Then, those past days Facebook has been starting to remind me of fond memories of our conference in Paris in late August 2016. I already anticipate within the next few days and weeks the memories from Charlotte in 2018 and Stockholm in 2017, then will come those from New York in 2015 and Melbourne in 2019. My Facebook will not search beyond as I wasn’t on it before 2015 but I’m sure that for many of you more memories will remind you of so many past conferences, friendly faces and new encounters. 

The very strange times we are living are giving us a deeper conscience of things that we use to take for granted. Meeting friends and making new ones is one of them. For the past few months I have been extremely grateful for new tools that make it possible for us to meet virtually and actually see each other, through a screen, more frequently than we used to. But how much I miss a hand shake or a hug, catching up on our lives and ministry as we share a beer or a coffee. There are many things we can do and share online and I anticipate those tools will remain an important part of our lives. But fellowship needs actual meetings.

After postponing last year’s conference and despite all the difficulties we are facing individually, locally on our airports and globally, together with the team in Nairobi, the Board have decided to maintain the conference this year. “Chaplains are the face of hope in crisis.” These are the word that Capt Gilbert Kibe, Director General of the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority, shared with us last year in our Online Conference. We hope that this conference will be a modest but significant sign of hope for the aviation industry that has been so strongly shaken by the COVID-19 crisis. Our host chaplain, Edward Nambute and the wonderful team of chaplains in Nairobi have been working on a great program for more than 2 years now. Together with each one of them I am impatient to meet as many of you as possible in October in Nairobi. The Nairobi team and the Board have worked hard to make it a great conference but the success of it is your hands.

Some of us will be privileged to attend our annual Conference in Nairobi but I know that many will not have the opportunity. I hope nevertheless that most of us will be able to join some of the sessions online and enjoy the some of the fellowship, learn together and share our stories and best practices. Please make sure you save some time on your calendar for our Business Meeting (Thursday 21st October 1100UTC) and as many sessions as possible. With the team in Nairobi we’ve tried to work on the schedule to have the main sessions at 11:00 UTC which has been our reference time for online meetings for the past 15 months. Note that each session will be recorded and made available for those who have registered. Please consider joining us if that is possible.

I do hope to meet as many of you as possible in Nairobi in October and anticipate to see many more online.

Pierre de Mareuil

Holy Days for September

7th & 8th Rosh Hashanah – Judaism

10th Ganesg Chaturthi – Hinduism

16th Yon Kippur – Judaism

21st-27th Sukkot – Judaism

28th Shemini Atzeret – Judaism

29th Simchat Torah – Judaism

30th – St Michael and all Angels- Christianity