President’s Letter | February 2020

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

For those of us of the Christian tradition we have now entered the season of Lent in the approach to Easter. A time for reflection and contemplation, a time to search for a clear pattern and plan running through our lives. A time to walk with God.

We live in a shrinking world. Within minutes of it happening social media, the press, TV and radio bring graphic details of disasters from all around the world. We are instantly able to share the horrors, the highs and lows of what is happening with those who are suffering. This is clearly illustrated by the constant updates we receive about the spread of the corona virus and we can only hope and pray that it will soon end.

Communications are so swift that great cities and small villages are like next-door neighbours. Since the growth of cities following the Industrial Revolution, a culture has developed where people live in one place, work in another, have their leisure all over the world and worship, if they do, in a religious community of their choice. Rarely do the people with whom they associate in each activity overlap. As chaplains working in the airports of the world we see this only too well as we minister to the people who pass through the terminals. But this shrinking world also has an advantage for us. We are rapidly able to provide support and help to refugees arriving from war torn countries or counselling and an arm to lean on to grieving or distressed travellers, or just a friendly welcome to a happy holidaymaker. We can do this because of our ability to communicate quickly with each other. Without our rapid means of communication we would not know how much our prayers are needed. Our links to each other also allow us to share in each other’s lives and support each other through the good and bad times.

The IACAC Board is grateful for all the support received from so many people, and for every encouragement in its ministry. The Board is continuing to meet on line each month and we ask for your prayers as we consider the needs of the Association and work with our Nairobi Chaplain hosts plan for our conference in October.

Preparations are well in hand for the Nairobi  Conference and the February meeting of the Board discussed all aspects of the arrangements. Please note that the venue for the conference has now been changed to the Hilton Garden Inn located very close to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi. The conference program has been provisionally finalised and will be available on our website very soon. It is important that registrations for the conference and post conference tour should be made through the website by the 1st June.  This will assist our Nairobi hosts with reservations for the hotel and especially for the tour. Payment can be made later.

Please give some thought to attending our annual conference. The program content looks good and there is again the opportunity for chaplains to share their stories and learn from each other. Make sure you put the dates of the 11th -16th October for the conference and 17th– 20th October for the tour in your diary. We are looking forward to seeing you there.

It is always very pleasing to hear news from our chaplaincies around the world. Our secretary, Mary would love to hear from you if you have news share.

Rev. Pierre de Mareuil
Paris CDG

Holy Days of the Month

01 –      Bahá’u’lláh (fasting 19 days – Baha’i)
02 –      Beginning of Great Lent (Orthodox churches)
06 –      International Day of Prayer (Christian)
08 –      International Women’s day (UN)
Taishang Laojun (Taoism)
09 –      Holika Dahan (Hinduism)
Chötrül Düchen (Vajrayana Buddhism)
10 –      Holi “Festival of Colors” (Hinduism)
Purim (Judaism)
10-12 – Hola Mohalla (Sikhism)
13 –      Kasuga Matsuri (Shintoism)
14 –      Sikh New Year
17 –      St Patrick’s Day (Anglican, Catholic, some Orthodox and some Protestant churches and beers drinkers regardless of their tradition 😉 )
19 –      St Joseph’s Day (Anglican, Catholic, some Orthodox and some Protestant churches)
20 –      International Day of Happiness (UN)
Baha’i New Year (year 177)
21 –      Now Rouz (Zoroastrianism, Iran)
21 or 22 –  Al Isra-Wa-Miraj or Lailat al Miraj (Islam – see article by Hadj Khababa)
25 –      Gudi Padva or Ugadi (Hinduism)
Annunciation (Anglican, Catholic, some Orthodox and some Protestant churches)
26 –      Khordad Sal or Zarathustra’s Birthday (Zoroastrianism, Iran)

If you would like to tell us a little bit about one (or some) of your holy day(s) please write a small article presenting its principles as well as what it means to you personally or as a chaplain and if you notice any mistake please let us know.