In Mark 16 v 15 Jesus said “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to all creation.”
There is no need to go anywhere else when you are a chaplain at Heathrow Airport, as the world comes to you
Heathrow is the world’s 5th busiest airport with over 76 million people travelling through its terminals in 2016. There are over 80 airlines, from all corners of the globe, which fly into and out of the airport, which are serviced by nearly 80,000 workers. There is a wide variety of jobs, which range from the pilots and other aircraft crew to engineers and cleaners. There is also a large group that work in retail and catering trades. In fact Heathrow is its own community that never shuts!! It operates 24/7, 365 days a year.
About the Heathrow Chaplaincy
The Heathrow Chaplaincy team has 26 members, and is headed up by Howie Adan from the Church of England. The chaplaincy is multi faith and includes chaplains from Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Islamic and Sikh faiths as well as Christians, from various denominations, but there is plenty of room for more!! Many of the chaplains are volunteers or are released by their churches, or faith groups for a day or 2 a week.
The team offers pastoral and spiritual support to passengers and staff, to those of all faiths and those of none. An encounter with a passenger, who is making a difficult journey, is a one off meeting, but the staff you meet on a regular basis. The role of the chaplain is mainly to listen and to reassure that what is shared with us is done so in confidence. It takes time to build up trust with the Heathrow community, so this is a job for the long haul.
About Paul Barker
I started as a chaplain in October 2011 and it is true to say that no 2 days are the same, you never quite know what is going to happen or who you are going to meet. Some days I talk about football, the weather or life in general. Some are more dramatic, like attending a death on board an aircraft. It’s all about being a presence and being Jesus to the people we meet.
I’m often asked why I am a chaplain. I usually answer by saying “Nowhere in the gospels did Jesus say if you want to meet me I’ll be in the synagogue at 10:30 on the Sabbath. He met people where they were, so if it’s good enough for Him, it’s good enough for me!!”
Currently I am the only Baptist representative in the team, but I would love others to join me. So if you can get to Heathrow in no more than 45 minutes and can offer a minimum of 1 shift, of 6 hours, every 60 days, (if you can do more, great) and you feel that God is calling you to serve Him in this way, I would love to hear from you.
London Baptist Association
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