In Mark 16 v 15 Jesus said â€śGo into all the world and preach the Good News to all creation.â€ťÂ 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 worldâ€™s 5th busiest airport with nearly 75 million people travelling through its terminals in 2015.Â 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.Â There is a wide variety of jobs, which range from the pilots and other aircraft crew to engineers and cleaners.Â There is also a large group that work in retail and catering trades.Â Â In fact Heathrow is its own community that never shuts!!Â It operates 24/7, 365 days a year.
The Heathrow Chaplaincy team has 26 members, which is headed up by Howie Adan from the Church of England.Â The chaplaincy is multi faith and 6 of the team represent some of the other major faith groups.Â That leaves 20 Christian chaplains, from various denominations.Â Currently I am the on Baptist representative in the team.Â Many of the chaplains are volunteers or are released by their churches 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.Â An encounter with a passenger, who is making a difficult journey, is a one off meeting, but staff you meet on a regular basis.Â The role of the chaplain is mainly to listen and to reassure that what is shared with us is done so in confidence.Â It takes time to build up that trust, so this is a job for the long haul.
I have been part of the team for nearly 5 years 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.Â Some days I talk about football, the weather or life in general.Â Some are more dramatic, like attending a death on board an aircraft.Â Itâ€™s all about being a presence and being Jesus to the people we meet.Â Iâ€™m often asked why I am a chaplain.Â I usually answer by saying â€śNowhere in the gospels did Jesus say if you want to meet me Iâ€™ll be in the synagogue at 10:30 on the Sabbath.Â He met people where they were, so if itâ€™s good enough for Him, itâ€™s good enough for me!!â€ť
The chaplaincy team could do with some new members, so if you can offer a minimum of 10 hours (2x5hr shifts)per week and you feel that God is calling you to serve Him in this way please contact me by e-mail, email@example.com or call me on 07951 122623.