Airport Gives Thanks for 25 Years of Chaplaincy
Published: 14 November 2012
A special service of thanksgiving has been held to mark the 25th Anniversary of London Luton Airport’s Chaplaincy. The service, led by Senior Airport Chaplain, Reverend Michael Banfield and the Right Reverend Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans, was held in the Airport Chapel and affirmed the purpose and work of the Chaplaincy within the Airport environment.
Special guest, founding Airport Chaplain, Reverend Bob Gunn gave an interesting account of how he became involved in 1985 when he was appointed Vicar of St Francis, Luton and discovered his new parish included an Airport. Reverend Gunn saw the need for pastoral support for staff and passengers alike and approached the Airport Company with his idea.
By 1987 this vision had come to fruition with the establishment of an Airport Chaplaincy with Reverend Gunn in the role of part time Volunteer Chaplain, becoming a full time post in 1990 with the kind financial assistance of the Airport Company and the Churches, through what is now called Workplace Matters. Reverend Gunn retired in 1995 and was succeeded by Reverend Michael Banfield.
Reverend Banfield’s arrival coincided with a period of rapid airline growth for London Luton and it was clear that more Chaplains were needed to cover the site’s many companies and employees, so a volunteer team was established which today is eleven-strong and includes both Muslim and Jewish associate Chaplains. The present Airport Chapel was dedicated in 2000, and a Multi-Faith Airside Prayer Room was opened in January 2010. Both the Chapel and the Prayer Room are used by many passengers and a growing number of staff.
Reverend Michael Banfield says “It is important that in a commercial environment, like an Airport, where thousands of staff work and millions of passengers travel through, there should be an agency for listening to individuals in need, supporting and encouraging people and the employing companies in the work they do, and a ministry presence that reminds staff and passengers alike of the spiritual values of life.”
For more information contact London Luton Airport Press Office at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our photo shows: L to R – Katie Jones, Lisa Finch-Steven, Alan Harpham, The Revd R Mike Shaw, Linda Banfield, Gerald Hale, The Revd Stephen Copson, Revd Canon Jonathan Baldwin, The Revd Michael Banfield, Rabbi Alan Plancey, Simon Best, The Rt Revd Alan Smith, Barbara McIntosh, Malcolm Roberts, The Revd Bob Gunn, Jay Andolini, The Revd James Ogley, Rupert Lawrie.
Notes to Editors:
London Luton Airport is one of the UK’s largest airports and carried 9.5 million passengers in 2011. The Airport directly and indirectly employs over 500 and 8,000 staff respectively, is a key economic driver for the region and a major base for ‘low cost’ or ‘no frills’ air travel.
easyJet, Wizz Air, Ryanair, Monarch, Thomson, Aer Lingus Regional, EL AL, Blue Air and Flybe operate from the airport, departing to 100 destinations including services to Europe, Africa, and Asia, with onward connections to Mumbai, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Beijing and Bangkok via Tel Aviv.
London Luton Airport Operations Limited, through its parent company TBI Limited, is owned jointly by the leading international infrastructure provider abertis Infraestructuras S.A. (with a 90 per cent shareholding) and the international business arm of Aena, the Spanish national airport and air traffic control organisation, Aena Desarrollo Internacional S.A. (with a 10 per cent shareholding).
The Airport Chaplaincy
Chaplaincy ministry is offered to staff and passengers of any faith or none. The Chaplaincy role includes offering assistance to passengers in special need or when on pilgrimage.
The Chaplaincy is affiliated to the International Association of Civil Aviation Chaplains (IACAC), and the British Isles and Ireland Network of Airport Chaplains;
This Chaplaincy is sponsored equally by London Luton Airport Operations Ltd for the Airport, and Workplace Matters for the churches.