The Ottumwa Courier

AP National

November 26, 2013

Airport chaplains let fliers connect with heavens

ATLANTA (AP) — The Rev. Frank Colladay Jr. stood at the end of the gate waiting. On the arriving plane was a passenger whose husband had just died of a heart attack on another flight. Her name was Linda Gilbert. The two had never met before.

Colladay's parish happens to be the world's busiest airport. His flock consists of people passing through who might need comfort, spiritual advice, or someone to pray with.

On this day, a traumatized Gilbert needed even more. Colladay guided her through Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, drove her in his silver Ford Fusion to the medical examiner to see her husband's body and arranged for a flight home for both of them.

"He didn't say a whole lot. But just his presence being there, it just felt comforting and reassuring," Gilbert says. "I didn't know that airports have chaplains."

Most people don't.

Airports are mini-cities with their own movie theaters, fire departments and shopping malls. Many also have chapels, typically tiny non-denominational spaces, in out-of-the-way locations. They offer an escape from constant gate change and security announcements and are staffed by 350 part- and full-time chaplains worldwide — Roman Catholic, Protestant and, to a lesser extent, Jewish, Muslim or Sikh.

The positions are highly sought-after and considered glamorous, with chaplains saying they love the excitement and unpredictability of airports.

The job is unlike other church assignments. There isn't a permanent congregation. No baptisms, weddings or funerals. Instead, airport chaplains preach to a crowd that is transient by nature.

Trust must be earned quickly. There's little time for small talk. Everybody is rushing to catch a flight.

"You only get one chance to impress them; one chance to help them," says Bishop D.D. Hayes, a non-denominational pastor at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. "Many times, we touch lives we never see again."

Text Only
AP National
  • Ginsburg: Court right to void clinic buffer zones WASHINGTON (AP) — Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is defending a rare Supreme Court decision that put her at odds with women's rights groups. Ginsburg said the court's unanimous ruling in June that struck down the 35-foot, protest-free zone on sidewalks

    August 1, 2014

  • Poll: Foreign policy no longer Obama strong point WASHINGTON (AP) — Foreign policy used to be a bright spot in Americans' opinion of President Barack Obama. Not anymore. An Associated Press-GfK poll finds that dissatisfaction with Obama's handling of events in Ukraine, Gaza and elsewhere now matches

    August 1, 2014

  • US employers add 209K jobs, rate rises to 6.2 pct. WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers extended their hiring surge into July by adding a solid 209,000 jobs. It was the sixth straight month of job growth above 200,000, evidence that businesses are gradually shedding the caution that had marked the 5-year

    August 1, 2014

  • Semi crash coats Indianapolis highway in butter INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A semitrailer has overturned on an Indianapolis interstate, spilling what police say are 45,000 pounds of packages of butter and other dairy products. The crash happened about 3:30 a.m. Friday in the eastbound lanes of Interstate

    August 1, 2014

  • Contract talks in Met Opera labor dispute extended NEW YORK (AP) — It's a drama worthy of the Metropolitan Opera: Frantic, last-minute labor negotiations aimed at averting a lockout that threatens to stop both pay and benefits for thousands of singers, musicians, stagehands and other workers. With ju

    August 1, 2014

  • WWI aviation still alive at aerodrome in New York RHINEBECK, N.Y. (AP) — There's still a place where buzzing biplanes swoop in pursuit of German triplanes, where pilots in open cockpits let their scarves flutter in the wind. The sights and sounds of World War I flight are recreated regularly at the

    August 1, 2014

  • State Dept: 'No American is proud' of CIA tactics WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department has endorsed the broad conclusions of a harshly critical Senate report on the CIA's interrogation and detention practices after the 9/11 attacks, a report that accuses the agency of brutally treating terror susp

    July 31, 2014

  • GOP: Lerner emails show bias against conservatives WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional investigators say this is why they want all of Lois Lerner's emails. Newly released emails show the former IRS official referring to some right-wing Republicans as "crazies" and more, a revelation that is fueling GOP c

    July 31, 2014

  • Suing Obama: GOP-led House gives the go-ahead WASHINGTON (AP) — A sharply divided House approved a Republican plan Wednesday to launch a campaign-season lawsuit against President Barack Obama, accusing him of exceeding the bounds of his constitutional authority. Obama and other Democrats derided

    July 31, 2014

  • As US job market strengthens, many don't feel it WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. unemployment rate has plunged since the start of last year to a five-year low of 6.1 percent. And the July jobs report being released Friday will likely show a sixth straight month of healthy 200,000-plus gains. Yet for Do

    July 31, 2014

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National