London Heathrow Airport Chaplain

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Heathrow Airport

London Heathrow is one of the busiest international airports in the world, the UK’s largest cargo port by value, which pre-COVID, handled 80 million passengers a year. It is a self-contained ‘city’ which pre-COVID, had a population of 78,000 workers, been home to ninety airlines and the marketplace for several hundred businesses which, created an additional 250,000 dependent jobs countrywide and contributed £5 billion in wages alone to the national economy. The COVID-19 has led to sweeping changes at Heathrow, with hugely reduced passenger numbers, job losses, and uncertainty. The role of the chaplaincy team over the next few years will support Airport recovery.

Alongside COVID-19 changes, the aviation industry regularly experiences significant change, while the Heathrow community goes through, restructuring, resizing, and, pressures of international competition.

Chaplains face the challenge of maintaining the high profile of the Chaplaincy in a high-pressured commercial environment that is charged with energy and insecurity.

The Chaplains seek new ways of engaging with employees, passengers, other airport users, and with the structures and processes of the constituent businesses and participating organisations.

They need to be able to empathise with a wide range of different faiths, ethnicities, life-styles, objectives, ambitions and needs (both personal and corporate).

The Multi-Faith Chaplaincy

There has been a Chaplaincy at Heathrow for several decades who, now operates as an independent charity – the Heathrow Multi-Faith Chaplaincy. The trustees and operational team reflect the main religious faiths from the multicultural communities surrounding the Airport, and its international status. The team of 28 Chaplains includes 22 volunteers who typically do anything from a few hours to two days a week and 6 Chaplains, who are paid by their faith bodies, and, do between 2-5 days a week.

A Christian Chapel and garden, ten multi-faith Prayer Rooms, and Chaplains’ Offices are supported within the airport boundaries.

The Chaplains work in all areas of the airport - public, commercial, and technical - with the objectives of:

  • Supporting people outside the scope of their normal support structures.
  • Caring for staff both as individuals and as members of the airport organisations, including contributing to wellbeing programmes.
  • Offering practical, religious, spiritual and pastoral care to all members of the airport community regardless of belief or non-belief.
  • Exploring the relationship between life and faith, and faith and God.

You will be:

  • An integrated, full-time, presence in the daily operations of the airport.
  • Available for all faiths and those of no faith, for all employed at the airport, and for all who use it, group and individual.
  • A contributor to the safe, secure, and efficient operation of the airport.
  • Independent of the business community but supportive of the business of the airport and the Employee Assistance programmes.
  • A bridge between the Airport community and local churches and other faith communities.

Activities are directed towards establishing long-term relationships with those employed at the airport, and supporting the travelling, and transient or public.

Global assistance for travellers to other airports around the world is provided by formal links with other airport chaplaincies through the International Association of Civil Aviation Chaplains. Airport Chaplaincy is present in nearly 40 countries and provision is found at 29 UK airports.

Regular acts of worship are offered by a variety of faiths and denominations.

St George’s Chapel

The Church of England Chaplain will sit on the Standing Committee of St George’s Chapel, Heathrow and play an active role in the life and activity of the Chapel.:

The Christian Chaplains work in a fully ecumenical team, dedicated to promoting dialogue, inclusion, social justice and equal opportunities. Representing all the Christian Churches, they do not set out to be advocates of any one denomination. All faiths and the religious freedom of the individual are respected.

Growth in business volumes and numbers of employees, and the increasing complexity of relationships in this multi-ethnic, multi-faith, high-pressure business environment has identified the need for additional Christian Chaplains both paid and volunteers.

The C of E Chaplain will:

  • Work in cooperation with HMFC to enable the team to fulfil its purpose in the life of the airport.
  • Identify with HMFC, areas and aspects of the life of the airport to which the Chaplains can make a particular contribution.
  • Visit terminals, work and rest areas, shops, cafes, both landside and airside, offering pastoral care and support as required.
  • Lead worship, bible study, teaching and prayer as appropriate in the chapels, multi-faith prayer rooms and other areas of the airport.
  • Share in the running of the Chapel in collaboration with the Trustees and Chapel Standing Committee.
  • Conduct services when requested.
  • As appropriate, establish links with and to support Christian fellowships within the workforce of the airport.
  • Establish relationships of respect with Chaplains of other faith communities and to contribute to the building of harmonious relationships across the multi-faith and multi-cultural airport community.
  • Be a bridge between the airport community and local churches and Christian groups – particularly Anglican churches.
  • Take advantage of in-service training, as identified by the Chaplaincy team.
  • Help the wider diocese to explore ways in which it can best develop its contribution to chaplaincy at the airport in the future.
  • Be part of the airport emergency response and contribute to the on-call rota for sudden deaths.

The post-holder may be required to undertake any other duties that are commensurate with the role.

Chaplains will:

  • Have good interpersonal skills with particular attention to being a good listener, respecting and honouring boundaries of confidentiality.
  • Be self motivated; able to initiate conversation and build relationships with a diversity of people.
  • Be effective team players.
  • Be sympathetic with a wide variety of staff, such as those in operational, technical and managerial roles.
  • Be rooted in a spirituality which can relate faith to the world of work.
  • Have an ability to articulate their own faith and faith journeys honestly with integrity.
  • Be able to accept the rights of different faith groups to hold their own values, traditions, beliefs and practices.
  • Be able to act with integrity and with due respect for differences and diversity, including religion, spirituality, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age and disability.
  • Be able to know their limitations and how and where and when to refer.
  • Be flexible, organized, able to comply with sometimes complex requirements, while maintaining a calm and reassuring approach even in stressful situations.
  • Must have basic IT skills, e.g., able to use email, Microsoft Word and Excel and be willing to learn simple airport systems. There is also a need to see the potential and limitations of IT to support chaplaincy work.

The LDF exists to support the mission of the Church of England in London. The principal activity of the London Diocesan Fund is to operationally and practically serve and support the parishes and people within the Diocese of London, enabling the vision that every Londoner will encounter the love of God in Jesus Christ.