London Luton Airport (LLA) is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the airport’s chaplaincy. Established in 1987, LLA’s multi-faith chaplaincy team offers assistance to anyone who may need it, regardless of their faith, 365 days a year. As well as emotional support and comfort, the chaplaincy provides spiritual facilities and places to pray.
LLA’s chaplaincy team is led by Senior Chaplain Reverend Canon Liz Hughes and is comprised of 14 volunteers, including an Imam and a Rabbi. The team splits its time between the terminal building and offices and visiting the businesses on the airport estate, as well as attending events in the local community. Where required, the team helps to provide access to a wider local network of faith leaders. The chaplaincy service is part funded by LLA and the charity Workplace Matters.
The chaplaincy also plays an important role in times of crisis, playing an active part in the airport’s crisis response plans and by providing a calming influence for passengers affected by recent world events.
As part of the biggest ever investment in the airport, which will grow passenger capacity by 50% to 18 million in the next three years, a new multi-faith Prayer Room was opened in November 2015. The Prayer Room is available for staff and departing passengers to use around the clock, equipped with prayer mats, faith literature with the carpeting featuring direction of prayer for those faiths that require it. Religious washing facilities and toilets are also available nearby. LLA was only the second airport in the UK to provide such facilities beyond the Security Search area when its original prayer room opened in 2010.
Canon Liz Hughes, Senior Chaplain at LLA, said, “Having started out as a weekly visit from the local vicar in 1987, it’s amazing how far the chaplaincy at LLA has come. The team is now on hand every day of the year to help in whatever way we can, no matter what a person’s religious beliefs or background.
“We’re here to offer passengers a listening ear, practical guidance and support for those embarking on pilgrimage. But we don’t just work with passengers. We regularly attend events and groups in the local community and help staff deal with some of the challenges of life such as bereavement and financial worries.
“We’re looking forward to a bright 30 years ahead. As the airport continues to grow, we hope that we will be able to provide support on a 24-hour basis.”