When you travel, pause and look at the airport chapel.


When you travel, pause and look at the airport chapel.

Travel in the New Year? There may be a church or a meditation room hidden somewhere in the airport you are passing through. Sixteen of the country’s 20 largest airports have churches, and there are many in the world.

I am a contemporary American religious sociologist who wrote two articles about the airport chaplain and the church. My interest in the airport church starts with a simple curiosity – why is there a church at the airport, and who USES them? After a few visits – including at Logan’s church, my home airport in Boston – I came to the conclusion that they reflected the broader norms of change around American religion.

How does the airport have a church?

The country’s first airport chapel is designed to staff rather than the passengers, and is made up of 50 s and 60 s Catholic leaders, to ensure their parishioners to attend public activities.

The first “aircraft carrier” in the United States was built by Boston’s archbishop, Richard j. Cushing, in 1951 at Logan airport, specifically for people working in airports. A neon sign points to the chapel and souvenir card issued by the church.

“The virgin of god, we fly to you; Our necessities do not despise our requests, but save us from all dangers, glorious and blessed virgins.

Our aviation mother inspired the second airport chapel at Idlewild – the mother of the sky – and today is the Kennedy airport in New York City.

The protestant church is here. First in New York — and at Kennedy. It was designed in the shape of a Latin cross and was joined by a synagogue in the 1960s. These churches are at a distance from the terminus: passengers wishing to visit must go out. They were later leveled and rebuilt in different parts of Kennedy.

In the 1970s and 1980s, protestant churches opened in Texas at several terminals at the Atlanta and Dallas airports.

Become more inclusive.

By the 1990s and 2000s, the single faith church had become a “dying breed”, and most people began to welcome people from all religions. Many people are transformed into reflective space or meditation for weary travelers.

The church of San Francisco international airport, for example, is known as the San Francisco airport committee, a former President of jewish philanthropist henri berman berman reflection room, looks like a quiet waiting room, covered with plants and connection chair inside. A small enclosed space with no religious signs or significant links to religious or spiritual matters can be used for service.

The scene at the Atlanta airport church is similar, with only a few chairs and clear glass entrances to provide space for quiet reflection.

Some airports, such as JFK, continue the name of their “virgin”, indicating the origin of their faith.

Other objects include religious symbols and a range of religious traditions. In charlotte, north Carolina, for example, there are many religious classics, along with prayer blankets, beads and art from major world religions.

Visitors can take a pamphlet from sadness to forgiveness at charlotte airport.

Different airports, different rules.

As these examples show, no two airports negotiate the space of a church in the same way. What a city allows is usually not in another city. Regional, historical and demographic factors are often factors that influence decision-making, including the religious composition of the region. These can even be based on who started the church, or how many religions there were in a city.

Some airports, such as Chicago’s o ‘hare, have strict rules for impromptu religious meetings, both inside and outside the church. Some use their public broadcasting systems to announce religious services. Others have banned such announcements, and even the airport chaplains are not allowed to give any indication of religious space.


If they are included in the airport map, the church is often designated as a symbol of prayer. Even so, they are hard to find. About half of the churches are on the front side of the airport, and the other half can only be accessed through security checks.

Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and New York’s LaGuardia have only four large American airports without church space, though such Spaces are being considered. During this time, in laguardia, a Catholic priest held a rally in the conference room.

The reasons for these Spaces and their changes are special and intensely local. These churches reveal a series of methods of contemporary American religion and spirituality.

So pay attention to these little churches during your travels. Note their similarities and differences, and recognize how important local history is to the resolution of church national problems in airports and elsewhere.


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