On the evening of September 12th, about 20 of us from Altrincham Interfaith Group met in the Terminal 1 Chaplaincy Office at Manchester Airport for what proved to be a fascinating tour around Terminals 1 and 3 Prayer Rooms as well as three illustrated talks about the work of the Chaplains, Airport Community Relations and future plans for expanding the airport itself to form the so-called Airport City.
We started off in Terminal 1 Prayer Room, which contained prayer books for all the major faiths, an altar for Christian worship and a sign pointing to the direction of Mecca for Moslems. Reverend George Lane, who is the Coordinating Chaplain, gave us a short talk before leading us into the impressive Olympic House where David Roberts, Property Development Director at the Airport, talked to us about the massive development plans for a business park at the airport, with hotels and leisure facilities, known as Airport City North. Airport City South will be a huge new logistics park; both sites are near the proposed station for the new High Speed Train linkingManchester to London. We were taken for refreshments followed by a fascinating illustrated talk by Reverend Lane about the work of the Airport Chaplains – to help, support and guide people and provide pastoral and humanitarian aid. He stressed that people were at the centre of their work – people both travelling through the airport and working there. This was followed by an illustrated and lively presentation by Wendy Sinfield, Community Relations Manager, who talked about her liaison with local communities, businesses and schools, explaining how the Airport puts on special days both in schools but also at the airport, helping young people from deprived backgrounds into work.
We were then shown the Prayer Room in Terminal 3 with its amazing mosaic of blue, white and brown tiles, showing a stylised Pegasus, the flying horse. It certainly was a full and action packed evening; we all learned a lot – not only about the dedicated work of the Chaplains, who do such a fantastic job, but also about the Airport itself and its exciting future.