By Stacey Doud
The DFW Interfaith Chaplains held their annual Ministry of Presence Awards in the Hyatt Regency DFW Airport on December 13. These awards recognize the men and women who have gone above and beyond to keep the Chaplaincy open and available to DFW Airport travelers who may need spiritual comfort.
“We wanted to recognize those who have blessed us and continue to bless others,” said Father Greg McBrayer, who serves as a senior chaplain and is a 40-year employee of American Airlines, as well as the Host for the event.
“The mission of the DFW Airport Interfaith Chaplaincy is to provide the ministry of presence, spiritual counseling and personal support to the DFW Airport community at large by providing places of worship and reflection for people of all faiths and religious traditions,” McBrayer said.
The Chaplaincy is in its 42nd year and is currently made up of 19 volunteer chaplains representing different religions, as well as two intern chaplains. These clergy members keep this service open 24 hours a day and seven days a week in chapels in all of the DFW terminals.
“Every year, we gather to give thanks and to reflect and to recognize, some special individuals who have contributed in making our Chaplaincy the beacon of light, which it has become at DFW International Airport,” McBrayer explained.
To meet the needs of people of all different religions, the Chaplaincy offers sacred scriptures, such as the Bible and the Torah, as well as holding services for Catholic, Protestant and Islamic guests. The chaplains provide counsel, prayer and support, from consoling family members of fallen soldiers to performing weddings free of charge.
“This year, our Board of Directors added corporate sponsors and three new board members. We made additional improvements to our web site, and we added three new Chaplains. We also reinstated our Associate Chaplain internship program,” McBrayer said.
“This year’s, annual Spring Fling Golf Outing and RISE UP Prayer Breakfast were both very well attended again and fostered new partnerships in the airport area, enabling us to widen our footprint in the community.
“This year was also a very active year for our Chaplains, as we participated at more than 100 Fallen Soldier Angel Flights and ramp-side services of our own AA Employees transitioning home to their final resting places.
“We had more than 7,000 DFW employees and travelers attended our regular and special services, chapel masses and interfaith services.
“This year, our chaplains logged more than 4,000 hours, connecting with more than 19,000 airport employees, travelers, Department of Public Safety (DPS) and military personnel. Of those, more than 4,000 were personally counseled. Our Chaplains also provided the ministry presence at numerous DFW Airport, DPS, American Airlines and other airport Community events.
“We also, provided continuing education training for our Chaplains and remain actively involved with DFW Airport and American Airlines at all Emergency Response Drills.
“The highlight of this year, however, was the ribbon cutting and consecration of the new Terminal D – Meadows Chapel, located near gate 40, which is much larger and far more accommodating for all our all of worshipers. We are one of the few US Airports with Ablution Stations for our Muslims,” McBrayer reported.
McBrayer presented DFW Airport CEO Sean Donohue, DFW Hub Operations Vice President Cedric Rockamore and Liz Wahlquist, who worked for Braniff for four years and continues to support the Chaplaincy, with Ministry of Presence awards. Kay Granger, who is a former mayor or Fort Worth and is now a Congresswoman, received an Honorary Lifetime Advisory Board Member position for her assistance in keeping the Chaplaincy Program alive via her position in government.
“We are recognizing our past, present and future,” McBrayer said. “We honored the past with recognizing Congresswoman Kay Granger, the present with Liz Wahlquist and Cedric Rockamore, and the future with Sean Donahue, who underwrote the spaces we needed at the airport. This allows us to serve many purposes, with one being ‘spiritual first responders,’” he added.
“The potential growth [for the airport] is enormous. DFW Airport strengthens and supports the area, and we try to support the supporters,” McBrayer added.
For more information, visit http://www.dfwairportchapel.org/.