Chaplaincy Facilities, Resources and Fair Use
The Gatwick Airport Chaplaincy is dedicated to providing support for passengers and staff of any and all religious denomination and in many different circumstances, from scheduled daily services to airport emergencies or individual life crises. We aim to be there for Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Atheists and anyone who needs us.
To achieve this we must share limited resources, particularly chapel space, without excluding anyone but while supporting a range of uses from bible study to Jummah and Salah prayers to holy communion, pilgrimmage assembly and meditation. This requires tolerance of differences and consideration of other chapel users.
What the Chapels Offer – Resources and Facilities
The chapels provide prayer space for services and private prayer. There are also small offices for chaplains and confidential meetings. Each chapel has a literature table, chairs, wall signs showing the direction of important religious locations (e.g. Qibla or Mizrach), an altar table used by all denominations as required, and a lectern.
A dedicated and appropriately screened area supports Muslim prayer. This contains a table for holy scripture and a cupboard for prayer rugs (musalaah). There may be a dedicated mimbar or pulpit chair for Khutbah sermons during Jummah. Additionally, each chapel contains a ritual washing facility (Wudhu) for use before prayer.
As part of Gatwick Airport’s support for the Chaplaincy there are regular Public Announcements for scheduled services. Chaplains also support seasonal services and special events around the airport, and support staff and passengers whenever and wherever required.
Shared Use of Chapels
Chapel users need to be aware that they are in an international airport. This creates legal requirements for security inspections which sometimes use trained sniffer dogs. Security staff are trained to prevent sniffer dogs from crossing carpet areas designated for Muslim prayer and are aware of Muslim ritual concerning animals. However please remember that their security responsibilities take priority. Please report unattended baggage immediately to a chaplain or Airport Security personnel.
Airport regulations also involve health and safety, fire and emergency or operational procedures which prohibit some activities, including leaving unattended baggage, sleeping in prayer areas, or leaving unsupervised donations of food. Pet animals except Special Needs dogs are not allowed in the chapels. Smoking is not allowed in the chapels or airport generally, except in designated Smoking Zones.
When scheduled services are in progress other denominations are not excluded from the chapel but are asked to behave with respect and courtesy, by avoiding unnecessary noise or disturbance. The use of mobile phones is often intrusive – please make phone calls outside the chapel when prayers or services are in progress.
The chaplains fully support pilgrimmage groups (e.g. Hajj or Lourdes) but it will help us if we have enough information to plan for your needs. Additional pilgrimmage services or prayers are often possible with some advance notification. Please note that existing scheduled services take priority because they cannot be moved at short notice. Pilgrimmage groups which require ritual clothing are asked to change in the airport washing facilities, not in the chapel where other users may find this distressing.
Tidying up after use
Chapel users may need to move chairs or put out bibles or other material for various reasons. At the end of an activity, the chapel should be left as it was and any materials or litter removed, prayer rugs folded neatly and put away, bibles returned to the Chaplaincy office and altars, mimbars or artefacts properly stored and washing facilities left neat and clean. Any problems with messes or spillage should be reported to a chaplain.