Introducing the VANCOUVER AIRPORT CHAPEL
What's the Chapel story? The Chapel at the Vancouver International Airport (YVR) has been in operation since 1983. Rev. Layne Daggett founded the YVR Chapel ministry and continues to serve in many ways, including Chaplain Emeritus. Dr. Frank McLeod and Rev. Ian Easter also served significant terms at the YVR Chapel, and Rev. Dennis Kirkley has been building on the foundation of these fine gentlemen since 2013.
Why is there a Chapel? Everyone seems to ask, “Why in the world is there a Chapel at the Airport?” Great question! I wondered the same thing when I began, but I soon learned that Layne, Frank, Ian and their Chapel Volunteers built a wonderful connection to many hundreds of airport employees and assisted thousands of passengers, including many refugees, over the years. And I discovered that nowadays over 1100 people step into the YVR Chapel every month! Wow! Each of these contacts affords an opportunity for the Chapel Team to show the grace of God in word and deed, and many times we are asked to pray for people's spiritual and emotional well-being, which gives us great satisfaction and joy.
What brings people to the Chapel? Well, people come to the Chapel for a wide variety of reasons …. and no two persons or days are alike! Basically, employees come to chat, make friends, rest, and most of all to pray and prepare for their day of work (or to recover from it!). Passengers come when they are delayed, stranded, bereaved, friendless or penniless... or just when they want to pray and de-stress before their flights.
What do the Chapel Volunteers do? Greeting and assisting employees and passengers is the main job of our 30 volunteer hosts, who serve 4 hour shifts mornings, afternoons and evenings seven days a week. Our 12 volunteer chaplains and myself are always ready to talk with and pray for anyone that seeks assistance, both in the Chapel and around the terminal. And all of us are supported by very capable board members who give vision and guidance to our work.
Drop by and visit us! If you, your family or your friends are ever at the Vancouver International Airport, please drop by the Chapel for a visit. We're located in International Arrivals, across from Tim Horton's - you can't miss us! By the way, we'd be happy to give a tour of the Chapel and the YVR Terminal to any group from your church or community.... and families and kids are welcome! Just give me a call at 778-241-4122.
God bless you, and thanks for your interest in the YVR Chapel!
Dennis Kirkley, Lead Chaplain
Stories from the Vancouver Airport Chapel - Spring/Summer - 2018
Like the different seasons of the year, there are different kinds of people who come to the YVR Chapel - some bring sadness and struggle while others bring joy and thanksgiving. Everyone is welcome here, as our theme reminds us:
Every Person a Precious Creation of God. Here are some recent examples:
1. My first day back from Indonesia in May, I was greeted by a lady from Kamloops whose father had just passed away a week earlier. She had arrived by car to pick up her daughter from Europe and was anxious to get home for the memorial preparations, but warning lights had just appeared on the dashboard, so she was very worried about traveling home.
This is prime opportunity for our kind of work, as this lady just happened to see the Chapel on her way to the parking lot. We first consoled her in the loss of her father (and learned of their amazing move to Vancouver from Switzerland in the 70s). Then together we began calling nearby auto shops to find someone who could check her car on short notice (P.S. this was a Monday and everyone was completely booked for 2 days!). After tears of worry, she was assured that God cared and would provide for her needs (I was reminded of Psalm 46:1... "God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble").
Thanks to Google, we found a local mechanic who was very friendly and agreed to check the car immediately. We later learned that he sent her off to a nearby specialist who found the issue and got the lady and her grateful daughter off towards Kamloops before evening. Wow, it's great to see the hand of God in practical ways, eh? And, BTW, she called subsequently to say thanks and to let us know that their faith in God and mankind had been strengthened in a big way by our actions.... so what more could we ask for, right?
2. The very next day a young adult man stumbled into the Chapel. He had had far too much to drink and far too little to eat.... and had slept somewhere outside the night before. He was a mess! But he had hopes and plans to fly to Toronto for his mother's funeral (we later learned it was actually his aunt who had died). Eventually we learned that his sister was flying in from Chicago to accompany him on the flight to Toronto, something the airlines require in this situation.
While the man was sleeping in our side room, the sister arrived, totally grateful that her brother was in a safe place. She told us their family story and then they left to go drink coffee and walk for hours before their midnight flight... in hopes that her brother would then be accepted by the airline. Not seeing them again, we could only hope and pray that things would improve for him, but we were very touched by a sister who cared enough to come all the way to Vancouver to rescue her dear younger brother. Wow, this was real love in action! Thanks be to God!
OK, THANKS FOR READING OUR STORIES, AND CHECK IN FOR MORE ADVENTURES NEXT TIME!