At the start of the holiday travel season, countless East Texans will be among the passengers navigating crowds at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
Despite the airport being one of the busiest places on Earth, people are finding their faith inside one of the five DFW Airport interfaith chapels.
“You don’t ever know how travel is going to look, but it does bring a great deal of anxiety with it,” said Rev. Greg McBrayer.
73 million people will fly through DFW this year on quick connections and long hauls. For many, finding peace amid sometimes chaotic travel plans is just around the corner.
“In the business and the hecticness of our lives in this busy place they will hear that announcement. And then ten minutes later they’ll hear it again. And they’ll think, ‘you know what I’ve got time.’ So they’ll come.”
Seven days a week, prayer and worship services for all faiths and traditions are offered.
“Scripture tells us we receive our salvation by hearing the word of God. And they literally hear the invitation to come and receive that day. And it wasn’t part of their plan, usually.”
Jet setters, business travelers, and families can meditate in prayer before taking off for their destination.
Two dozen pastors, ministers, and clerics are trained to walk in faith alongside them.
“Calming down [and] regrouping gives your mind a chance to catch up with what’s going on, the body a chance to relax, and gives you a chance to go back out and go back into the stream of life,” said senior chaplain Bishop Donald “DD” Hayes, who leads the DFW Interfaith Chaplaincy Program.
He sees himself as a caregiver, ready meet any need. He’s even officiated weddings at the airport.
“A chaplain is like a good referee, on I say a basketball court. You don’t know they’re there until they need it.”
As a bivocational priest, this is a higher calling for Rev. McBrayer in both a literal and spiritual sense.
“By profession I’m a flight controller in my day job, but serve the Lord full-time, who’s my full-time employer that I don’t have any days off from.”
DFW chaplains also meet with the families of fallen service members on their journey home.
“For God to choose me to be there to give honor to their remains, it’s amazing. And I thank God for the opportunity, ” said associate chaplain Rich Etta Weathersbee.
At the crossroads of the world — Anglican Mass and Islamic prayer happen in the same room, only hours apart.
“It creates a better situation of understanding,” said associate chaplain Muhsin Shaheed. “And that’s what’s important. As you know, the scripture says seek knowledge but above all get an understanding.”
This mega airport has become a missionary field that’s never too big or too fast-paced to notice the power of prayer at work.
“[Prayer] doesn’t always change the situation of the circumstance in our lives,” McBrayer said. “But it always changes us because it makes us reach out to our creator.”
DFW International Airport has announced plans for opening a sixth terminal by 2025, which would also include its own chapel for passengers.
The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the views of KLTV/KTRE-TV or Gray Television. They are solely the opinion of the author. All content © Copyright 2019 Lane Luckie