Quick Note: Need to Do a Quick Ritual at the Airport?

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  August 3, 2009 — 4 Comments

Dionne Walker of the Associated Press reports on how some airport chapels are removing their crosses (and other denominational-specific decor) and embracing a new multi-faith reality.

Across the country, chapels designed to offer passengers refuge and reflection in bustling airports are making changes: Removing denomination-specific decor, adding special accommodations and hosting services geared to accommodate an increasingly diverse group of travelers flying with faith. In Atlanta, it means a simple stained-glass window marking the entrance to the 1,040-square-foot chapel on the third floor. Inside there’s room for 30, and a library stocking everything from Gideon Bibles to Jewish mystical texts. A large floor mat provides a cushiony spot to kneel for prayer; officials don’t set it aside for any specific faith. “There are representations of almost every faith,” said Cook, who recently oversaw a $200,000 renovation that more than doubled the chapel to its current size. “There are Buddhists in their orange robes, there are some Hindus … I helped a Wiccan one time.”

In the article, Walker describes the multi-faith chapel space at Atlanta’s airport. There, the floor is decorated with a large compass (and little else). While the Rev. Chester Cook talks of accommodating faiths that need to face a certain direction to pray (like Jews and Muslims), I couldn’t help but think that it would be perfect for a Wiccan, or group of Wiccans (or any type of Pagan, really), to do a quick ritual on their way to someplace else. While this trend of converting specifically Christian chapels into multi-faith spaces may have more to do with saving money and conserving space, it is still a welcome shift away from the “Christian default setting” that has dominated so many public spaces over the years.

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Jason Pitzl-Waters

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  • http://witchschool.com Ed Hubbard

    This is a cool idea, maybe I need to visit them more ften when I travel.

    • http://www.blackrosecoven.com/?q=node TeNosce

      I pray whenever I get on an airplane these days.

  • http://www.hecatedemetersdatter.blogspot.com Hecate

    What a nice development. And I love the idea of doing ritual on a giant compass rose.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Nope Nope

    Good for whoever suggested such a universally useful symbol!