St George's Interdenominational Chapel, Heathrow Airport
St George's Interdenominational Chapel, Heathrow Airport, is a place of worship situated in London Heathrow Airport near London, in England. The chapel was designed by Sir Frederick Gibberd. Next to the chapel is a prayer room and a counselling room.
The Heathrow Chaplaincy Team contains Christian Chaplains from Anglican, Catholic, and Free Church denominations, and representatives from Muslim, Jewish, and other faiths and beliefs.
History and design
The Chapel of St George was dedicated on 11 October 1968 as an Ecumenical Christian Chapel in the heart of London Heathrow Airport. Before that date the chaplaincy work had been pioneered by clergy drawn from local parishes. The site, in the geographical centre of the airport at the time, was provided by the then British Airports Authority (BAA), and funded largely by the three main Christian traditions—the Church of England (Anglican), Roman Catholic, and Free Churches.
The challenge for the architect, Jack Forrest, of Frederick Gibberd and Partners, was to produce an Ecumenical Chapel which would accommodate the Christian traditions, while also creating, in the middle of an airport, a haven of peace and quiet. The design which is seen now is that of a 'vaulted crypt', recreating the atmosphere and style of a crypt in the early Christian church. Its underground setting guarantees a unique atmosphere of peace and prayer which visitors have appreciated since 1968.
The three apses were originally intended for each of the contributing denominations, but in 1972 the main altar was rededicated by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, and the Moderator of the Free Church Federal Council for shared ecumenical use. The other apses now accommodate the Blessed Sacrament (the tabernacle has two separate compartments for Anglican and Roman Catholic traditions), and baptismal font.
The chapel is licensed for worship in accordance with the Places of Worship Registration Act 1855 and has the registration number 75203. On 1 May 1979 it was licensed for solemnising marriages according to the terms of the Marriage Act 1949.
Worship and usage
Regular services are held in the Chapel, which functions as a community church. Additionally other sacraments and services are held during the year by request and everyone is welcome to attend any of the public services.
Outside, the Memorial Garden is dominated by a 16-foot oak cross, and provides a place of rest and refreshment for staff and passengers. The walls of the garden support memorial plaques for late members of the airport community. On the opposite side of the garden is the ground level multifaith prayer room opened in 1998.
The Chaplains meet regularly for prayer; are on call 365 days a year, and are affiliated to the International Association of Civil Aviation Chaplains, covering airports throughout the world.
A plaque in memory of Barbara Jane Harrison was unveiled on 23 October 1970. There are also memorial plaques to mark the Lockerbie bombing – one for crew, on the wall by the door; another made by Dr Jim Swire near the font.
- Official website
- Airport Chaplaincy – Heathrow, Diocese of Westminster
- International Association of Civil Aviation Chaplains: IACAC
- Registered in accordance with the Places of Worship Registration Act 1855 (Number in Worship Register: 75203; Name: Chapel of St George; Address: London Airport, Heathrow; Denomination: Roman Catholics & Free Church). Retrieved 14 December 2012. (Archived version of list from April 2010; Click here for access to subsequent updates)
- "No. 47843". The London Gazette. 17 May 1979. p. 6375.
- Ottaway, Susan (2008). "Appendix 2". Fire over Heathrow, The Tragedy of Flight 712. Barnsley: Pen and Sword Books. p. 166. ISBN 978-1-84415-739-6.