Airport Chapel Proposal Presented to Tulsa Airport Authority

Friday, December 10th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Travelers through Tulsa could one day have a place to make progress on their spiritual journeys. 35 of the nation's airports have interfaith chapels right in the airport terminal. Some of the chapels are located in many airports smaller than Tulsa International.

Often and routinely crowded, the Tulsa airport can also be a lonely place. Among the holiday and business travelers, some people are on their way to funerals and family emergencies. It is these people who could take advantage of a chapel and spend some quiet moments before or just after their flight.

Lee Nelson was one such traveler. "It's really a shame,” Nelson said. “If someone mourns a loss or has a problem at home, they really have nowhere in the Tulsa airport to go and mourn in private." That's why he brought the issue before the Tulsa Airport Authority, asking that they provide space for a chapel in the terminal. Many of the larger airports have chapels including Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, and Houston.

At Chicago O'Hare, a celebratory mass was recently held in their chapel, marking its 30th anniversary. In Tulsa, the chapel might be located on the arrival level mezzanine, so it could be centrally located for both concourses. "It would be wonderful to have a place where travelers could come and either pray, meditate or worship,” said Tulsa Metropolitan Ministries’ Sandra Rana. “There would also be a telephone list of clergy in the area who travelers could call for help."

Muslim travelers who according to their religion, must pray at specific times each day, say a chapel is needed. “If I am at the airport and that time comes, I must pray,” said Islamic Society of Tulsa spokesman Mujeeb Cheema. “And I do this at this airport."

The airport authority didn't vote on the proposal, so the authority could examine the legal implications of using public space for religious purposes. If the proposal is approved, air travelers coming through Tulsa could one day have a place at the airport to lift their spirits before they lift off. The proposal calls for an interfaith, interdenominational chapel that would be used for prayer or meditation.