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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Airport witness for Christ

Chaplain is reassuring in a frantic environment

It can take Romeo Dabee (pronounced Day-Bee), the Protestant Chaplain at JFK Airport, an hour to walk from his parked car outside Terminal 4 to his office near the Christ for the World Chapel on the fourth floor. Since last December, Dabee, a 36-year-old ELCA pastor, has served here under the auspices of the Council of Churches of New York

As Dabee leaves the parking lot, he steps in front of an airport vendor's vehicle. The driver had nearly struck a passenger crossing the street to enter the terminal. Dabee isn't about to ignore the episode. His clerical garb catches the driver's attention. Dabee says two words: "Slow down."

Dabee's low voice diffuses, rather than escalates, the episode. His point made, he moves on.

That's just one episode in the fast-paced, confused atmosphere that is JFK International Airport in Jamaica, N.Y. There are seven terminals and more than 70 airlines, 10 square miles of territory and 42 million passengers each year.


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