Airport adds second full-time chaplain
What greater joy is there than finding a career you love in which you make a difference in strangers’ lives every day?
That’s what life is like for Chaplain Larry Cowper, who has been in ministry for 34 years. Last year, he became a full-time chaplain at Hartsfield-Jackson through his employer, The Salvation Army.
No two days are the same for Cowper.
“What I like about here [the Airport] is I can see people in many situations on a daily basis, and I have an opportunity to work with them and listen,” said the Michigan native. “I’m able to see improvement in what’s going on, and for me the rewarding aspect is being there to help and to assist. I’m a people person.”
As an Airport chaplain, Cowper’s responsibilities are similar to those of a church pastor, he said. “I make myself available to the Airport employees, be that listening ear, share a prayer, encourage, make referrals for those who may be homeless, identify resources, as well as do some counseling. We’re good Samaritans to travelers, and we also provide a service to those stranded.”
As one of only two full-time chaplains, Cowper joins Senior Chaplain Chester Cook, who operates the new Interfaith Chapel on the third floor of the Airport’s Atrium. A host of chaplains from various denominations volunteer at the Airport.
“Having Maj. Cowper on board with the Interfaith Airport Chaplaincy brings a whole army of abilities and resources,” Cook said. “He was prepared and called by God to be perfectly equipped for the Airport chapel ministry. In addition to all that, he’s a real nice guy, with a deep love for God and people.”
Cowper can be found on any given day walking through the Airport and offering encouraging words or a prayer to passengers. “I look for body language [and] facial expressions to see if something is going on with someone, and I introduce myself,” Cowper said. “It’s interesting, and so many times a person may be going through a crisis.”
When the married father of four isn’t providing spiritual counseling, Cowper enjoys reading and is a car enthusiast. Cowper, who moved to Atlanta a year ago, also enjoys the Southern climate. “It’s nice. We have found Atlanta to be pleasant.”
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