St. Louis Airport Closing Chapel for Food Shop

Ministers upset, airport director responds

Kevin Killeen
December 11, 2018 - 4:13 pm

Kevin Killeen/KMOX

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - A little chapel where travelers can go to pray at St. Louis Lambert International Airport is being shut down to make way for a food shop. 

It's the Interfaith Chapel in the Southwest Airlines terminal. The Rev. Roderick Burton of the New Northside Missionary Baptist Church on Goodfellow supervises the interfaith chapel.

"I'm very disappointed, and I think it's a shame that the service of faith has to be sacrificed at the altar of retail," Burton said.

A spokesman for St. Louis Airport Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge says the decision was made because of growing passenger volume in the terminal and long lines of people waiting for food. The chapel will be closed December 17 and a food shop is expected to open there by spring. 

After the story began airing on KMOX, a member of the airport board, Aldermanic President Lewis Reed, issued a statement saying he was "deeply disturbed" by the decision and asked it be reconsidered.

Airport director Hamm-Niebruegge then issued an updated statement, saying she will try to find a new location for the interfaith chapel in the next couple of months.