When Bristol Airport unveiled its new multi-faith prayer space yesterday, it was probably hoping for a more positive response from the religious community. But the vast majority of comments from Christians have been negative - ranging from the incredulous to the downright mocking. Here’s a few of our favourites
Bristol Airport’s new multi-faith prayer room - which does bear more than a passing resemblance to a bus shelter or smoking area - has been generating quite the buzz on social media.
Some have taken issue with the design, others with the location. Many are incredulous that the airport authorities have been seemingly blindsided by the response to the space.
Here’s a few of our favourite responses
1. Waiting for God
Is it really a prayer room, or a bus shelter? Maybe it can be both…
Are we praying for the bus to turn up?' Bristol Airport's new multi-faith area is mocked on social media as thousands compare it to a bus shelter https://t.co/1sCaC3FO0H— KulganofCrydee (@KulganofCrydee) November 24, 2023
…although arguably even some bus shelters are more attractive than this prayer space
On the left an old bus shelter— createstreets (@createstreets) November 23, 2023
On the right a modern place of worship at Bristol airport.
Comment or satire appears superfluous. pic.twitter.com/ZkIVlXnnCc
2. At the vanguard of faith
Here’s a far more generous (ironic?) take. In eschewing more luxurious surroundings and returning to the asceticism of the early Church Fathers, might the airport be prophetically calling forth spiritual renewal? It’s worth considering…
Ppl being so mean about this rn but many medieval hermitages and anchorholds were far less salubrious; has anyone considered that @BristolAirport might be at the vanguard of a spiritual renewal, calling and challenging us to a new asceticism? https://t.co/LPbiCRbAxk— Dr Francis Young (@DrFrancisYoung) November 24, 2023
3. Away in a manger
Maybe you could put some hay and a crib in it. It certainly reflects the stark reality of what it might be to be homeless and with not much shelter. Perhaps not deliberate but thanks for highlighting poor housing facilities on the margins!— Fr Alex Frost (The God Cast & Argos to the Altar) (@alexdjfrost) November 23, 2023
Turning it into a nativity scene would definitely make it feel more Christmassy…but perhaps not quite so appealing to those of other faiths!
4. Praying for peace
We all need a quiet place to gather ourselves after paying the insane parking charges at Bristol Airport. https://t.co/quvvgVH79v— 𝙹𝙰𝙼𝙴𝚂 𝙲𝙷𝙴𝙰𝙳𝙻𝙴 (@JamesCheadle) November 23, 2023
Sometimes my own personal response to car park charges is less then godly, I must admit. Maybe they could put one in all car parks everywhere?
5. Location, location, location
Is it available for weddings?— Cosima Charlton (@CharltonCosima) November 23, 2023
Gosh, They’ve got a point. The location is incredibly convenient for jetting off on honeymoon
6. A new thing
Not everyone in the Christian community was impressed with how the ‘vibe’ of the prayer shelter fits within the historic Church tradition however
Much love to the neo-Calvinist vibe being given off by the Bristol Airport multi-faith prayer shack.— Martin Brown 💙 🇺🇦🇪🇺 (@MartinB_Archaeo) November 23, 2023
I suppose it's smoking shelter aesthetic does allow for the use of incense or sage.
📷York Minster and Bristol Airport pic.twitter.com/Y63diiQkHW
…perhaps they should have spent more time in prayer before settling on a design? Oh wait…
You’re going to need a bit more faith to build a better area pic.twitter.com/ecfECizowc— #Owrder (@Gaemechanger) November 23, 2023
Or perhaps just have bought a book. Danny’s got a great recommendation:
Got the perfect book for this! pic.twitter.com/i6m0qijchG— Danny Webster (@danny_webster) November 24, 2023
7. The camera angle you’re missing…
Maybe this is some kind of Dr. Who kind of thing, and it looks like a wretched, miserable bus hovel designed by people who hate you, but on the outside, but inside it looks like this: pic.twitter.com/SlN4ujLNOA— Hilary White; Sacred Art (@hilarityjane) November 23, 2023
Good on you Hilary for cutting them a bit of slack. Perhaps it was just the angle of the photograph and when you get inside, it’s a whole lot better than you expected.
8. Here, there and everywhere
I don't think I've ever seen anywhere before that I thought God wouldn't be able to see/hear you, but it's located just off the silver zone roundabout at Bristol airport https://t.co/8BfKgA5j45— Jason Osborne (@JasonOsborneIC) November 23, 2023
It’s not true. God can definitely hear you whereever you pray. But we see his point…
9. God moves in mysterious ways
Come on, let’s be hopeful people. All prayer is good prayer - perhaps it’ll have unintended consequences?
A Priest, a Rabbi and an Imam walked into a multi-faith shed.— Rachel Coxcoon (@RachelCoxcoon) November 23, 2023
They all completely agreed it was absolutely dreadful.
Which is how Bristol Airport accidentally triggered world peace.
Amen to that.@PlanningShit https://t.co/VdsLE7bUYS
10. The gateway to heaven
"Hic Domus Dei est, et portacabin caeli. " https://t.co/oDts3Egwvh— Fr Mark Elliott Smith (@MarkElliottSmi1) November 24, 2023
For those of us not fluent in Latin, this roughly translates as: “This is the house of God and the portacabin (usually: gate) to heaven”, a play on the Latin phrase often inscribed above church doorways.
Bristol Airport say the shelter (sorry: prayer space) was built in response to feedback from customers…
Please note the new multi-faith area was created after we consulted widely, listened to feedback and to provide shelter and dignity prior to the winter. We also have a multi-faith area in the Departure Lounge of the terminal situated between the Central Walkway and Gates 32-34.— Bristol Airport (@BristolAirport) November 23, 2023