I encountered a trucker chapel for the first time in 2013 while working on an assignment for graduate school. Nestled behind a TA Travel Center in Lodi, Ohio, the Transport For Christ mobile chapel offered Bible study and worship services for truck drivers. Volunteer chaplains were on duty 24/7. However, after spending a little bit of time at the place, I also got the feeling that it had a purpose besides trying to bring the Gospel to drivers. I noticed that some drivers would spend hours inside the chapel – not discussing anything religious, per se, but simply decompressing and talking about the stresses and frustrations of life on the road.
In 2016, I had the privilege of working on an assignment for the AARP about drivers who utilize mobile chapels. I shadowed Pete Douglas, 68, who has been a truck driver since the 1980s. Pete primarily hauls steel, an industry that has been struggling in recent years due to the outsourcing of manufacturing jobs. Along with a decline in business, Pete has experienced rising expenses, lower pay, and increasing regulations. For Pete and other drivers, TFC mobile chapels provide a valuable source of support. “It’s nice to be able to go in and talk with some of the chaplain counselors about these issues,” he said. “They try to help you work through it.”
Check out the AARP essay here. Below are some images from the story:
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