A Ministry of the
Council of Churches
of the City of New York



Bishop Milton Wright
1825 - 1917

The annual Aviation Industry Awards Luncheon, begun in 1972 to help support the Protestant Chapel at JFK Airport, was named in honor of Bishop Milton Wright. The Luncheon is held annually in the Spring and recognizes outstanding leaders in the aviation industry.

Orville Wright

Bishop Milton Wright, the father of the famous “Wright Brothers” – Orville and Wilbur – was pastor of a church in Dayton, Ohio. He served as a bishop in the Church of the Brethren for 24 years and taught in a college for two years. When Wilbur was eleven and Orville seven, their father gave them a ready-made fluttering toy, of no practical use on earth. It cost only a few pennies but it was amusing to watch this little man-made gadget make like a humming bird.

The principle was simple enough: a twisted rubber band that counter-rotates a couple of light paddle-wheels in horizontal planes, catching the air and throwing it downward, The machine is thereby pushed upward with God’s law of equal and opposite reactions – which Mr. Newton had thoughtfully formularized. The boys learned its lesson well. They were both apt students, with phenomenal memories, like their father’s.

Wilbur Wright

Without either having graduated from high school, they opened a bicycle repair shop in Dayton, Ohio. They had to hold their own against 18 local bicycle makers and dealers, six repair shops, one tire maker and one specialist enameller. They started manufacturing bicycles from scratch and marketing them as “Wright Flyers.” The partnership prospered mightily. Together they looked around for life’s neat opportunity. Quietly, these two lonely, self-educated mechanics resolved to build the world’s first man-carrying flying machine. And from that moment until success was assured six years later, neither Wilbur nor Orville wavered one degree from their determined course to make workable wings for men.

Bishop Wright encouraged and supported his sons in their ambition to fly. He said, “As has been attested by many witnesses, I saw Orville fly one day twenty-one miles in thirty-three minutes (10-4-1905). The next day I saw Wilbur fly twenty-four miles in thirty-eight minutes. They flew at less than 65 feet altitude.”
In Who’s Who in America, Orville is listed as a “Machinist Inventor” and Wilbur as a “Machinist Aeronaut.”

— Edited excerpts from The Bishop’s Boys by Dallas Sherman; Flying Machine,
December 1959; and from Wright Reminiscences by Ivonette Wright Miller.





Christ for the World Chapel

Terminal 4

JFK Airport, NY 11430

(718) 656-5693