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Faith-driven ministry in the working world

ICMA’s Secretariat was visited by a student who wanted workplace experience of our faith-based charity for the welfare of seafarers.

Jacques Prinsloo (16)  from Southend, Essex, England, contacted the Secretariat asking to visit.  The day was spent discussing the aims and objectives of our members, the frontline care delivered by our members’ chaplains, centre staff and volunteers, the welfare facilities we maintain, work done with international partners and our relations with governments, ports, shipping companies and crewing agents.

Central to our work is our faith in Christ:  it is our faith in God’s care for all humanity that drives and motivates our service to the people of the sea.  Our organised prophetic ministries of pastoral care, diaconal  service and advocacy in almost every seaport on earth have been the mainstay of seafarers’ welfare, for as long as three centuries in some parts of the world. Our ministries extend beyond seafarers to include their families and loved ones. Our care is holistic, including all the humanitarian needs of the seafaring community.  Our witness to the maritime world is focused upon the human dignity of seafarers.

The specialised needs of seafarers include occupational health, isolation (the separation from loved ones and exacerbated by multinational crewing), the complete integration of work- and life-space, abandonment, the lack of adequate social security, criminalisation, piracy and the fear of piracy, dangerous working conditions, fatigue, restricted shore leave and access to communication and social networks and seafarers employment rights, among others.  The world of fishers is of particular concern.

The professional training and education ICMA offers to its members’ personnel to enable effective responses to these issues troubling seafarers, were highlighted in the discussion.  The value of the International Christian Maritime Association lies in bringing together the faith-based responders for the best use of limited resources.  Our members are  valued in their own right, their faith traditions respected, and they freely apply very different models of ministry while making every attempt to be complementary to (as opposed to being in conflict with ) the efforts of other ICMA members.  This approach ensures holistic care to seafarers where it matters most.

Jacques left ICMA’s Secretariat with an understanding of ICMA’s faith-driven ministry in the working world of the maritime industry.

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