Category Archives: Ecumenical working

David Dickens and Queen Elizabeth II

Collaboration is key to ICMA

It became apparent once again that the members of the International Christian Maritime Association (ICMA) benefit from our Association when individual members share expertise and publicly support one another’s goals.

David Dickens and Queen Elizabeth II
Commodore David Dickens with Queen Elizabeth II

Commodore David Dickens (The Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishers), Alexander Campbell (Queen Victoria Seamen’s Rest) and Reverend Hennie la Grange (outgoing general secretary of ICMA) met at the QVSR in East London on Friday.

From the meeting it was clear that funding was increasingly difficult to find.  While funders have changed their funding priorities and have developed application procedures to ensure diligent grant giving, it has become tougher to get money for crucial services and emergency response.  It was floated that, perhaps, the changing needs of the welfare sector have not been recognised or understood by our traditional supporters.

While funders were reluctant to support hostel-style accommodation in London, the QVSR boasted 99% occupation levels each year. QVSR’s longer term residents from maritime backgrounds tended to resist being re-housed in council-supported private accommodation, as they needed the maritime feel of the Rest and its sense of community.  Years at sea have severed their links to onshore community life, and that is what the Seamen’s Rest is able to provide.

Similarly the Fisherman’s Mission has deepening concern for foreign seafarers working in fishing.  Recent incidents of foreign sailors incarcerated for being in the UK illegally, abandoned here due to failed contracts (a recent case highlighted by AOS GB), and of families abroad left destitute after loss of a fisher’s life, strengthens the Fishers Mission’s resolve to use the ICMA network internationally to reach these families, and to roll out assistance to international seafarers.

The leaders of RNMDSF and QVSR came away from the meeting committed to helping one another in matters of faith and resolved to collaborate on matters ofmutual interest.

Jason Zuidema at AOS

Bringing something new to the ICMA table…

The Reverend Jason Zuidema, the new Executive Director of ICMA member the North American Maritime Ministry Association (NAMMA) took time our from a holiday in Europe to meet Father Bruno Ciceri and his team.  Father Bruno is Head of Apostleship of the Sea International situated in the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Itinerant People at the Holy See, Vatican, Rome.  Ecumenical working was on the agenda.  Jason Zuidema at AOS

NAMMA Notes reported that Zuidema also met Fr. Gabriele  Bentoglio, Under-Secretary of the Pontifical Conuncil, then Mgr. Joseph Kalathiparambil, Secretary, and finally Antonio Maria Cardinal Veglio, President.

All of them strongly encouraged the work of ministries to seafarers and encouraged NAMMA in its work together.  Fr. Ciceri was most encouraging and a delightful lunch companion.  We had a long and in-depth conversation about strategic opportunities for AOS, ICMA, and NAMMA.  Though much was just to get to know each other personally, there were a number of topics that we hope can be useful for common work in future conversations like those the participants will have our conference in August.  

Jason was encouraged to see individual ministries and ministry orders thinking creatively and facing the hard questions we all face with humility and courage.  Specifically, he thought about encouragement as we plan for the coming NAMMA conference.  Know that we are not alone and that common work together is worth the work.  Actually, Fr. Ciceri brought it home in a memorable way.  He said, “if we bring nothing to the NAMMA or ICMA table, we will get nothing from the table.”

Hennie la Grange, General Secretary 2007 - 2013

Moving forward, strengthening ICMA

The General Secretary of the International Christian Maritime Association has come to the end of his term in the role.  Reverend Hennie la Grange will leave ICMA at the end of July 2013 after being in post since July 1st 2007.  He will leave the office on July 15th. Hennie wrote:

Hennie Rome1The Strategic Review is moving ICMA forward in leaps and bounds.  The Association has now arrived on the eve of a new era that promises to strengthen ICMA by transforming the secretariat and promoting the work of its members.  These challenges call for new skills and fresh commitment. The last decade’s implementation of the GRUBB Report, ICMA’s previous review, and the ever changing environment of our ministries have led ICMA to branch out and break new ground.

I am gratified by the time I spent with ICMA.  Moving across continents to take up this role has been worth every sacrifice. 

I have been blessed with a world of new friends and family in faith. I have met remarkable people. I have discovered treasures in Christ’s church that I had never imagined.  I have seen growing unity.  Together we have celebrated difference. We have shared moments of great achievement while battling the complexities of life and work. We have seen excellence and failure, and together we have overcome. We have experienced firsthand the love of Our Father at work in this unique ecumenical community. Of course ecumenical communities need nurturing, and tolerance remains key.  God’s Spirit, I pray, will help you to guard over this precious chunk of his kingdom.  

I have the utmost respect for port chaplains who serve God and care passionately for his people of the sea. I thank God for you. Your labours, performed against impossible odds, are an inspiration.  May God bless you with fulfilment, as that is the reward, I know, you desire most.

I hope that I have been able to contribute, just a little, to Christian unity, to the dignity of port chaplains and to the wellbeing of seafarers, fishers and their families.

I hope that I may have instilled in the industry and among our partners in the welfare sector, a sense of faith’s value in inspiring selfless commitment to care. 

I hope that ICMA, its members and its chaplains, are a little more valued as a resource that can be relied upon even to swim that extra mile, when walking on the water is not an option.     

Thank you all for having me!  Thank you for your friendship and hospitality. I have not always been able to deliver what was expected or required, but you loved me all the same, as Christians do.

May God bless you all.

Hennie la Grange

 

The crew at Anchor House

At Anchor in Port Manatee

Seafarers in Port Manatee on the Gulf of Mexico can be assured of finding a friend in Anchor House.

Anchor HouseCelebrating its 20th anniversary of fellowship to seafarers at Port Manatee, USA, Anchor House is an integral part of the independent ecumenical Christian ministry to seafarers, affiliated to ICMA’s member in North America, NAMMA.

The Bradenton Herald reported that Chaplain and Director Tim Huppert and Chaplain and Manager Trish Alligood board ships with an outstretched hand even when they can’t speak the language of the crews to offer support, reading materials, worship and a listening ear to whoever’s on board.

More than 5,000 international seafarers visit the port annually. Those seafarers able to come ashore, come to the small building that houses the mission for free computer use, telephone access and other kinds of communication, as well as food and other personal necessities.

Port workers and various volunteers stop by Anchor House to help out or participate in programs or Bible study. Anchor House has Bibles in 30 different languages to offer seafarers.

A local port worker who regularly eats his lunch there, said it’s the environment the chaplains create that takes him back there again and again.

“You walk in here and its spiritual. These two touch us. They give everything, their whole heart and all, for everybody. It’s good to be here,” Stanfield said.

Click here to read the whole article authored by Dee Graham

 

DSM Kirchentag1

Deutsche Seemannsmission shines at Kirchentag 2013

“Five days of sunny summer weather, ships, vessels, harbour sounds and more than 120,000 visitors made the annual meeting of German Protestant Christians, the so-called Kirchentag, an unforgettable experience. ” 

Viola Heutger, Volunteer from the Deutsche Seemannsmission’s station in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, sent this report on  impressions of the events at this year’s Kirchentag (Church Day).

Heutger wrote:

The staff of the German Seafarer’s Mission was involved in various activities of the Kirchentag in Hamburg from 1 – 5 May 2013. Conferences about piracy and “fair transport” and an exhibition of Cargonauts took place. Information stands about the seafarer’s mission and its work invited visitors to discuss the daily life and the working conditions of seafarers.

Two events stood out. Particularly memorable was the seafarers’ night service of worship in the old fish auction hall. In the entertaining three-hour worship we learned a lot about the working conditions on a ship. Reverend Sakari Lehmuskallio of the Finnish Seamen’s Church built bridges between the individual visitors and his preaching helped to put together a real worship community. At the Holy Communion the congregation shared fish, made from German “Brezenteig”. Finally, like sailors from the Philippines, the almost 900 visitors of the Seafarer’s Night sung along “I am sailing”. The atmosphere was marvelous.

Another highlight was a boat trip around the harbor to the Sailors’ Club Duckdalben close to the container terminal. A warm welcome with freshly grilled sausages awaited the travelers by sea.

Every evening the Seamen’s Mission Altona invited guests for barbecues. It was the perfect place to meet and greet new and old friends.

See also the film of the Seafarer’s club Duckdalben:  CLICK HERE.

 

ITF ST LOGO

Regional Conference commits to priorities for ministry

The final report from the ICMA Regional Conference held in Odessa concludes with a set of statements by the delegates that underline the region’s commitment to caring for the welfare of seafarers.

The outgoing Regional Coordinator, AOS Deacon Ricardo Rodriguez Martos from Barcelona, Spain, wrote that the region was committed to pursue the following goals and priorities in delivering care to seafarers and families in the Black Sea, Mediterranean and Middle East Region of the international Christian Maritime Association.

  1. Port Welfare Committees: PWC’s are very important for achieving more efficient assistance to seafarers. The region’s chaplains would promote such committees in each port.
  2. Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme: In cases of emergency or of piracy, port authorities, ship owners and the ship’s agents should be aware of the important role that port chaplains can play in welfare response and first emergency response.
  3. ICMA Code of Conduct: To enhance ecumenical working, chaplains, volunteers and welfare workers from ICMA’s members should follow the ICMA Code of Conduct.
  4. Networking:  Being connected to one another benefits seafarers and should be an ongoing goal of all ICMA members’ personnel and centres.
  5. Cruise ship ministry:  Given that access to cruise ships is not easily gained, a short and simple directory of ports and welfare providers in the region would be produced and distributed among crews and crew coordinators on these ships.
  6. MLC 2006: ICMA centres should promote the ratification of MLC 2006 in those countries where it is not yet incorporated in national legislation,  and are urged to  collaborate in its implementation in all ports of the region.
  7. Ship visiting: Given the fast turnaround and workload while in port, many seafarers have no time to go ashore. Therefore, ICMA personnel should prioritise ship visiting
  8. Onboard welfare:  Chaplains could facilitate groups on board that care for the welfare of fellow crew members.  These groups could form informal welfare committees or prayer groups.
  9. Seafarers Rights:  Chaplains are encouraged to engage advocacy for seafarers rights

This ICMA Regional Conference was made possible by a grant received from the ITF Seafarers Trust.  ICMA thanks the Trust for its generous support.

CLICK HERE for the full report from the Regional Conference

 

CODE OF CONDUCT
OF THE

INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN MARITIME ASSOCIATION

 

 The Mission of ICMA

Membership of ICMA carries an obligation to abide by the Constitution of the Association and of this Code of Conduct.

The seafarers of the world remind us of the ultimate purpose of all God’s plans:” And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24,14 NIV). In a fragmented and divided society, it is ICMA ’s mission to promote unity, peace and tolerance. ICMA was founded for promoting and co-ordinating Christian ecumenical co-operation in maritime ministry.

Chaplains and staff of all ICMA Member Societies at local, national and international level are therefore to:

  1. Show an unconditional love to the seafarer as a human being, created in the image of God, and a sincere respect for her/his personal values and beliefs;
  2. Serve seafarers and their dependants of all nationalities, religions, cultures, language, sex or race;
  3. Fight prejudice, intolerance and injustice of any kind;
  4. Respect the diversity of ICMA Members and Churches and to develop that which unites them;
  5. Respect the loyalty of those engaged in maritime ministry to their particular ecclesiastical discipline and tradition and refrain from proselytising seafarers;
  6. Co-operate with persons, organisations and institutions, Christian or non-Christian, which work for the welfare of seafarers.

 

CLICK HERE for a printable version of the ICMA Code of Conduct

CLICK HERE for the French version of the ICMA Code of Conduct

 

Stuart_Rivers4 (1)

Stuart Rivers takes office at Sailors Society

The Sailors’ Society’s new Chief Executive Officer has assumed the role at the Society’s Southampton office in the United Kingdom on April 1st 2013.  Stuart R Rivers succeeds Robert N Adams in the role.

In a letter announcing his appointment, the Sailors’ Society wrote that Rivers has extensive experience in the international mobile communications sector, having been Strategic, and later Global, Business Director of Ericsson.

In 2002 Rivers left the communications industry and entered into full time Christian ministry for the Salvation Army.  He has since worked for BP, was Executiive Director of Enterprise at the Bible Society, has worked with the International Social Justice Commission and has contributed to Theos, the ecumenical public advocacy “think tank”.

Rivers holds post-graduate diplomas in Theology and in Marketing.

Ross Sinclair, Chair of the trustees of Sailors’ Society, said:

 

“Stuart posseses a most unusual blend of skills and business experience spanning commercial management, technology and charity fundraising fused with a deep practical understanding of ministry, social justice and pastoral welfare.”

 

The International Christian Maritime Association congratulates Stuart Rivers upon assuming the role of Chief Executive Officer at this valued founder member of our Association.  ICMA looks forward to continuing its close collaboration with the Sailors’ Society and its Chief Executive Officer who has in the recent past also assumed the role of ICMA’s Treasurer.

Initially, up to and including ICMA’s Annual Genreral Meeting in Bucharest later this year, Robert Adams will continue to represent the Sailors Society on ICMA’s Executive Committee.  Robert has a crucial role in ICMA’s strategic review and has elected to assist the Association to conclude the process before he retires from ICMA.  Sailors Society’s commitment to ICMA is highly appreciated by the membership.

Jason Zuidema

NAMMA announces appointment of new Executive Director

The North American Maritime Ministry Association, a founder member of the International Christian Maritime Association, has announced the appointment of its new Executive Director. Dr. Jason Zuidema from Canada will assume the role in July 2013.

Announcing the appointment, NAMMA Notes said:

NAMMA’s Board of Directors in January selected Jason Zuidema as the next Executive Director. He will be the first full time ED in over a decade as NAMMA begins the next phase of growth in serving seafarers and the maritime ministries in North America

Born in English-Canada, Jason Zuidema lives in French-speaking Quebec where he and his family attend a French-language Reformed Church.  Educated in English and French Canada, the United States and Europe, Jason earned a Ph.D. in religious studies from McGill University, focusing on ecumenical theology.  He has written a number of books and articles about diverse Christian traditions, especially when in minority settings.  Following his studies, Jason held successive ecclesiastical and academic appointments that built his public speaking, fund-raising, and organizational experience.  Bracketing these years of academic and administrative service, Jason served as chaplain with the Ministry to Seafarers in the Port of Montreal, Canada.  He gave the keynote address at the 2005 NAMMA annual conference.  Jason lives with his wife Anna and his three children in Montreal, Quebec.

The move to establishing a full time position of leadership came after many years of effort to focus and clarify the role and value of NAMMA within the maritime community. The Board of Directors established a second strategic plan that highlighted the need for full time leadership in an association of agencies and chaplains already stretched thin in resources. The hiring of Jason comes after receiving a grant from ITF Seafarers’ Trust that provides a foundation on which to build a solid future for NAMMA. Beyond traditional tasks of the Ed, the role also established targets for funding and a venture into serving some of the maritime missions who need support in strengthening their local funding capacity. The goals focus on equipping the more than 50 maritime ministries so they can be more effective in serving seafarers on a local and world-wide scale.

Dr. Jason Zuidema said in anticipation of his new role at NAMMA:

“The port ministries that are represented in NAMMA have a strong track-record of providing real care to seafarers bodies, souls, and spirits. As Executive Director of NAMMA, I hope to be a real encouragement for their continued work.”

“Though our markets are tied closer together by the increasing speed and efficiency of global maritime traffic, the seafarers don’t necessarily have the same benefit. If we are pulled together, they are orphaned from family, friends and the culture that they know. As Executive Director I hope to keep the focus of NAMMA on serving these ‘orphans of globalization’”

“Though we represent diverse Christian traditions, we come together as an association of ministries. It is my hope that while respecting the diversity within NAMMA, we can lend strengths and share weaknesses. Around the NAMMA table, we all have something to learn.”

ICMA welcomes Dr. Jason Zuidema to our ecumenical family. NAMMA is a valued member of our Association, represented on ICMA’s Executive Committee.  ICMA’s members look forward to collaborating with NAMMA’s new Executive Director and the our North America partners in Christ who share our ministry to merchant seafarers, fishers and maritime families.  

Father Oleksandr Smerechynskyy and Hennie la Grange

A new team leads ICMA Region

Father Oleksandr Smerechynskyy, Apostleship of the Sea chaplain in Odessa, was elected as the new Regional Coordinator for the ICMA Black Sea, Mediterranean and Middle East Region. 

Father Oleksandr Smerechynskyy and Hennie la Grange

The Region met in Odessa, Ukraine.  Oleksandr is based in Odessa and operates from a small seafarers’ centre just outside the port gates.  He shares his centre and works as a close team with colleague Rostyslav Inzhestoykov of the Mission to Seafarers.  Together these two dedicated port chaplains did a magnificent job in staging a hugely successful regional conference.  The organisation was flawless and every request for assistance was met with a smile.  The outspoken aim was that everyone should have a relaxed conference, and that aim certainly achieved.  The accommodation was first class, the meals were scrumptious, especially the traditional Ukrainian cafe-style banquet and the closing gala buffet.  The conference highlighted the wonderful hospitality of the Ukrainian people.  The speakers were clearly specialists in their field, and the chaplains eagerly participated in discussions.  The organising team deserve our gratitude and congratulations on a job very well done.

What struck me was the committed dedication and unfailing enthusiasm of the region’s chaplains.  Almost all these chaplains face very difficult odds, yet their determination to succeed in their chosen ministries to seafarers was a credit to their faith.  They love passionately what they do, caring for both seafarers and the maritime families who live locally.  They are driven by faith that leads them to care unconditionally for all seafarers.

This regional conference was an inspiration.  I commend these men and women to seafarers.

With the election of  Father Oleksandr, Ricardo Rodriguez-Martos of Barcelona, a stalwart of the region’s ecumenical work, bows out as regional coordinator.  It is fair to say that Ricardo has set the bar high for all our regional coordinators.  Ricardo has done exceptional work for this Association. He has maintained close contact with all the chaplains in his region, and has come out in support of chaplaincy and ecumenical working as the core of ICMA’s existence.  His region’s contact details are up to date, and he kept every port chaplain abreast of ICMA’s communications, adding to the Secretariat’s letters to chaplains a regular regional bulletin.  The International Christian Maritime Association thanks Ricardo, one of the characters of this ministry, for his services to our Association.

In closing the conference, we prayed together for God’s blessing of the care to seafarers given by these men and women of the Black Sea, Mediterranean and Middle East Region.  May these ICMA personnel be especially blessed, their vocational commitment strengthened and their relationships cemented in faith, that they may overcome the many obstacles that they face.

Tatyana T2

Twinning… or dating for seafarers’ centres!

The twinning of seafarers’s centres, a project currently run by the newly established ISWAN, was initially intended by ICSW to connect ex-Soviet Union centres with centres elsewhere in the world.  Set up to improve understanding of the the mindset of Slavonic seafarers, and to inspire hospitality to foreign seafarers in Eastern European ports, the Twinning programme has proven so successful, that it has been expanded to include the rest of the world.

Seafarers’ centre staff are supported to enable reciprocal visits.  Spending time at other centres that have similar needs and demographics, and that face challenges akin to those at home, allows for centres to learn from one another.    Centres are matched on various criteria.  The evaluation of the twinning scheme has been universally positive.  In some cases twinning of seafarers’ centres have gone way beyond the original aims of the programme, resulting in ongoing relations being established between the host ports and even the host cities.

Tatyana Tarasysk, manager of one of the two seafarers’ centres in Odessa, Ukraine, leads the project. Tatyana Tarasysk promoted the programme in a presentation at the ICMA Black Sea, Mediterranean and Middle East Regional Conference held in Odessa.  The aim of the programme, she said, was to improve seafarers’ welfare. “To feel encouraged when you see others struggling with the same problems.”

Tatyana related several stories and comments from centres that have participated. She urged ICMA centres to consider participating in the Twinning scheme.

Guidelines on who could participate and how to get involved are available on the website of ISWAN, the International Seafarers Welfare and Assistance Network.