ICMA member the Queen Victoria Seamen’s Rest (QVSR) has announced the appointment of their new chaplain.
QVSR CEO, Alexander Campbell, said in a statement to the ICMA Secretariat:
The Queen Victoria Seamen’s Rest is delighted to announce that Reverend Hennie La Grange has accepted the appointment of QVSR Chaplain.
This post will greatly enhance the spiritual life at QVSR and will give both residents and staff the opportunity to explore their faith.
QVSR is the Seaman’s Mission of the Methodist Church (and a founder member of ICMA) and is celebrating its 170th year serving seafarers.
Alexander says ‘ we are delighted that Hennie has agreed to join the QVSR team, his experience and knowledge will be of great benefit to QVSR as we seek to help and support seafarers and others in need’.
The Queen Victoria Seamen’s Rest is situated in the old Docklands area of East London, United Kingdom. It is the only surviving seafarers’ mission in Docklands. It is surrounded by the properties once used by other ICMA members to serve seafarers visiting London’s port in the time before the Docklands quays were abandoned and later redeveloped as a skyscraper city. The QVSR continues to provide accommodation for retired seafarers, and keeps up its ship visiting commitment (at Tilbury Dock and Thames Gateway) by employing, in partnership with the Deutsche Seemannsmission, Deacon Jörn Hille as port chaplain.
ICMA values the significant contributions of its smaller members to the wellbeing of seafarers. These smaller members tend to punch way above their weight. Alexander Campbell is the ICMA regional coordinator for UK and Ireland. To our smaller members, ICMA is the instrument that enables them to participate on a global scale in the improvement of seafarers’ lives. Together, the members of ICMA can do more.
Maritime charity, the Apostleship of the Sea (AoS), has spoken out on the way seafarers and fishermen are treated when they run into problems with their UK visas. These seafarers are never without the support of ICMA member, AoS Great Britain.
Recently four foreign fishermen, two Filipino and two Indonesian, were stranded in Newcastle, UK , when the fishing boat they were working on hit financial difficulties. The ‘Starward’ was impounded due to the owner’s financial troubles.
The crew had not been paid salaries since March. This meant that they were not able to send money back home to their families in Indonesia and the Philippines, with one crew member relating how his children were going hungry. As the crew were only contracted to work on this particular vessel they were not able to transfer to another. Also, as they were working on transit visas, the UK Border Agency had them arrested in mid-June and they were taken to a detention centre. They were subsequently transferred to a Heathrow detention centre where some of them remain.
Throughout this ordeal the crew have been helped and supported by the Apostleship of the Sea’s Tyne port chaplain, Paul Atkinson. Paul has provided practical and emotional support, working with the AoS national office to try to alleviate the men’s stress and ensure they are fairly treated.
Apostleship of the Sea National Director Martin Foley said,
‘The application of immigration rules to these men has taken no consideration of their circumstances. It is appalling that overseas fishing crews who are stranded in the UK through no fault of their own are treated like criminals and subjected to treatment that has demeaned and humiliated them.”
Pastor Dirk Demaeght, who works with fishers in Belgium, alerts us of the plight of fisher families in these times of economic downturn.
We must realize that, today, from a pastoral point of view, our fishery is bleeding! There are 7 vessels on the side because of financial difficulties. In some families the mountain of unpaid invoices is impossible to meet. The fuel prices continue to rise and fish prices fall because of a slowdown in the European fish market. In addition, the measures that the European Union has taken on discards make life even more difficult.
Fishers are stressed and discouraged.
Many young fishermen are leaving the industry. At the age of 35-40 years they wrestle with the question whether they still have a future to build in the fishing industry. To remain in fisheries, increases the possibility that they, at some point, will no longer be able to cope physically with the hard work. But on the other hand it is difficult for them to change careers knowing that they do not have skills valuable to the labour market.
We must pray that they continue to believe in their future as fishermen.
The Seamen’s Christian Friend Society, ICMA’s newest member, has offered its correspondence Bible studies to other members of the Association.
Martin Otto, author and port chaplain in the Port of Hamburg, Germany, wrote:
As new members of ICMA, we would like to find a way of making a positive contribution to our fellow members, over and above our cooperation at local level. [The] Bible correspondence courses [were] written by ourselves but we would be happy to make them available for other ICMA members to use free of charge and without the need for any copyright payments. These courses are not necessarily suitable for all seafarers, but they have been written in simple language with seafarers in mind. One attraction of these courses is that the seafarer is able to read them in the privacy of his own cabin without any pressure or undue influence from anyone else. We find that seafarers of many nationalities welcome the opportunity to investigate the Christian faith in this way and thousands of seafarers have completed this course in recent years.
“The Bridge” contains a basic outline of the Christian gospel. The student is provided with an answer sheet that can be sent to the distributing chaplain for marking. Some ICMA members might like to mark the answer sheets themselves – but SCFS is more than happy to see to this on their behalf if preferred. The Bridge is available in 24 languages. SCFS is able to supply ICMA members with a CD containing all these languages so that the courses may be printed off locally, as and when they are required for distribution.
Grace for the Weak
Grace for the Weak, another of the correspondence courses that SCFS are willing to share with ICMA members, is very useful for ship-based study in groups or in ship-based churches.
If any ICMA member would like to discuss the use of these courses they are welcome to contact Volker Lamaack in Hamburg, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tributes to seafarers are being received from shipping companies, unions, international fora like the IMO and ILO, in fact from almost all who understand the invaluable role of seafarers in all our lives.
The 28 members of the International Christian Maritime Association, our seafarers’ centres and chaplains, committees, volunteers and staff and the faith communities whom we represent, all of us applaud seafarers on this day.
We pray that you are safe.
We pray that your family life is happy.
We pray for your company, that your job is secure.
We pray that you will enjoy the fellowship of your faith family in every port.
We pray that you will experience fulfilment.
May you experience how close God is to you.
The members of ICMA are dedicated to your wellbeing. Call on us if you need support or assistance. We are there, in most ports of the world, to help you, or simply to be your friend.
The Liverpool seafarers’ Centre has sent us their contribution of seafarers’ faces in celebration of The Day of the Seafarer. Faces of the Sea 2013 Liverpool
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:
The 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.
Seafarers in Port Manatee on the Gulf of Mexico can be assured of finding a friend in Anchor House.
Celebrating 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.
Doreen M. Badeaux, AOS-USA Secretary General has paid a moving tribute to Deacon Albert Dacanay, Canada-based Regional Coordinator of Apostleship of the Sea for North America and the Caribbean. Albert will soon be leaving the AOS Ministry for other duties in his Diocese.
Deacon Albert Dacanay and his wife Delia, his kids, his in-laws, the entire family in fact, have been a part of his ministry to Seafarers for many years now.
I met Deacon Albert around 1995 or 1996 at a North American Maritime Ministry Association (NAMMA) Conference. Later, we served together on the NAMMA Board and that is when I really got to know him and learned just how talented he was. He brought technological skills to the table, and created NAMMA’s first website. However, what I recognized the most at that time, was that he was a Maritime Minister who really did the hard work of a dedicated Port Chaplain. And, he had an inner calmness and spirituality that enabled him to work with everyone and to help ease tensions whenever difficulties arose. Later, when he became the National Director for AOS Canada, I knew they had found a great leader. He went on to become the Regional Coordinator for AOS North America and the Caribbean. Though this is a position that has no funding, he took it on, and has spent a great deal of his personal funds to accomplish the goals of AOS North America.
Doreen speaks warmly of how Albert consulted and listened and advised wisely, smoothing over the difficulties that arise when change occurs. She witnesses to to his calming intercession:
There was one challenging meeting where Deacon Albert consoled and reassured me by saying “Don’t worry. Delia and I have been praying for the Peace of Christ to be present at this meeting.” Then the day of the meeting came. I got up to speak, and the moment I did, I felt utter calm. The meeting went smoothly and I knew that it was the Peace of Christ which had truly entered the room that day. There was no other explanation. I had never experienced that Peace of Christ in such a real way. I learned that it is very real, and I learned that from Deacon Albert and his wife Delia. I’ve thought about that many times since, and have learned to truly pray for the Peace of Christ, for myself, and for others. So today, I would like to ask each of you to join me in prayer. Pray that the Peace of Christ will be with Deacon Albert and Delia Dacanay as they start a new journey.
ICMA most certainly joins Doreen in her prayers for the Dacanays.
“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).
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.
The years of service delivered by seafarers’ missions is often forgotten or underestimated. It is gratifying when port communities understand the significance of centres for seafarers.
When The (Australia) National Trust recently hosted a conference on the future of Melbourne’s maritime heritage, it was acknowledged that the domed roof of the Mission to Seafarers is iconic to Melbourne’s port. It is an unmissable beacon to seafarers and landlubbers alike. Docklands News reported:
Maritime heritage links the North Wharf and South Wharf areas. The Shed 5 and Mission to Seafarers on the North Wharf have together served in history and today present unique opportunities to restore the balance back towards preservation of maritime history. The iconic dome structure of the mission building is a notable landmark for seafarers and many visitors daily. The dome and Shed 5 are earmarked for restoration and will become even more noticeable.
“But “, Docklands News asks, ” what if the mission building was not there?” The building, it says, will be preserved as part of the City of Melbourne’s heritage.
“…The vision for Melbourne’s Docklands was developed as a result of an extensive consultation program conducted by VicUrban (now Places Victoria) and the City of Melbourne. The vision recognised and builds on Docklands’ unique qualities and positions it to play a vital part in maintaining and enhancing Melbourne’s role as a global city.”
We who work from these buildings know that the structures themselves, though significant part of the local architecture, are merely the spaces from where the love of God is made apparent in acts of hospitality and the pursuit of justice for all people of the sea. It is for our fellowship and faith that we are remembered and valued by seafarers.