Our ministry with seafarers is sometimes referred to as a 'Ministry of Being' – just being there for seafarers.
Some weeks ago, our Immingham Port Chaplain Steve Willows met the captain and two crew members of a ship.
It was the captain’s first time off the ship since joining. He had been at sea for about five months. His first words when stepping off the linkspan was “Thank God, I have arrived!”.
He was so excited to come off the ship and to be able to get away for a few hours.
Steve took them to the Seafarers Centre to get some supplies and some lunch. He spent time talking with and listening to them, and they spoke about places in the Philippines where the men were from.
The seafarers then asked if they could go to a local church, so Steve took them to St Mary on the Sea Church, Grimsby.
Steve said, “When we arrived, Benediction was just starting so it was good that they could be there for that. After that I took them back to the ship as they had to set sail later that day. The few hours they had away were much appreciated."
The next day Steve received a message from the captain saying, “Many thanks for the patient sir for us, see your beautiful place. Its worth remembering and wonderful. Wish you all the best.”
Just being there made a difference to those seafarers. Small gestures, but taken together they make a huge difference.