The Mission to Seafarers
||This article appears to be written like an advertisement. (February 2013)|
|Focus||Seafarers' welfare, advocacy, piracy, advocacy, counselling|
|Mission||The Mission to Seafarers offers communications facilities, counselling, and practical support for the globe’s 1.5 million merchant seafarers of all faiths, ranks and nationalities through its ship visitors and seafarers' centres in 260 ports worldwide.|
|Formerly called||The Missions to Seamen|
The Mission to Seafarers (formerly The Missions to Seamen) is a Christian welfare charity serving merchant sailors around the world. It operates in over 260 ports through a global network of chaplains, staff and volunteers to offer practical, emotional and spiritual support to seafarers through ship visits, drop-in centres and a range of welfare and emergency support services.
The Mission to Seafarers is a world missionary agency of the Anglican Communion and offers practical, emotional and spiritual support to the world's 1.5 million merchant seafarers of all ranks, religions and nationalities.
The charity provides its services through the chaplains that it appoints to centres and ports in 71 countries around the world. Chaplains, who are often supported by volunteers, are able to offer practical support with employment issues or personal needs, as well as emotional and spiritual support through counselling. Through its centres and staff, the charity also provides communications facilities, transport services and publishes a bi-monthly news digest for seafarers called The Sea.
The Mission to Seafarers has operations in over 260 ports around the world. In over 120 of these ports, the Mission has seafarers' centres - known as Flying Angel Centres, or Flying Angel Clubs - which offer communications facilities and rest and relaxation areas, and in some cases, accommodation. Sometimes, seafarers' centres are provided in ecumenical partnership with other organisations such as the Apostleship of the Sea. The rest of the charity's presence is made up of part-time or full-time chaplains, who offer on board support services to seafarers.
Its central office is in the church of St Michael Paternoster Royal, College Hill, London EC4R 2RL. This church, founded by Sir Richard Whitington was rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren, and contains carvings by Grinling Gibbons.
The Mission to Seafarers has its roots in the work of Anglican priest, John Ashley who in 1835 was on the shore at Clevedon with his son who asked him how the people on ships in the Bristol Channel could go to church. Recognising the needs of the seafarers on the four hundred sailing vessels in the Bristol Channel, he created the Bristol Channel Mission. He raised funds, and in 1839 a specially designed mission cutter named Eirene was built with a main cabin which could be converted into a chapel for 100 people.
His work inspired similar ministries in the UK, and it was decided in 1856 that these groups should be formally organised under the name The Mission to Seamen Afloat, at Home and Abroad. In 1858, this name was changed to The Missions to Seamen, and the organisation adopted its Flying Angel logo, still in use to this day.
As shipping transitioned from sail to steam methods, there became a need for places for seafarers to go while they were ashore, as ships could now dock at quaysides because they no longer had to anchor at sea waiting for a favourable wind. In response, the Mission gradually opened centres so that the men could be offered light refreshments, reading and games rooms, good cheap accommodation and a chapel. The Mission now operates 121 centres around the world.
- The Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen
- The Marine Society
- Seamen's Church Institute of New York and New Jersey
- Centres for Seafarers
- Trinity House
- Farr, Grahame (1954). Somerset Harbours. London: Christopher Johnson. p. 49.