Page 1




Vol. 3, 2017


Publisher JASON ZUIDEMA EDITORS Jason Zuidema and Michael Skaggs CONTRIBUTORS Stefan Franke, Paul Mooney, Michael Skaggs, Jason Zuidema PHOTOGRAPHY Louis Vest, International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network, MTS Seattle, Stefan Franke All photos are copyright NAMMA unless otherwise noted. DESIGN Marie Cuffaro GRAPHICS Austin Schulenburg MARE Project Support MAR

Worldwide Partnership

Opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs of The MARE Report or of NAMMA. Submissions are welcome. Publication is not guaranteed. For guidelines or queries: For other programs of NAMMA or more information on the organization, visit its website at

NAMMA, P.O. Box 460158, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 33346-0158 President REV. MARSH L. DREGE NAMMA exists to provide a network for encouragement, training, and coordination of ministries that serve port communities in North America. THE MARE REPORT © NAMMA 2017 ISSN: 2380-5765 ISBN: 978-0-9905823-3-5 1

FROM THE EDITORS Now in its third year, The MARE Report is an initiative of the North American Maritime Ministry Association in partnership with the Mission to Seafarers and the International Christian Maritime Association (ICMA). NAMMA’s core objectives are to connect, provide opportunities for training, and encourage seafarers’ welfare professionals in North America and with our partners around the world. The MARE Report title (pronounced mar-A) means “the sea” in Latin, the ancient ecumenical language. Though produced in North America, we have designed The MARE Report to reflect conversations happening around the world. The stylized E also acknowledges that we live in an electronic age. Even if you are holding a physical copy in your hands, this magazine represents state-of-the-art printing technology and is produced alongside a wide network of social media. We hope this magazine will be informative and inspire its readers to become more involved in caring for seafarers, fishers and their families. DR. JASON ZUIDEMA, EDITOR

NAMMA, Executive Director


NAMMA, Director of Programs

To keep up-to-date with all our activities and find out how you can be involved in seafarers’ welfare, sign up for NAMMA’s email newsletter at


CONTENTS 4 8 10 14 18 20 24 30 32 34 38


A Collaborative Community: Building Relationships in North American Ports by MICHAEL SKAGGS 2016: NAMMA’s Year in Review Thanking NAMMA Partners




Serving Seafarers by Serving Volunteers An interview with Ken Hawkins, Seattle Mission to Seafarers Cardinal Tagle Inspires Seafarers’ Welfare Leaders A report from the ICMA AHOY Course Maritime Ministry in the Dredging Industry by STEFAN FRANKE Celebrating the Legacy of Ministry in Houston by JASON ZUIDEMA Fatigue in the Work of Seafarers Lessons from the MARTHA Report The Power of Symbols: The Bethel Flag at 200 by PAUL MOONEY Book Reviews New books to help understand seafarers’ welfare Congregation-Port Connections Project partnership with Brandeis University NAMMA Conference 2016 Social isolation at sea CMA SHIPPING 2016 Sexual assault prevention and response seminar ISWAN Photo Competition: Seeing Life in the Maritime World International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network

Collaboration for Success Ship Welfare Visitor Course Online

PHOTO:Louis Vest


Serving Seafarers by Serving Volunteers An interview with Ken Hawkins, Seattle Mission to seafarers

very seafarers’ center knows the joys of seeing volunteers serve mariners: dedicated individuals give of their time and talents to visit ships, transport seafarers, or staff the center. In practical terms, volunteer service helps take some of the pressure off centers’ tight budgets. On the other hand, relying on volunteers can create problems unique to seafarers’ welfare. The invisibility of seafarers to most Westerners extends to potential volunteers, too, which can make recruiting difficult. Cumbersome port security regulations, the need for flexible working conditions, and cultural barriers between volunteers and seafarers can create a true challenge to recruiting volunteers. These factors (and more) merit careful consideration, yet volunteers remain a vital segment of the seafarers’ welfare community.


PHOTO © MTS Seattle


Among the centers most successful in recruiting and retaining volunteers is the Seattle Mission to Seafarers¹, run by Executive Director Ken Hawkins. In 2016 the Mission earned over 20,000 volunteer hours; it comes as no surprise to those who talk with him for any length of time that Ken spent a career in sales before devoting himself to seafarers’ welfare. He puts those talents to use running the Mission’s volunteer programs. I spoke with Ken to pick his brain on what makes his volunteer program successful, what’s unique to his circumstances, and what other centers could adapt for themselves. Ken says that when it comes to the volunteer program, he sees his job as serving volunteers by connecting them with the things they want to do. “They want to contribute in a meaningful way”; the Mission can better serve seafarers by making sure volunteers are able to use their individual skills and talents. Volunteers at the Seattle Mission serve in three general capacities. One group transports seafarers, which offers both drivers and seafarers an opportunity for conversation with someone often different from themselves. As NAMMA President Marsh Drege has observed, those stretches of time in seafarers’ center vans can also witness sublime but intense moments of human interaction: the casual setting can help seafarers relax and speak freely about their concerns. Another group does ship visiting, a more hands-on ministry. A third group crafts and stuffs ditty bags; this is a diverse group, including many who will never step foot in the seafarers’ center itself. As one volunteer put it in a TV news feature, “nobody ever thinks of these people, so this is a nice way to say thank you to those people that we don’t really know.”² Generating contributions from people who rarely (if ever) come to the center is one of Ken’s signature accomplishments. Yet it’s one he insists any other center can achieve. “I like to tell stories,” he said, “and different stories appeal to different audiences.” Sometimes he visits congregations, even preaching, and tells stories about individual seafarers he has met or offers a general explanation of what the Mission does day in and day out. One of his favorite ways to connect with audiences is to adapt the parable of the sheep and the goats from Matthew 25: “I was hungry, and you bought me a burger; I was thirsty, and you gave me a soda; I was a stranger far away from home, and you welcomed me to your center; I needed a hat and you gave me a ditty bag; I was sick and you took me to the drugstore; I was a prisoner, fifty feet from shore but without a visa, and you brought wifi on board so I could Skype home with my 2-year-old daughter.” This adaptation speaks both about seafarers in need as well as how we in maritime ministry see seafarers: they are Christ in our midst and as St. Matthew wrote, “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” Telling stories is just one of the things Ken does within a broader program of outreach. He has targeted dozens of churches, mostly visiting Episcopal congregations but also a growing number of Catholic and Lutheran parishes. These local faith communities are key to the effort, he says, and provide the core of the Mission’s volunteers. He’s on the road - a lot – speaking about the Mission to Seafarers and the mariners it serves. “You have to follow up with congregations you visit,” he advised, “or else they might forget about you.” That’s not a commentary on the congregations, though. There are many worthy causes that need support, and congregants are asked to help a great many organizations. Ken devotes his initial visits to explaining what it is the mission

does; when he comes back, he tells volunteers how they can get engaged. In his visits to parishes, congregations, and civic organizations, Ken brings to life the joys of seafarers’ ministry and the challenges of seafarers’ lives for the people there - and he goes back again and again. He attributes the Seattle Mission’s volunteer success to this persistence and knack for storytelling, especially as it helps grow the number of volunteers who sew ditty bags or knit watch caps. Following up accomplishes more than just keeping the Mission on congregants’ minds: it lets Ken show those groups how they’ve helped in the past, making their contributions of time, talent, and treasure real. If we think of storytelling as the tactic of recruiting volunteers and other support, then we can use Ken’s baseball metaphor as the overall strategy: “focus on bunting or hitting singles, rather than swinging for the fence every time,” he explains. Ambitious goals are important, of course, and every center dreams of the congregation or other benefactor that will send a budget-saving check or a well-coordinated team of volunteers. But getting a commitment that a knitting group will craft 50 watch chaps, or sew 25 ditty bags, is important, too - and much more achievable on a regular basis. One congregation, or civic club, or school may be unable to fill the van driver roster for an entire month, but they might be able to

Generating contributions from people who rarely (if ever) come to the center is one of Ken’s signature accomplishments. Yet it’s one that he insists any other center can achieve. contribute one or two volunteers who can drive three days a week. A key challenge, Ken says, is the high turnover facing all volunteer organizations. A lot of this has to do with age: older adults tend to have much more time to volunteer than younger people, but health concerns, family commitments, and other life changes can see the volunteer roster changing frequently. With that high turnover comes a need to train constantly, which takes resources away from other important aspects of the Mission’s day-to-day operations. Related to the high turnover of older volunteers is the challenge of recruiting younger people. Part of that difficulty is a product of American history. Americans are less involved in service organizations than ever, part of a long trend since the last third of the twentieth century: while they may belong to various associations, their participation increasingly takes the form of being on a mail-

¹ The Seattle Mission to Seafarers is the Episcopalian component of the Seattle Seafarers Center, in partnership with Roman Catholic and Lutheran seafarers’ welfare organizations. The three groups overlap in their work and do so gladly. While the Mission to Seafarers draws most of the Center’s local volunteers, area Catholic and Lutheran churches are sending more and more volunteers as the Mission’s model catches on. ² Ted Land, “Seattle mission serves foreign ship crews who cannot come ashore,” KING5 News, December 28, 2016.



is most unique: by viewing the volunteer program as a system of serving those who want to contribute, of connecting their talents with real needs, the Mission ultimately serves seafarers, too. Ken has mastered the art of helping people identify what interests them and how they might want to help. As simple as that sounds, it’s quite radical, as it divides a center’s operations into two distinct segments. Rather than an administration relying on volunteers as non-paid labor in the mission of serving seafarers, treating a volunteer program as a separate service of the mission, one that connects generous women and men with service needs that match their talents, ultimately serves both the seafarers and volunteers

³ Robert Putnam, “Bowling Alone: America’s Declining Social Capital,” Journal of Democracy 6:1 (1995): 69-71. Fifteen years later, Putnam and Thomas Sander observed that not even a national crisis like the 9/11 terrorist attacks was sufficient to inspire sustained voluntarism, especially among youth. Sander and Putnam, “Still Bowling Alone? The Post-9/11 Split,” Journal of Democracy 21:1 (2010): 12-16. ⁴Purgatorio 15: 73-75; Teodolinda Barolini, “Divine Multiplication,” Commento Baroliniano, Digital Dante. (New York, NY: Columbia University Libraries, 2017), https://

PHOTO © MTS Seattle

ing list in exchange for financial contributions, rather than direct service.³ Paradoxically, even as fewer young people give of their time, the outlets for those contributions have multiplied. In short, it’s hard to attract a younger generation on both the supply and the demand sides. Another challenge of coordinating volunteers is safety and security regulations within the port. Navigating that environment, both literally and figuratively, introduces yet more moving parts as regulations and port administrations change. Even without high turnover, however, volunteers are (by definition) not professionals, which introduces another layer of complexity when addressing the requirements of moving about the port. With the addition of the US Coast Guard, environmental advocacy groups, and other stakeholders, making sure that volunteers can contribute without violating the many necessary (but sometimes overlapping) regulations can be challenging. In the end, these challenges are far outweighed by the benefits that volunteers confer on the seafarers’ center and the rewards of seeing them serve mariners. It’s in Ken’s interactions with volunteers and the Mission’s approach to them that the Seattle example

PHOTO © MTS Seattle

Volunteers packing ditty bags

more effectively. It’s a subtle difference but an important one. In The Divine Comedy, one of the most significant pieces of Western literature, the pilgrim Dante cannot fathom how dividing something amongst more people can make that thing grow. Virgil, his guide, instructs Dante that God’s gifts work according to divine multiplication rather than earthly division: “And when there are more souls…who love, there’s more to love well there, and they love more, and, mirror-like, each soul reflects the other.”⁴ That same principle is at work in Seattle. Serving volunteers doesn’t take away from serving seafarers. Quite the opposite: it makes the Lord even more manifest in caring for the people of the sea. MS You can watch Ken’s brief talk on transforming how we see volunteers at kenhawkinsvolunteers. 7






t was a great honour for the participants of the ICMA AHOY course in September 2016 to welcome Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, Archbishop of Manila and President of Caritas International, to speak about the importance of ecumenism in the work of seafarers’ welfare. The speech was a high point in a week full of insight about the joys and challenges of Filipino seafarers worldwide. Cardinal Tagle is one of the most recognizable and admired Catholic leaders today; it is with immense pride that Filipino Catholics claim him as their own. Dressed in a simple barong and wooden cross, speaking as a Filipino and with a deep knowledge of the plight of migrants and refugees around the world, he is well-placed to encourage work among Filipino seafarers. Tagle inspired his audience from start to finish. The energizing opening line brought home the reason AHOY attendees and ICMA had gathered together: “Jesus prayed for unity. ICMA is already an answer to Jesus’ prayer in the maritime world.” Tagle situated his remarks by exploring the connection between movement and vulnerability in our world. All of life is on the move, he said, and being on the move creates an occasion for vulnerability. But living in vulnerability is not in itself an evil: God himself chose to become a creature and acts in that space of vulnerability. His mercy, love, and caring extend to the alien, the foreigner, the widow, and the orphan. He calls the Church

to be in that space of vulnerability as well. The sad reality, however, is that only compassion and mercy should fill that space, but all too often manipulation and exploitation take over. The unhappy truth is that those who are most vulnerable in this life on the move face exploitation rather than righteous compassion. The Gospel calls us to fill that space of vulnerability with hospitality, not hostility. This calling is not just for some Christians, but encourages all Christians in a truly ecumenical spirit to uplift and heal people that are on the move. Cardinal Tagle remarked that his experience of care for the vulnerable leads to four practical suggestions for ecumenical work among seafarers: First, we can continually recognize what we have in common, namely humanity: God created us all. Problems for the vulnerable begin when we view these brothers and sisters as less than human, a commodity to buy and sell. Second, we can affirm our shared Christian treasurers like prayer and Scripture. Given by the Father through the Holy Spirit, these gifts are resources for handling our real diversity. Though we continue to have differences of opinion on church and sacraments—and should discuss them!—we can nonetheless share treasurers together. Third, ecumenism involves radical conversion: we must eliminate biases and listen to others with humility. Dialogue with oth-

ers requires not just listening to the facts of the other’s beliefs, but trying to learn from them with appreciation. Above all we need to avoid the kind of proselytism that offers aid to the vulnerable on condition that they join our cause. Finally, Tagle noted that we can participate in practical ecumenism, working together to restore the dignity of those who have had their humanity stolen from them. He suggested that, when working with Filipinos and other overseas foreign workers, we might encourage recovering lost humanity through cultural expressions like music and singing. Tagle shared several stories of joy and humanity; his unmistakable love for migrants, refugees, and all those on the move made his message compelling. He seemed to enjoy genuinely learning about the work of ICMA, staying behind to take many selfies with attendees. The work of seafarers’ welfare received an enormous boost of energy from Cardinal Tagle’s address, which we found all the more revitalizing by hearing it in the pulsing heart of the global seafarers’ community. JZ


Maritime ministry in the dredging industry by Stefan Francke


C O N T I N U E D O N PAG E 1 2

If the mountain won’t come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain. Francis Bacon, "Of Boldness"



redging has a special place in the maritime world. Dredging vessels do not transport cargo, containers or persons from A to B. Dredgers do deepen ports, dig out channels and reclaim land. When in port they stay alongside as briefly as possible, meaning that dredging crews often cannot avail themselves of most services that seafarers’ centers offer. Port-based ministry, then, cannot serve these crews. Francis Bacon wrote that “if the mountain won’t come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain.”¹ The Stichting Pastoraat Werkers Overzee (“foundation providing pastoral care to workers in dredging and marine construction”) started more than 50 years ago to “go to the mountain” in ministry by tending to dredging crews’ needs. I am the SPWO’s fifth pastor/chaplain, traveling around the world to visit projects and people. A board governs my foundation, with representatives from different churches, companies and the Dutch Association of Dredging and Marine Construction. Donations from industry fund my pastoral work. Despite the advance of secularization in Dutch society, the industry prefers to maintain its own “dredging pastor,” who doesn’t work as a religious counselor per se. Instead, the challenge for me is to serve as a confidant to everyone. I can talk about religion if a seafarer wants to, but I rarely initiate such discussions. Our foundation has a pastoral mission, embracing not proselytization but spiritual caregiving. The SPWO joined ICMA early on; the Protestant Church in The Netherlands (PKN) ordained me. I occupy a unique position in maritime ministry! Four Dutch or Belgian companies dominate the global dredging industry, with the Chinese State Dredging Company fast approaching them. Contracts can vary from creating new ports to simple maintenance on existing ports. The equipment and vessels used in dredging varies; I visit trailer suction hopper dredgers, as well as


cutter suction dredgers, backhoes and other equipment. The former vessels sail, while the crews of the latter stay in accommodations onshore. Dredging companies also work in offshore wind energy, cable laying and other activities. On most vessels, a 12-hour watch rotation structures the work day. Dredging crews tend to enjoy good work lives. Companies compensate crews well and provide good onshore provisions most of the time. Dredging crews also benefit from good leave schedules. In return they work long hours on a job requiring strong focus and well-developed skills. My pastoral work does not operate from a seafarers’ center. I travel to different (mostly Dutch) projects, where dredging crews host me as a guest. I sleep on the vessels or in a hotel. I also visit personnel at reclamation areas and offices. Most of my work consists of conversation, usually small talk but sometimes going deeper into personal issues or interests. I meet crew members of many different nationalities. I organize prayer meetings on vessels and sometimes at the offices. Most of the time, my services are attended only by Filipino crewmembers. For them, faith is a part of the public space. Most Westerners, on the other hand, experience faith in private. One beautiful part of my work is that I have plenty of time to talk and give attention to almost everyone. Crews accept me fully. One reason dredging companies support my ministry is that I am available for emergency response, with trauma training from a Dutch military chaplaincy. While the number of accidents and other crises have decreased considerably over the years, the dredging industry is still dangerous. In the case of a fatality, I try to organize a memorial, in which I attempt to include everyone regardless of their ¹ Francis Bacon, “Of Boldness,” in The Essays or Counsels, Civil and Moral, 1625.

religion or worldview. Companies appreciate my service because throughout my work I monitor the “happiness thermometer” in their workplace in ways that are not seen as intrusive or controlling. The dredging industry, like most others, suffered after the 2008 economic collapse. Although the world economy is recovering, dredging will benefit from that recovery only later. Because oil and gas prices are still low, many oil producing countries that had lots of money to invest heavily in dredging projects previously remain conservative with new projects. Overall this means there are fewer projects for me to visit. This slowdown allows

me to focus on smaller projects closer to home and devote more time to teaching and guest lecturing on the lives of seafarers. After serving in congregations for more than 17 years, it is fascinating to work in the midst of this highly technological world. It is good to get very close to homo laborans, the human at work, which suggests new theological questions to me. The world of dredging seems imbued with a very positive spirit, with workers relying on such slogans as “never say never” or “it will always turn out right.” With that attitude, it is easy to see the activity of the Holy Spirit, which blows wherever It pleases. X

Drs. Stefan Francke is the son of a captain. He studied theology and philosophy in Kampen, Amsterdam and in Toronto. He served two congregations before becoming pastor for the Stichting Pastoraat Werkers Overzee in 2012.


Ceremony to dedicate the new Houston International Seafarers' Center in 1973

The Earth is the Lord’s A Meditation to Celebrate the Legacy of Ministry in Port Houston

This sermon was preached on February 21, 2017 during an ecumenical prayer service in the chapel of the Houston International Seafarers’ Center.


At 8 p.m. on Monday, January 22, 1973, participants gathered for worship in this building to dedicate this chapel at the Houston International Seamen’s Center. It was a long time coming. A decade earlier a Belgian sea captain started to dream of a seafarers’ centre. He found a few partners for the work and proposed a modest structure in 1965, but the idea did not easily become reality. The Port had made an extraordinary piece of land available (valued at $250,000 in 1970 – over $1.5 million in 2017) but funding for the building and other structures was not readily available. It was a hard sell to raise funds for a humanitarian organization that the good people of Houston would not readily see. How to stir the passions? How to get people interested and wallets open? Even as it is today, the Port of Houston was out of the way, not on the beaten path of normal life in Houston. The wind in the sails came from two places: The main part of funding came from the incredible generosity of Howard T. Tellepsen of the Tellepsen Construction Company. Tellepsen’s company had served on many major construction projects around the port and the city. A committed Episcopalian, Tellepsen was chairman of the Port Commissioners at the time and felt moved

to donate more than $1 million in material and construction time from his company to build the facility. For good reason, then, this building was renamed the Howard T. Tellepsen Seafarers’ Center in May 2006. The remaining funding came when a committee of clergy added their support to the project, most notably the trio of Rev. Taft Lyon, a Presbyterian; Rev. Sam Duree, a United Methodist; and Fr. Rivers Patout, a Catholic. They brought with them the power of the collection plate: funds were raised from a number of church partners to help bring in an additional $100,000 to build a state-of-the-art facility, including a chapel that could be rearranged for the worship needs of any of the denominational partners. The vision was amazing, including a madeto-measure seafarers’ welfare building complemented by a pool, a soccer field and basketball and tennis courts. A ground-breaking ceremony took place on April 15, 1970, but there was money to raise and work to be done before the building was finally complete at the end of 1972. Unlike most other seafarers’ welfare facilities, this center ended up being a partnership not only between port community and church, but between many members of the port community and many churches. From the beginning, there was no single preferred church partner, under which all others gained access, but rather an intricate network of partnerships. Among other things, that all denominations were represented equally was novel and became influential for the

development of a number of other modern seafarers’ welfare organizations. The center was officially opened in an outdoor ceremony on a surprisingly beautiful January day in 1973. Nearly a thousand people showed up, including representatives from industry, labor, cultural communities, and many denominations. Delegates from Argentina, Belgium, Germany, Great Britain, China, France, Costa Rica, Italy, Guatemala, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, South Africa, Venezuela, Korea and Paraguay were present. The Austin senior high school band provided the music and a group of six “charming majorettes” in mini-skirts “helped liven the occasion with their baton twirling.” A four-page special report was part of the next issue of the glossy Port of Houston magazine to announce the opening of the “Friendly Home Away from Home.” Houston’s five-term mayor Louie Welch declared the week of January 22nd to be “International Seamen’s Center Week.” He had sent his administrative assistant, Eddie Corral, to read a handsome letter for the occasion that urged “all Houstonians to visit their Port and this great new Center and rejoice with us in offering seamen from overseas a true home away from home, full of the friendliness and hospitality for which our City and State are noted.” Indeed, as the special report ends, the “Houston Seamen’s Center is no longer ‘on the way.’ It is here! But it is up to interested Houstonians and, particularly, those allied to the maritime field, to see that this finest Seamen’s Center in the world is kept

alive and running.” Not reported in the port magazine was that, besides that big open-air celebration, the different denominational leaders gathered to give thanks in a worship service as well. It was that Monday, January 22, and featured church leaders who were integral for finding support and a number of chaplains who had begun to visit ships. The cross-section of chaplains was amazing for the time: a Methodist, an Episcopalian, several kinds of Lutherans and Presbyterians, a Greek Orthodox, and several Catholics. A standing committee of chaplains from this diverse a group working side-by-side would have been unthinkable only a few years previous. It became possible out of the confluence of cultures in a melting pot like Houston, the progress in ecumenical relationships throughout the twentieth century in the World Council of Churches and especially after the Second Vatican Council, but also, I would like to think, particularly an excitement that the shared words of the Christian faith might excite a common vision for service to other humans in need. The bulletin for the liturgy includes the concluding note for all gathered: “We sincerely hope that you will find time, and a way, to serve with us in this ministry to the men and women who sail the oceans of our Creator’s World.” During that service Scripture was read, hymns sung, and the Gospel lesson shared by the Rt. Rev. John L. Morkovsky, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Galveston-Houston: he read Matthew 25:31-46. Afterward, Rev. Taft Lyon, a Presbyterian,


preached the sermon under the title, “The Earth is The Lord’s.” Unfortunately, we don’t have the text of the sermon, but I am going to surmise he said something like this: Brothers and sisters in Christ, we are gathered here today to thank our Lord for allowing us to build this magnificent facility for the benefit of seafarers. We stand amazed to see all those who have contributed to the project and the great diversity of people gathered here today. We are committed to an ecumenical ministry that serves all the people of the sea. We come today to celebrate all the work that was done to build this center, but we realize our work has only begun. Though it has taken already many years of labor to reach this point, we will soon realize that building the structure was the easy part of our journey. Now we have to be faithful in the daily work of service to seafarers. What will motivate us? How will we remain focused on our main goal? We find that motivation in our text this evening. In this text Jesus helps us see the end of things. The whole of Matthew 25 16

is concerned with being faithful, being ready. We could read the parable of the ten virgins, in verses 1-13, to remind us that in our chaplaincy work we must be ready to respond, ready to provide the best possible care we can in any situation. We could read the parable of the talents

of gold, in verses 14-28, to remind us that we are servants of God, entrusted with all we have to be of service in his Kingdom. No doubt, we should remember that this space is entrusted to us, to use in service to others. And then we come to verses 31-46, the

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, we are gathered here today to thank our Lord for allowing us to build this magnificent facility for the benefit of seafarers. We stand amazed to see all those who have contributed to the project and the great diversity of people gathered here today. We are committed to an ecumenical ministry that serves all the people of the sea.

story of the sheep and the goats. It is actually a difficult story – a story of judgment and punishment. What can we possibly gain from reading this? In my view, it is the change in perspective, a Kingdom perspective, one that casts a vision for our work. It would seem both the righteous and the unrighteous in the story did not know how to think about feeding the hungry, giving the thirsty a drink, making a place of welcome for a stranger, clothing the naked, helping the sick, visiting the prisoner. The righteous were doing all these things, but perhaps it was out of a sense of obligation or ritual. They did do them, but were surprised to hear how essential that work was. And the King said, no, these things are not add-ons to the Kingdom, but “whatever you did for the one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Even the righteous needed to learn this lesson. And our motivation: Kingdom work is found among the “least of ” even today. Open your eyes. Look. Where are they found? They are all around us, and one group that wasn’t being taken care of is seafarers. Far from home, far from the family they love. Many have lonely lives, many spend the majority of their adult lives traveling the world’s oceans to make money for the betterment of their families. We are called by Jesus’ teaching to keep our eyes open. Our work here is not only to be happy that we built a nice building and that we had a big crowd of beautiful people show up for the opening day. Rather, our joy should come because God is found here. Our service to seafarers is a service to our King. Viewed another way: we have had and will have to work hard to attract the attention of our fellow Houstonians. The port is not a beautiful place; it is far from the more civilized parts of our city. So why do we come today and come back tomorrow? It is not natural for us to be here – we will become tired of this work if we view it with the world’s eyes. We come here because service to God is not only found somewhere else in this city, but because we find service of God here, especially in small acts of kindness to people whom the world has forgotten. We can be excited that God is the God of the land and the sea: the Earth is the Lord’s. Let us serve him wherever the stranger, the hungry, the lonely are found. These words – or something like them – might have been preached by chaplain Lyon that day. What a wonderful legacy of service over almost 45 years. We stand in a place that was once proudly dedicated,

and soon will be demolished – dust to dust. But the work will continue. What will motivate us to continue the legacy of this place, indeed, of every seafarers’ center around the world? Like those gathered here in 1973, we can be inspired by the text chosen from Matthew 25. The Earth is the Lord’s. Amen. JZ




ntermanager made available recently findings from a major new study on seafarer fatigue. The TK Foundation sponsored the $3 million project over a three year period ending in 2016. An international group of leading maritime researchers supervised the project, named MARTHA, incorporating data from seafarers of two European ship managers as well as two Chinese state-run companies that operate bulk carriers and tankers. The project asked participating seafarers to fill out questionnaires, complete daily diaries, and wear activity monitoring ‘Actiwatches’ for two week periods at the beginning and end of their contracts. As a successor to Project HORIZON, which identified concerns with the 6 on / 6 off shift pattern, Project MARTHA sought to explore deeply the levels of sleepiness and psychosocial issues associated with long term fatigue and motivation. The report is especially timely as “ships crews are under increasing pressure from competitive voyage schedules and have to handle their tasks with fewer crew members.”¹ Intermanager’s results point to many different effects of fatigue, including irritability, slow response times, poor concentration, and insomnia. The report makes clear that incidents of homesickness are more serious when seafarers are fatigued. The chronic health effects of fatigue are many, compounded by poor nutrition, seden-

¹ InterManager, "Project MARTHA: The Final Report," 5.


tary work, and the use of intoxicants. Both sleepiness and fatigue, says the report, should be taken seriously by seafarers and managers, as both problems have safety and long-term physical and mental health implications. Researchers found that officers sleep slightly less than ratings, suffer a lower quality of sleep, and have a higher level of stress. Captains, particularly at the end of their contracts, reported high rates of fatigue. The study also noted the difference in perceptions about the effects of sleep between Chinese and European seafarers, with Chinese seafarers reporting less quality sleep and more stress. Some of the factors that increased both fatigue and sleepiness included new regulations, more frequent inspections, poor condition of ship accommodations, lack of proper maintenance, too much work in port, and difficulties in work relationships. The Actiwatches confirmed with hard data what seafarers reported on questionnaires and in interviews: the amount and quality of sleep decreases over the course of a contract for all crew members. As sleep decreased and pressure increased over time, researchers observed the manifestation of a key negative symptom: reduced motivation. The report notes that “reduced motivation may lead to complacency, individuals taking short cuts and ‘work arounds’ and not following the correct procedures.” Project MARTHA’s results point to improvements that could be made in three areas: vessel design and living environment conditions (e.g., noise and vibration mitigation, bedding, and exercise facilities), working conditions (such as safe manning levels, adequate high-quality food, hours of rest, and attention to problems of harassment and bullying), and operational issues (e.g., reduced paperwork, less frequent inspections, and longer recovery times). Many of the research partners will continue to delve more deeply into the data and disseminate the project’s findings. This is an opportune study, one that should attract the attention of shipping management and any other group that cares for the safety and welfare of crews. JZ

Download the full report here:


The Power of Symbols: The Bethel Flag at



by Paul Mooney

rigin stories are notoriously unreliable. Maritime mission, though, enjoys a degree of certainty, with a definitive incident marking our beginnings two centuries ago. The moment followed a worship service at the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Silver Street, Rotherhithe, in the summer of 1814. Zebedee Rogers, a shoemaker and congregant, approached Captain David Simpson, who had been moved to tears during the service. Simpson invited Rogers to visit his ship, where Rogers led a prayer service. Outreach to seafarers had begun in the previous quarter century with the work of the Bible societies and philanthropists, but it was through Rogers that the Christian church in an emerging industrial society built a conscious and lasting connection to the maritime world.

The Thames Revival began that summer of 1814, involving regular ship visits and prayer meetings both on board ships and at Rogers's own chapel in Silver Street. A timber merchant built a schoolroom nearby where seafarers could attend additional prayer meetings. The Revival enjoyed immediate and sustained success. In late 1816 Anthony Wilkins, first mate and later captain on ships bringing coal from the northeast, suggested putting out a lantern to signal that a ship was hosting a prayer meeting. The lanterns proved to be effective in publicizing the Revival’s activities. Yet in early industrial Britain, a signal lantern worked only part of the year: by spring 1817, daylight hung on long enough that the lanterns were not visible. Rogers, who initiated the whole movement, had a solution. He saw in his mind’s eye a flag with the word “Bethel” on it for ships to fly to indicate a prayer meeting.¹ Rogers asked his sister the meaning of the word he had envisaged; she thought it meant “house of God.” She later sewed the first Bethel flag, using materials Anthony Wilkins purchased through fundraising and cloth letters cut by Peter Hunt, a seafarer on one of Wilkins’s ships. The Bethel flag first flew Sunday 23rd March 1817 on the Zephyr. Very soon the Bethel emblem became synonymous with the fledgling maritime mission movement. Some, misunderstanding the movement as one of radicalization, were wary at the sight of the flag. But the movement was well underway, and the flag was an important component of it. Flags have strong symbolic power – especially on ships – and draw out deeper meaning and emotional attachment. In fact, the movement’s defenders felt compelled to explain that the Bethel flag was a signal rather than an identifying flag, which carries a highly specialized definition. The flag’s design did not remain the same for long. In the summer of 1817, Wilkins added two ancient symbols: a star and a dove with an olive branch. Roald Kverndal relates that the star represents Bethlehem and the incarnation, while the dove and olive branch represent both the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and the end of the deluge, symbolizing safety, salvation and the end of chaos. Those symbols have remained powerful. The flag played a significant part in many other segments of maritime ministry. The maritime mission societies established in the Scandinavian countries in the mid-nineteenth century used various elements from the flag in their own emblems. Local maritime mission establishments were often called Bethels; “Bethel captains” and “Bethel men” would become terms to describe those who organized on-board prayer meetings. An 1844 illustration of the Episcopal Church’s first floating church, the Church of Our Saviour for Seamen in New York, shows the

Church flying a type of Bethel flag from its steeple. The current Sailors’ Society logo retains the star and dove with olive branch. The flag, and the word Bethel itself, thus cannot be claimed as the exclusive heritage of any particular organization. A number of seafarers’ centres are still called Bethels and the Bethel flag flies in a few locations. There have been efforts in recent decades to revive the use of the Bethel flag more broadly. Other seafarers’ welfare organizations have designed their own imagery. The Missions to Seamen in the mid-nineteenth century (today the Mission to Seafarers) adopted the Flying Angel as a potent symbol. The wife of William Henry Giles Kingston, along with his sister, designed the Flying Angel banner in 1856, drawing on the angel in Revelation 14.6 bringing the good news to every nation. The flying angel remains the symbol of the Mission to Seafarers. The Apostleship of the Sea also appeared in the nineteenth century, although it was not until the 1920s that it became the major organization it is today. As a specifically Roman Catholic organization in that era, it was not inclined to take the Bethel flag as inspiration for its symbol; however, the Apostleship did look to early Christian symbolism and the maritime life in creating its logo. One of the organization’s main boosters, Arthur Gannon, asked colleague Peter Anson to design an emblem.² Anson’s design features a heart at the center, representing the Sacred Heart of Jesus and echoing the symbol of the Apostleship of Prayer from which the Apostleship of the Sea arose. Around this heart is a life-belt, representing its members’ charity. Both symbols rest on the anchor of hope. In the ¹ Roald Kverndal, Seamen’s Missions: Their Origin and Early Growth (Pasadena, CA: Carey Library, 1986); Kverndal, The Way of the Sea (Pasadena, CA: Carey Library, 2008). ² Vincent A. Yzermans, American Catholic Seafarers’ Church (1992).


course of the twentieth century, many of the Christian societies and associations engaged in maritime ministry have adopted logos and emblems that incorporate cross and anchor motifs. ICOSA, the precursor of NAMMA, also used an anchor and life-belt design. Paul Tillich reminds us of the power of symbols and that a symbol can lose its meaning and power for an individual or a culture, effectively dying.³ Likewise, symbols can evolve, and that may explain our constant need to develop and transform symbols. The Bethel flag was a historically powerful symbol, and it remains in use in some places. How can the Bethel flag and the inspiration of the movement it symbolized find their place in the digital age amidst all the disruption that has again and again changed the face of maritime ministry? Perhaps the spirit of the Bethel movement is needed more than ever. The Bethel movement, the Mission to Seafarers and the Apostleship of the Sea all started with a deep desire to bring prayer and the worship of God into the midst of seafarers’ lives, identified by vibrant, powerful symbols. Maritime ministry delivers on that desire today, helping unite seafarers and those who minister to them by praying together in our various tongues, whether on land or at sea. X ³ Paul Tillich, Theology and Culture (1964).

Dr. Paul Mooney received his doctorate for a thesis on maritime ministry from the Faculty of Protestant Theology in Brussels, Belgium and has served as port chaplain in Korea, Belgium and Ireland.



PHOTO: Louis Vest



The MARE Report surveys eight books that help understand seafarers’ welfare by Jason Zuidema

The past few years have provided plenty of great reading to help understand chaplaincy and maritime ministry. We offer here a selection of reviews on works that MARE Report readers may find interesting and useful in their service to seafarers:

CHRISTIAN BUCHET, ED. THE SEA IN HISTORY. 4 VOLS. WOODBRIDGE, UK: BOYDELL & BREWER, 2017. The Sea in History is a substantial 4-volume collection of essays on the maritime history of the world. It is not a single history, but rather a collaboration of 260 researchers from 40 countries to study all activities linked with maritime pursuits, whether on shore, on riverbanks or even on inland waterways. The volumes were gathered at the behest of Océanides, an international research association that seeks to understand the importance of oceans for our political, economic and social life. Introductions and conclusions are given in both English and French, but the individual articles are in one or the other language with a summary in both languages. In his general introduction, editor Christian Buchet, professor at the Institut Français de la Mer, notes that the book’s aim is to chart how the “sea is the differentiating factor in the overall development of populations.” (I.xxi). The book does so not only through chapters by Western historians working in known historical categories, but also with a much wider range of researchers. At the end of his introduction he claims that “the sea is evidently the catalyst of our future.” (I.xxiii). His general conclusion, included at the end of each volume, argues that “engaging in maritime activities, anywhere and in any age, is the single most powerful impetus to 24

create a positive impact on historical trajectories. This is so because the sea acts as (1) the accelerator of political and economic development; (2) the driver of predominance and expansion; (3) the driver of History.” (I.679) By “driver of History,” Buchet means that major geopolitical shifts heretofore described by what happened on land can be understood much more readily by focusing on the seas that connect us. The four volumes are divided between ancient, medieval, early modern and modern history. Each chapter is penned by a different author and can be read independently. Each volume does, however, have a longer conclusion that tries to synthesize the ideas presented across its chapters.


he first volume, on the Ancient world, is edited by Philip De Souza and Pascal Arnaud and covers examples of maritime in prehistory, the Ancient Near East, the Far East and, especially, the Mediterranean. Topics range from watercraft in third-millennium Southern Mesopotamia to the consumption of salted fish in the Roman Empire. Chantal Reynier’s essay is of particular interest to maritime ministry, as she charts the sea as the vector for the expansion of Christianity in the first century. She focuses especially on the Apostle Paul, arguing that maritime travel played a decisive role in the diffusion of the Christian message beyond the Roman world in the following centuries. Her brief treatment of the expansion of Christianity in the earliest centuries also towards East Asia evidences the importance of maritime trade routes. The second volume, edited by Michel Balard, treats the medieval world; the third, edited by Buchet and Gérard le Bouëdec, covers early modern history. An important topic charted in both volumes is the change from Mediterranean to trans-Atlantic trade. In his article on the Atlantic maritime trade between 1492 and 1815, David Hancock

writes that as trade increased across the Ocean over several centuries, so, too, did the infrastructure and techniques to organize it and make it more efficient. In the earlier period, Atlantic trade was “an accumulation of separate opportunistic, imperialistic forays”; by the nineteenth century, “it was markedly different, with traders viewing the ocean as a coherent economic space, its parts related to each other” (III.29). The fourth volume, edited by N.A.M. Rodger, treats the modern world. A number of important essays treat naval history and advances during nineteenth and twentieth century conflicts. An especially relevant essay by Alastair Couper charts the concepts, technology and legal developments affecting maritime labor (IV.353-363). Another pair of essays are instructive on the evolution of China and India in relation to the sea. James Goldrick’s essay on India, for example, helps explain how Indian governments became aware of the risks of not controlling the Indian Ocean in the 1970s, yet did not come to enjoy any power over it until after economic reforms in the early 1990s. Rodger, in his editorial conclusion to the volume, highlights this reality: “It is so easy to demonstrate the advantages of access to the sea, that it is easy to overlook the fact that not all countries and societies have understood them.” (IV.733). Many of the contours of the history of the sea in the modern era can be traced to those who have successfully exploited their access to the sea, in both peace and war. The four volumes of The Sea in History are encyclopedic in scale. Anyone who wishes to do advanced study on seafarers’ welfare or related topics in any historical period can find context for their work here. Buchet and his team of editors and authors are to be commended for their monumental work. We hope that it will indeed help others understand the importance of the sea for our common future.

WINNIFRED FALLERS SULLIVAN, A MINISTRY OF PRESENCE: CHAPLAINCY, SPIRITUAL CARE, AND THE LAW. CHICAGO, IL: UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO PRESS, 2014. This is an important book about chaplaincy, especially as practiced in the United States. The book can be read profitably by anyone thinking deeply about the role of chaplaincy in other countries; it should be read by anyone teaching chaplaincy and spiritual care. Winnifred Sullivan, a well-known scholar at the intersection of religion and law, delivers with A Ministry of Presence another study that engages not only the most important discussions in the theory of chaplaincy and the law but also the relationship between theory and practice. In fact, Sullivan elucidates the essential juxtaposition between theory and practice in contemporary American chaplaincy—a revelation that makes this book an essential read. In five compact chapters, Sullivan charts religion as considered by US law, relationships among different types of chaplaincy and law, the credentialing of chaplains, constitutional challenges to chaplaincy, and the emerging narrative of the ministry of presence to define chaplaincy—all an attempt to make it fit within the American legal framework. Although the work is largely descriptive of the present situation, Sullivan’s work might also chart a path for chaplaincy to fit better into contemporary American public life in the future. The author notes that chaplaincy in general has recently undergone a significant shift: “While in the past chaplains were mostly religious specialists legally detailed from a particular church to a particular setting in order to provide necessary, even mandatory, religious services specific to a particular religious tradition … the role has been transformed in the last several decades in the United States and elsewhere” (173). The transformation has happened both out of obligation and out of choice, with chaplains prohibited from proselytization either outright by law or informally by cultural circumstances; instead, chaplains embrace and practice a ministry of presence (174). Sullivan traces some of the most important cases in this narrative, covering especially chaplaincies in the military and in health care. She deftly handles the examples of FFRF v. Nicholson (2008) and Katcoff v. Marsh (1984). Among the book’s many commendable explorations, two will spark fruitful discussion:

the multivalent uses of the term ministry of presence and how legal requirements are reflected in practice. Presence has become a useful term in the transformation of chaplaincy, especially because of a distinction between formal religion and spiritual care. Through ministry of presence, chaplains focus on serving “the human person in a very basic, almost naïvely precultural, way” (173). Spiritual presence is not about formal religion but, it is claimed, about something much more fundamental. Presence, then, is not subject to the normal objections that chaplaincy violates the separation of church and state. As Sullivan writes, the practice of a ministry of presence is a minimalistic, almost ephemeral, form of empathic spiritual care that is, at the same time, deeply rooted in religious histories and suffused with religious references for those who can read them. It is a religion stripped to the basics. Religion naturalized. Religion without code, cult, or community. Religion without metaphysics. It is religion for the state of uncertainty. As is typical of American religion, it both resists specific theological elaboration and is deeply rooted in a specifically Christian theology of the Incarnation (174).


lthough this definition of ministry of presence is reflective of general literature on the subject, it is not the only definition possible. Indeed, one of the reasons the idea is so popular among chaplains is that it seemingly resolves legal difficulties but can also be much more robustly defined by each chaplaincy group. This idea, then, sparks a question: are chaplains being less than honest when they use a minimalist definition for civil authorities and a maximalist definition in practice? Because “ministry of presence” is used in a multitude of ways, the practice of chaplaincy varies tremendously in differing contexts. The issue, therefore, so often is not what is allowed by the law but rather what we can get away

with. A critic might argue that the discourse of a minimalist ministry of presence is how chaplains present themselves to the relevant authorities, but it is not what they actually do, nor is it the driving force behind their work. Beginning on almost false pretenses, the critic might argue that their work is generally more robustly missional and pastoral in practice. Chaplains, however, might defend their ministry of presence as the best approach to ensure they can provide whatever it is that those to whom they minister need. Whereas an older model of chaplaincy presumed a single denominational perspective or placed expectations on what individuals could reasonably request of chaplains, a ministry of presence privileges the needs of those being ministered to and allows them to define what chaplaincy means on an encounter- by-encounter basis. Whatever the case, Winnifred Sullivan’s study is an important read, one not to be missed by anyone who wishes to understand the reality of chaplaincy in the modern world. (Note: This review first appeared in Calvin Theological Journal 52:1 (2017): 130-132). JOHN KOTZIAN, SKY PILOT OF THE GREAT LAKES: A BIOGRAPHY OF THE REVEREND WILLIAM H. LAW. GWINN, MI: AVERY, 2014.

This is an interesting and encouraging book by John Kotzian on the life story of Reverend William H. Law, a man rescued by a U.S. Life-Saving Service Station crew and who, as a result, dedicated his life to their service as a chaplain to them. From that service came the nickname “Sky Pilot,” contemporary sailors’ slang for a chaplain. Kotzian is the great-greatgrandson of Law. He did significant research for the book, resulting in an excellent overview of Law’s life in particular as well as life on the Great Lakes in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in general. 25

BOOK REVIEWS Born in 1852 near Toronto, Law committed himself early on to missions among those further North and West. After a short stint in Northern Ontario, where he found too many other missionaries at work, he moved to what would become the village of Hessel on the southern shore of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. A benefactor in Pittsburg helped Law purchase the first small powerboat in the area, giving him the ability to transport people to his prayer meetings and help those in distress on the water. Law parlayed his success in fundraising for the boat into garnering support for a Bethel Home, completed in 1892. Law was part of the Bethel Movement that sought to provide spiritual and physical support to seafarers and others in the maritime world. The movement was propelled by groups such as the Seamen’s Christian Friend Society in New York; however, SCFS did not enjoy success in the Great Lakes region, so the Western Seamen’s Friend Society was founded in Cleveland in 1830. Individual churches, like Detroit’s iconic Mariner’s Church, began offering a place for Great Lakes seamen to worship.


aw was under commission of the WSFS. The independent Bethel Home on his property served the needs of the community, sailors, and lumberjacks in the area (a fire destroyed the home in 1906). An important encounter in October 1900 shaped much of his work for the rest of his life: he was rescued off Bois Blanc Island by a United States Life-Saving Service team. After the rescue he spoke with the team and noticed the challenging life of servicemembers and the loneliness of their job. For much of the rest of his life, Law committed himself to visiting lighthouses and life-saving service stations and also advocating on behalf of lighthouse keepers for better support. In many publications written to supporters, he would note that he was inspired to bring the “Gospel of Humanity” to the “Great Water World.” In 1903 he purchased a sturdy sailboat in which he sailed from station to station, bringing happy conversation and a little library of books. In a sermon he preached on the radio in 1923, he noted the difficult and isolated life of lighthouse workers: “It may be that someone listening in on this radio talk will think that I dish up too much nonsense. But you don’t know the lightkeepers as I do. I have come to understand by my experiences


with these people, that loneliness is not only a terrible thing, but it shocks the finer sensibilities of a man, lowers the ebb of his morale, and by reason of its paralyzing influences tends to make him unsociable. In my way of thinking, life only holds one thing that counts, and that is the appreciation of contact with one another. Friendships are invaluable in preventing people who are lonely from having a criminal dissatisfaction with life.” Until his death in 1928, Law kept up writing to supporters far and wide and advocated for better pay and pensions for lighthouse and rescue crews. Law was a significant voice among those who supported the Coast Guard bill in 1915, which saw the amalgamation of the Revenue Cutter Service and the U.S. Life-Saving Service. This gave significantly better support to many of those who Law had visited and served for the previous generation. Kotzian’s book is well-researched and well-written. Anyone interested in maritime life on the Great Lakes or the history of Christian service to those in the maritime world will enjoy Sky Pilot of the Great Lakes. Law’s life and work reminds us that so much of maritime ministry is done among those who are forgotten and unseen. This is an encouraging legacy for anyone doing ministry in the maritime world today. (Thank you to chaplain Marshal Bundren of Burn’s Harbor, Indiana, for suggesting this book for review and providing a review copy). TANYA ERZEN, GOD IN CAPTIVITY: THE RISE OF FAITH-BASED PRISON MINISTRIES IN THE AGE OF MASS INCARCERATION. BOSTON, MA: BEACON PRESS, 2017. God in Captivity examines the relationship between Christian ministry and public space in the United States. In particular, the book charts developments in prison ministries – especially the robust growth of programs by certain evangelical Protestants in recent years. Erzen claims early in the book that “Mainline or progressive Protestants rarely hold services or studies in prisons today. Conservative Protestants have the monopoly on prison ministry” (5). Erzen herself is involved in prison ministry, though she would place herself in the more progressive camp and offers measured critique of evangelical efforts in many cases. Despite the critique, any involved in those ministries would do well to read this book,

as it might yet give welcome context to their work and help them focus their efforts. The book does not question the legitimacy of evangelical prison ministries themselves, but rather points out that they are filling a gap created in the “age of mass incarceration” in US prisons. Erzen is straightforward: “In a prison system that no longer offers even the pretense of rehabilitation, faith-based programs allow massive numbers of Christians to enter and proselytize to those desperate for a lifeline” (5). The problem is essentially one of resources according to Erzen, as “[f] aith-based volunteers and ministries provide something that has always been the bottom line of the punishment industry in the United States: they save money” (7). From her perspective, evangelical faith-based ministries are often useful partners to prison administrations, as these chaplains and volunteers help control prison populations at low or no cost. The book’s first chapters chart how the American prison system and prisoners have changed over time. Erzen offers thought-provoking commentary on the relationship between the conceptions of forgiveness and penalties. Among other ideas, the disconnection of the individual prisoner’s salvation from larger questions about social justice and corporatized incarceration merit further attention.


hose involved in prison ministry will, of course, find God in Captivity quite useful; however, it also connects with maritime ministry in several ways. First, maritime ministry typically fills a void in social welfare that would be extremely costly for governments or companies to provide. It may seem strange that port authorities, governments, and shipping companies that make and spend billions of dollars cannot themselves afford to have adequate systems for transportation, communication, and relaxation for visiting seafarers. With all the resources at their disposal, this social services gap appears incongruous – yet we know it

exists and we must address it. For many reasons, both complex and otherwise, it is simply a reality that without not-for-profit seafarers’ welfare organizations (especially faith-based maritime ministries), shore-based seafarers’ welfare work would not exist in many ports. Though ports are points of global connection, they bear witness to the disjuncture of sea and land, the borders between countries, and a kind of no-man’s land between the cultures of seafarers and port workers. That point of disjuncture, that empty space, would remain so if not for the work of seafarers’ welfare organizations.


econd, God in Captivity reminds us that though maritime ministries help fill that void, we still need to think about how we do so. The type of ministry we may have constructed ourselves, or a tradition from which we work, may not be the most appropriate or effective model. Erzen writes from a certain background in theology and practice when she examines and critiques the ministries that she has encountered in modern U.S. prisons. Her research is instructive, even for those who may disagree with some of her conclusions about the relative value of developing ministries. Perhaps this kind of constructively critical research could also be useful for maritime ministries in North America. Such organizations are present in spaces so often trampled by the engines of global economics. But does our activity in that space have the meaning and impact that we think it is having? If we seek to exercise a ministry of presence, then what does our presence mean? JOSIANE GUÉGUEN, VOYAGE AU COEUR DU SEAMEN’S CLUB. BREST, FR: GÉORAMA, 2014. Written by French journalist Josiane Guéguen, this short book paints a wonderful picture of the people involved in seafarers’ welfare and the seafarers they serve. Guéguen spent 60 days in early 2014 volunteering at the Seamen’s Club of Brest. Her assignment was part of the festival on travel writing (“Ici et ailleurs”) financed by the regional government and organized by the ENKI Foundation. Brest has a very strong naval and maritime history. Yet for all the port and sea have meant to this community, Guéguen writes that the modern world of shipping remains unknown to most people in the area. Though a main highway in the city

passes right by the port, most who drive by don’t give the port—or those who work in it—a second thought. It is like they are two different worlds. But they are not all that different. Though Guéguen starts her book admitting she didn’t have a love for the sea, the story reveals her growing realization that the sea and ports are not impersonal places of wind, waves, fish, ships, and cargo cranes, but places where people live and work. Staying in one’s home city for a travel book might sound paradoxical, but for Guéguen it was a privileged place to meet the world. The book is split up into short chapters, documenting encounters Guéguen had with the staff at the Seamen’s Club of Brest and the seafarers they serve. The writing is light and captivating, with short asides when they are appropriate (for example, short descriptions of the MLC, 2006 and flags of convenience). The book also contains some photos by Guéguen and several beautiful watercolor drawings by Damien Roudeau and Erwan Le Bot, who accompanied Guéguen to help document her work.

husbands, wives, friends, and colleagues on recruiting volunteers for the Seamen’s Club shines throughout the book. The centerpiece of Guéguen’s book is undoubtedly the stories of seafarers themselves. Seafarers are shown not only to be workers on ships, but also fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, sons, and daughters. Seafarers are people with the same hopes and dreams as the rest of us. They are individuals with their own stories and are not defined solely by their time aboard. Seafaring might seem foreign to modern society, but Guéguen reveals that seafarers show the heart of modern society. The book is an enriching experience, and one that takes little time to complete. It is recommended for anyone in seafarers’ welfare who might be able to read French. FR. MICHAEL RICHARDSON, I ONCE WAS A PORT CHAPLAIN. MELBOURNE, AU: STELLA MARIS SEAFARERS’ CENTRE, 2010.


he Seamen’s Club in Brest officially opened in 1993, organized in particular by worker priest Fr. Joseph Douben. Guéguen visited the club when it was still in a smaller space, but recently, as she notes, it has moved to a larger facility. While priests and other religious continue to be active in the work, it is and was set up to be a non-confessional seafarers’ welfare organization. The beauty of Guéguen’s book lies not only in its description of modern seafaring life, but also in its focus on the staff and volunteers of the Seamen’s Club. Though many of those who serve have some kind of maritime connection, their roads to participation in the center are varied. In almost all cases, they were hooked into service by friendship with someone else in the organization. The positive influence of

Though this short, pithy memoir is about one particular chaplain and seafarers’ mission, it is rewarding for anyone wishing to understand the changes in and challenges to seafarers’ ministry worldwide in the last half century. The story is that of Fr. Michael Richardson at the Stella Maris Sseafarer's Centre in Melbourne, Australia. The first part of the book recounts briefly the work of Richardson’s predecessor, Fr. Kevin Quinlan, at a time of great transformation in the seafaring world. As was the case for many other seafarer chaplains in the 1960s and early 1970s, the work of providing hospitality to seafarers was drastically different from the ministries carried out by other priests. It was difficult to list a port chaplain’s duties on one page: part seafarer advocate, part entertainer, part bouncer, part taxi driver, part volunteer coordinator, part builder, and fully flexible to move between these roles. It took a special character to be the jack-of-all-trades chaplain. Fr. Quinlan 27

BOOK REVIEWS had a fruitful career in seafarers’ welfare, but, as Fr. Richardson tells it, had begun to suffer health issues after 16 years of being “pushed to the limit” with the “totally unreasonable demands” of the work. As Fr. Quinlan passed the baton to Fr. Richardson in 1974, there were more changes afoot than those accompanying a personnel shift: the maritime world itself was changing rapidly. Much of the book charts how Fr. Richardson responded in creative ways to new challenges during his service (19741996). Shrinking crew sizes, technological progress, communications advances, foreign-flagged and -crewed vessels, and, especially, containerization meant that seafarers were looking for quite different services in 1985 than they had done in 1965. Richardson tells the sad story of when, in 1984, he had the task of informing the resident piano man—a volunteer with 50 years of experience—that seafarers no longer wanted to attend old-time dances. As seafarers’ needs changed, so did the need decrease to have large teams of hosts and hostesses for dances and events that occupied so much of their time. Throughout his tenure, ships in port, transportation, and telephone calls all skyrocketed in demand. Richardson recalls that seafarers spent over $100,000 annually on phone calls from Stella Maris in the 1980s.


ichardson adapted to a massive amount of change when he took over from Fr. Quilan; by the end of his own tenure, Richardson had witnessed a paradigm shift yet again. Writing about his last years, he says “[b]y 1996 I was growing weary of the work and frustrated by my inability to attract volunteers the way we used to do. Fr. Quinlan’s once strong 120 volunteers had plummeted to a fraction of their number. Maybe a new, young priest with parish experience could draw upon his former parishioners for the next generation of volunteers as I had done with my former parishioners. I had doubts about the effect of containerization; there were fears that perhaps a new direction would be required for the future of the Club. I was making mistakes. I became convinced that my time had come. I had no vision as to how tomorrow’s Seafarer's Centre would look and could not face that future. So I eventually applied for a return to parish life” (73). These honest, difficult lines from Richardson echo the feeling of hundreds of other chaplains and administrators, many of whom are ask-


ing these same questions. As the maritime world and the life of a seafarer continue to change, especially with monumental changes in communications technology, challenges will persist. Helping us see the continued challenges to the work of seafarers’ ministry is not the major goal of the book, nor is that the only benefit of reading it. Rather, Fr. Richardson’s stories of joy and service to seafarers can inspire another generation of seafarers’ welfare professionals and volunteers. Despite the myriad challenges, this mission in Melbourne persisted to serve men and women at sea, especially the lonely and forgotten, through all manner of epoch-making changes. I Once Was a Port Chaplain is a worthy read, not only to learn about the work of one chaplain but also to enthuse another generation of people dedicated to serving those who go down to the sea on ships. We all owe a debt of gratitude to the team at Stella Maris Melbourne for many years of faithful service. KENNON L. CALLAHAN, VISITING IN AN AGE OF MISSION: A HANDBOOK FOR PERSON-TO-PERSON MINISTRY. SAN FRANCISCO, CA: HARPER, 1994. I read this book largely because the title resonates with the work of seafarers’ ministry, specifically when we conduct ship visiting. Callahan is a noted North American speaker, pastor, and author of a number of books on mission and church leadership. While the book is somewhat dated – especially on communications technology – the ideas about the importance of visiting still merit consideration. In the first part of the book, Callahan lays out what seems like a truism: visiting is with persons. But his point is that the visit is mutual, an activity that takes place between the visitor and the person being visited, not where one talks and the other listens. In genuine visits, there is no “pressure, hassle, or hustle.” (4) He explains that “Visiting is being a good friend in the name of Christ. In visiting it is never quite clear who is helping whom. Each shares and each receives. When our visits help bring forth the best in those we visit, we are being good neighbors.” (5) Callahan’s call is for the kind of friendly, helpful visiting that stands opposed to a pressurized, inorganic proselytism that is directed at listeners. Though we do not visit with pressure, he writes, it is nonetheless done with a purpose.

As people search for individuality, community, meaning, and hope, our visit means something and is intended to do something. A visit does rely on one’s character and experience and should flow naturally, but it is also a genuine art that can be nurtured. Our visit should give community to the lonely or meaning to one that is overwhelmed.


few lessons from his experience might also help ship visitors: Callahan notes that the first three minutes of a conversation set up the rest. To avoid a conversation that verges on an interrogation, share something about yourself, he says. Seafarers, like anyone else, know a fake conversation when they hear it. Also, though it might be very difficult in a ship visiting context, learning the names of those you visit is tremendously meaningful, says Callahan. More, he writes that visiting is not something done on the fly, but something that takes planning, even having secretarial support. Most seafarers’ ministries know this, but it bears mentioning. Coordination of visiting doesn’t squelch the spirit of visiting, but frees the visitors to concentrate on their work. Callahan notes why the focus on visiting is important for this book. Visiting in an Age of Mission is intended for congregations who are trying to renew their understanding of mission in their local communities. His point is that churches are often the greatest impediment to their own growth. “In a churched culture, churches focused on maintenance, membership, money. It was said that successful congregations had three things: location, location, location. The focus could be on the site, the facilities, and the inside: people were coming. In the mission field, mission congregations do three things in their community: visit, visit, visit.” (105) What if we changed the words of this sentence to focus on seafarers’ mission? “In traditional seafarers’ ministry, boards and staff focused on building maintenance, denominational connections, and

money…” This is a caricature, but it could be useful to think about. As boards and staff think through issues in our own time, Callahan’s book might suggest that redoubling the singular focus on visiting seafarers helps orient properly the question of buildings, denominations, and money.


inally, Callahan notes that visiting is not simply a sales technique or means to an end, but it has its own integrity and value. He writes that the visit itself, beyond what is said, is a sign of compassion and is something faith-driven. “We visit as an expression of the incarnation, as a way of sharing the mission. Visiting is central to the experience of the Christian movement.” (135) Though much of the book focuses on the practice of established church groups beginning programs of visiting in their communities, it can greatly help to understand ship visiting from another perspective. Ship visitors can get discouraged or feel like they are not “doing” enough; Callahan reminds us that the visit itself is of great value and that creating community for those who are isolated or discouraged is central to our faith. R.W.H. MILLER, DR ASHLEY’S PLEASURE YACHT: JOHN ASHLEY, THE BRISTOL CHANNEL MISSION AND ALL THAT FOLLOWED. CAMBRIDGE, UK: THE LUTTERWORTH PRESS, 2017.

Robert Miller’s biography of Rev. John Ashley is a much more detailed portrait than anything else now available of a man who was central to the early period of maritime ministry. Miller is author of several other important studies in maritime mission history, including the substantial One Firm Anchor (Lutterworth, 2012).  In many ways, his new volume complements that larger history, even correcting the history given

there. The former, somewhat charming picture of Ashley and the beginnings of what is now The Mission to Seafarers are here presented as much more complicated, if not also darker. Miller admits that his picture of Ashley in One Firm Anchor was flawed: “I realized, when I examined his [Ashley’s] evidence, that I was guilty of academic laziness, having relied on a received version rather than primary documents” (xii). This version explores in more detail Ashley’s domestic life, his religious faith, and his temperament. As it had been told previously, John Ashley’s story was quaint and inspirational. In many ways it was more a vision for maritime mission than a history.  In 1835, it was said, Ashley was walking with his son when the boy pointed to the Channel Islands off the coast of Bristol.  “How do those people go to church?” his son inquired. Ashley had to admit that he did not know, but said he would find out. The quest to bring pastoral support for the channel islanders and as well as the ships that were anchored in the channel would occupy him for the next several decades and inspire a number of other missions to be founded to do the same. These missions would eventually band together into The Mission to Seafarers among Anglicans and then also inspire Catholics in the UK and on the Continent to begin their own maritime ministries. This is the positive foundational narrative repeated in the literature promoting The Mission to Seafarers as well as the wider endeavor of maritime mission. Little is said of Ashley the man, much less of his character. Ashley, of course, was not the first to do maritime ministry.  Literature ministries had been at work for decades. Some ships had had chaplains aboard for many years. Most notably, George Charles “Boatswain” Smith and the Bethel movement had already been active in various ports for the better part of 20 years.  Yet Ashley was the first to seriously work with men aboard their ships in a broader manner.


ut Miller’s book does not simply reaffirm the attractive story of Ashley so often told in maritime ministry history: rather, the portrait is of a man no doubt entrepreneurial and energetic, but also quarrelsome and obtuse. Miller studies the challenges in funding and administering the Bristol Channel Mis-

sion in the mid-1840s. Ashley had considerable friction with certain board members, prompting his board to resign en masse in 1844. How Ashley used his family’s fortune – his father owned estates in Jamaica – and his own natural energy to keep the work of the mission afloat is remarkable. Much of his work was done using the Eirene, a specially designed mission cutter built in 1839. It was no “pleasure yacht,” as some critics would assert, but, as Miller writes, it represented “hard labour in appalling conditions.” (106) Ashley’s work inspired similar operations in other ports, organizations that would finally merge in the mid-1850s to form what is now The Mission to Seafarers.


uch of the novelty of Miller’s book is a closer look at Ashley’s marriage (in 1868 to Elizabeth Treadwell, she 29, he 67), various court cases, and some less-than-friendly publications. Out of these Miller draws some observations on Ashley’s character and faith. Miller clearly sees the hard work in Ashley’s life, but also finds evidence of a contentious attitude and a certain small-mindedness. He also finds evidence in various writings and actions that Ashley was increasingly dissatisfied with the Church of England. Miller suggests that Ashley had less contact with the Church of England in his later years, even if he was still a bona fide member at his death. He is buried in Holy Trinity Churchyard, East Finchley, London. Some of Miller’s suggestions about Ashley’s character might be debated for lack of enough detail, but they are worthwhile to be aware of and read carefully. Miller’s book helps understand the early years of maritime mission in a way that can still instruct those currently involved. It is the story of one man, but one from whom we can trace links to many of the modern seafarers’ welfare societies. In many ways maritime ministry has not changed that much: so much of its history is the interplay between energetic, sometimes controversial individuals and the availability or lack of resources. This book is also a great reminder that Ashley’s work was inspiring for so many others in ports around the UK – so much so that they founded their own societies to do similar work. This should continue to inspire seafarers’ welfare in the twenty-first century.




unded by the Louisville Institute, this research project asks how congregations are connected to deep-water ocean ports in the United States and Canada through the work of port chaplains. It expands the work of a three-year project to start on July 1, 2017 funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) in the United Kingdom. That larger project explores the lived religious and spiritual experiences of seafarers and port chaplains in ports and on cargo vessels in the U.S. and the U.K. This more focused project asks what kinds of relationships exist between port chaplains and local congregations in North America and how they might be strengthened for the benefit of congregational clergy, members of local congregations, port chaplains, and the seafarers served. The research project will be undertaken by Dr. Wendy Cadge (Brandeis University), Dr. Jason Zuidema (NAMMA), and Dr. Michael Skaggs (NAMMA). Through interviews and short ethnographies, the project will develop case studies of congregation-port relationships in five representative ports in North America. Those interviews and ethnographies will support the development of educational materials about the work of ministering to seafarers for port chaplains to share with local congregations and to distribute to other chaplains and seafarers’ welfare organizations through


the North American Maritime Ministry Association. It will also develop resources and training for port chaplains to facilitate stronger, ongoing port chaplain-local congregation relationships. These data will also inform several journal articles for religious studies and sociology journals and edited collections. The project proposed here will expand upon this research by asking what kinds of relationships exist between port chaplains and local congregations in North America and how those relationships might be strengthened for the benefit of congregational clergy, congregational members, port chaplains, and the seafarers served. From interviews and informal discussions, it has become apparent to us that at present there is evidence of a growing disconnect between port chaplains and local congregations in

many communities. With the assistance of research assistant Dr. Michael Skaggs, Cadge will conduct interviews and basic ethnographies in five representative ports in North America and compile case studies of the varying nature of these relationships. PROJECT ACTIVITY This project aims to understand how port-congregation relationships were built and then to develop educational and training materials for port chaplaincies and local congregational leaders that will facilitate such relationships. Team members will visit select ports and interview all chaplains as well as local clergy at each site to learn more about the nature of these relationships. These interviews will enable the team to write case studies of each port, focused on the port

chaplain-congregational relationship in each community. From these case studies, the project will develop a series of educational materials and training programs that will both inform local congregations about the work of port chaplains and suggest ways to build stronger port chaplain-congregation relationships. While the precise nature of these materials will be determined once the research has been conducted, the team suspects the materials will include videos, infographics and profiles of local port chaplains in various media forms. The training programs for port chaplains are likely to focus on creating professional media and communications materials and drawing local clergy, seminarians and / or youth into advisory or short internship programs at seafarers’ centers. These data will also inform several journal articles for religious studies and sociology journals and the book the team has committed to write as part of the broader ESRC funded project. MS

PROJECT TIMELINE March 2017 - research team meeting during CMA Shipping 2017 April-August 2017 - fieldwork for case studies in five designated ports September 2017-March 2018 - conclusion of fieldwork and drafts of case studies Spring/Summer 2018 - revise educational materials and develop training sessions NAMMA Conference 2018 - presentation of final materials Note: This research project has been approved by the Institutional Review Board at Brandeis University. For more information on the project, please contact Dr. Michael Skaggs at


NAMMA CONFERENCE 2016 EXAMINES SOCIAL ISOLATION AT SEA The 2016 NAMMA Conference, running from August 2-5, 2016 at the scenic Portsmouth Renaissance Waterfront Hotel in Portsmouth, Virginia, gathered more than 100 representatives from international seafarers’ and fishers’ welfare agencies to discuss the most critical issues of their work regionally and worldwide. Rev. Marsh Drege, Executive Director of Seafarers International House and President of NAMMA’s Board said, “Social isolation is unfortunately a characteristic part of the lives of seafarers and fishers worldwide. The 2016 NAMMA conference will help chaplains and ship visitors focus even more on the essential goal of being present for those who are alone.” The leaders of many North American seafarers’ centers and organizations attended, including ample representation of the Apostleship of the Sea. Bishop J. Kevin Boland, United States AOS bishop promoter, and international AOS director Fr. Bruno Ciceri both participated in the conference. Social isolation includes both the subjective feeling of loneliness and the objective state of separation from others. Besides the natural separation from others while miles out at sea, conference participants noted trends such as smaller crews, changes to working hours, increased paperwork, multinational crews and the effects of usage or lack of the 32

Internet. An increasing number of scholarly studies notes that the various causes of social isolation contribute both to marine incidents and the challenges to seafarer retention experienced throughout the industry. Ian Urbina and Martin Doblmeier delivered thought-provoking keynote addreses. Urbina is a Pulitzer-prize winning New York Times journalist and author of “The Outlaw Ocean” article series. Urbina presented on the challenges to fishers’ welfare worldwide. Doblmeier is founder of Journey Films and producer of the recent nationally-televised PBS documentary Chaplains. Since 1984, Doblmeier has produced and directed more than 30 films focused on religion, faith, and spirituality. Doblmeier presented on the current challenges and opportunities for chaplaincy work across all sectors. Other program presenters and exhibitors included representatives of the United States Coast Guard, Chamber of Shipping of America, Seafarers’ International Union/International Transport Workers’ Federation, North American Marine Environment Protection Association, Mission to Seafarers, Sailors’ Society, Apostleship of the Sea, Mercy Ships, Center for Seafarers’ Rights of the Seamen’s Church Institute of NY & NJ, Apostleship of the Sea-USA, International Christian Mari-

time Association, International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network, and ITF Seafarers’ Trust. In his opening remarks, Executive Director Jason Zuidema noted, “By our conference theme, we are not pushing for a return to the so-called ‘good old days’ in shipping: those good old days might not have seen the widespread social isolation we see today, but no doubt those old days had their fair share of social issues! Our work is not to respond to past challenges, but those of today and the future. What does this general global trend of social isolation – amplified, we might argue, for those at sea – mean for us? How do we respond? What kind of presence might we have for those who live in social isolation at sea?” The conference featured many different perspectives on the issue, but the most important was that of the conference participants themselves: representing more than 75 different seafarers’ welfare agencies, they serve thousands of seafarers on a daily basis. The NAMMA conference provided a place for reflection and dialogue on one of the most significant issues facing seafarers’ welfare today. X You can read Ian Urbina’s series “The Outlaw Ocean” at You can watch the trailer for Chaplains at


PHOTO: SCI New York & New Jersey




t the Connecticut Maritime Association (CMA) Shipping 2017 Conference, Helen Archontou, CEO of YWCA Bergen County (NJ) facilitated a workshop on sexual assault prevention and response (SAPR) as part of NAMMA's parallel sessions on seafarers' welfare. Provided as a service to first responders supporting seafarers’ welfare, the workshop addressed a key concern for the safety and wellbeing of seafarers across companies, flag states, and employment status. The session was organized in partnership with the Seamen’s Church Institute of New York & New Jersey and Seafarers International House of New York. A central theme in the workshop was identifying and recognizing all the forms of sexual violence that can occur in seafarers’ workplaces. While most are sensitive to the urgency and severity of the problem of physical assault, the SAPR workshop clarified that sexual violence includes any form of unwanted, unwelcome, or manipulated sexual contact. Any action that controls, intimidates, dominates, shames, or humiliates another person through sexuality is sexual violence, including what might be brushed away or dismissed as bawdy humor or “boys being boys” while at sea. None of this is acceptable,


Archontou and her team made clear, and every seafarer has the right to a respectful and dignified work environment. Especially in the confined setting of oceangoing shipping, sexual violence in any form can wreak real destruction in the lives of both men and women seafarers. Anxiety, helplessness, depression, substance abuse, flashbacks, and other ill effects can result from offenses ranging from seemingly innocuous jokes to outright physical assaults that permanently traumatize the victims of such violence, leaving lasting scars. Archontou quoted a female student from California Baptist University as saying that even “being alone with a guy in a room really changed for me.” Men who are victims of sexual assault may have a different set of societal pressures. As one male student from South Carolina expressed it to a researcher: “I was afraid to talk to anybody about it because of the stigma I felt I would receive in talking about it.” As much as both shipping and seafarers’ welfare professionals would like to eliminate sexual violence outright, the fact remains that these violations occur and must be addressed with appropriate responses on the part of both owners and those charged with the care of seafarers. Central to such responses is returning a sense

of control to victims, who may feel as though they have no say or control over the rest of their lives. Archontou advocated simply supporting those who report sexual violence by believing the reports that victims make; refusing to assign blame or guess at the circumstances that may have preceded the assault; and respecting victims of sexual assault. Seafarers’ welfare professionals and all others who come into contact with assault victims can open the door to healing, reconciliation, and legal recourse in the criminal justice system if victims wish to seek it. Addressing an audience that included representatives from the North American Maritime Ministry Association, seafarers’ representatives, and advocates for more equitable working conditions, Archontou noted that sexual assault rarely is motivated by base sexual desire; instead, it takes place as a result of seeking power and control over the perpetrator’s victim. Stories abound of the AB or other rating coerced into sexual acts to advance their status on board; men and women seafarers unable to return to their ships after being exploited by peers or superiors; and crew subjected to humor about their bodies or unwelcome advances by their crewmates. None of this is acceptable, Archontou made clear, and those concerned with seafarers’ welfare are extremely well-placed to address these problems, which are not unique to seafaring but nonetheless injure their victims all the more for being isolated and cut off from resources in crisis situations. “This workshop was an excellent starting point for preparing chaplains and ship vsitors on how to be first responders in sensitive situations involving sexual assault,” said Stephen Lyman, Director of Seamen’s Church Institute of Port Newark. “As maritime ministry professionals, we welcome the opportunity to provide another level of support to those we serve. As we delve further into this subject in the distinct context of the maritime community that our industry serves, it is clear that collaboration with sexual violence professionals is essential to help us prevent and address it effectively.” “We are extremely grateful that Helen and her team joined us this year to discuss such a pressing topic in providing for seafarers’ welfare,” said Dr. Jason Zuidema, Executive Director of NAMMA. “Our members, both

Any action that controls, intimidates, dominates, shames, or humiliates another person through sexuality is sexual violence...


professional and volunteer, are always eager to learn more about how they can serve the seafarers that keep world trade afloat. These men and women are deserving of the same protections that all of us expect in our land-based work lives; why should they be treated any differently because they work at sea?” “The opportunity for YWCA Bergen County’s healingSPACE to bring our specialized knowledge and training to first responders supporting seafarers’ welfare is an honor for us,” said Archontou. “I have been impressed with the leadership’s commitment to developing a strong education, outreach, and advocacy effort for sexual violence prevention and response. We are committed to continuing this partnership to reduce the incidence and devastating consequences of sexual violence for the seafarer community and society as a whole. ” NAMMA, the professional association of North American seafarers’ welfare providers, exists to provide a network for encouragement, training, and coordination of ministries that serve port communities in North America. Concerned with all levels of welfare, NAMMA members care for the spiritual needs that individuals express, the basic material needs of seafarers in search of supplies and recreation, and the advocacy owed to those who fall victim to assault in their working lives. “CMA has long hosted NAMMA as partners in a productive and efficient shipping industry” wrote Dr. Zuidema. “We appreciate the hospitality extended by shipping at this premier conference and sincerely thank those who join us in recognizing that happy, healthy seafarers ensure that this industry remains the backbone of global commerce.” MS


PHOTO: Louis Vest




PHOTO: Zay Yar Lin



by International Seafarers' Welfare and Assistance Network

n early 2017, the International Seafarersʼ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) hosted a photo competition in which seafarers competed for a GoPro HERO5 Session camera. After careful consideration, the judging panel chose one winner and five runners-up; you can find photos from all six entrants on ISWAN’s Flickr account along with additional, shortlisted entries. Zay Yar Lin, Chief Officer for MTM Ship Management, took the top prize in 2017’s contest for his stunning photo of a seafarer painting the ship’s handrail, taken from the bridge wing above. Albert Veloria and Alvin-Patrick V. Occeño, both from the Philippines; Johannes Bargmann from Germany; Peter Cornelissen from the Netherlands; and Zaw Myo Kyaw from Myanmar finished as runners-up. Future ISWAN publications will feature their entries. After announcing his victory, ISWAN spoke to the talented Zay Yar Lin:

Congratulations on your winning photo! Tell us a bit about yourself and your life as a seafarer. I’m from Myanmar...I work as Chief Officer on chemical tankers. As head of the Deck Department, I am in charge of safety, deck maintenance, cargo operations, and navigation. I love to take photos of seafarers at work but I don’t like being away from my family. Tell us about your winning photo. I took this photo from the bridge wing, which is the uppermost deck of the ship. I bring my camera on the bridge so I can take spontaneous photos around the ship while at sea.The ship was sailing on C O N T I N U E D O N PAG E 4 1



PHOTO: Albert Veloria

PHOTO: Alvin-Patrick V. Occeño


WINNERS Zay Yar Lin, Chief Officer for MTM Ship Management, took the top prize in 2017’s contest for his stunning photo of a seafarer painting the ship’s handrail, taken from the bridge wing above. Albert Veloria and Alvin-Patrick V. Occeño, both from the Philippines; Johannes Bargmann from Germany; Peter Cornelissen from the Netherlands; and Zaw Myo Kyaw from Myanmar finished as runners-up.

PHOTO: Johannes Bargmann

C O N T I N U E D F RO M PAG E 3 9

the Gulf of Mexico near the United States when I saw this seafarer painting the ship’s handrail. It was a spontaneous moment. When I noticed this seafarer’s paint job on the ship’s red deck and the beautiful, whirling, blue sea, I couldn’t resist taking the photo. Luckily, the sun was low in the sky so I could see the beautiful shadow of the seafarer. I took three or four photos until I got this final shot. How did you hear about the photo competition? How did you react when you found out you had won? I saw the photo competition on Facebook, shared by one of my friends. I felt surprised and was very happy to learn I had won. I just talked to my wife and shared my happiness at this victory!

What do you enjoy about photography? Do you have any advice for other seafarers who enjoy taking photos? I believe photography helps people to see and feel. I love taking pictures that tell stories. Photography is the art of imagination and creation.Try to imagine first and be creative to make photos. And never forget about lighting and composition! How do you plan to use your prize - a GoPro HERO5 Session camera? I want to use it to learn underwater photography. Interview edited for article publication. To view the rest of the 2017 finalists and overall shortlist, visit ISWAN’s Flickr photo sharing page. The International Seafarers Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) is an international charity promoting seafarers’ welfare worldwide. MS 41

A COLLABORATIVE COMMUNITY: Building Relationships in North American Ports



n 2013, the International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) published Port Levies and Sustainable Welfare, the result of a path-breaking survey Dr. Olivia Swift conducted in the Greenwich Maritime Institute. Dr. Swift’s survey took a global perspective and deployed comprehensive questioning. Her work revealed an incredible diversity of port welfare levy systems around the world, from levies mandated by legal authorities resulting in state-of-the-art seafarers’ centers to tiny operations working on the slimmest of budgets. While Port Levies and Sustainable Welfare touched on the state of levies in North America, Dr. Swift’s global perspective meant the survey could examine no more than a few North American ports. NAMMA thus undertook a project complementary to Dr. Swift’s work, borrowing from her method and extending her survey’s objectives to encompass the United States and Canada. Although some results of the NAMMA survey resonate with ISWAN’s - North American seafarers’ centers enjoy varying degrees of financial health, for example – combining the absence of mandatory port welfare levies in US and Canadian ports with a general blindness to the maritime world among the wider public results in North American funding structures for seafarers’ welfare providing much less predictable income than elsewhere in the world. NAMMA has committed itself to assuring shipping ownership and port authorities that maritime welfare providers view them as partners in a healthy global economy, co-workers in the seafarers’ well being as they move our oceangoing cargo from Point A to Point B around the clock. After pivoting time and again over the past two centuries in response to changing seafarers’ needs, today seafarers’ assistance organizations confront perhaps their most pressing challenge yet: securing sufficient funding to operate into the future. NAMMA members are 501(c)(3) status organizations, relying on periodic gifts and funding partnerships to support their services. Because a commercial model cannot sustain maritime welfare provision, the port levy collection represents one center support method, in the form of shipping contributions, directly or indirectly, to seafarers’ welfare organizations. To be sure, seafarers’ welfare organizations realize enormous benefits from the many ways that ports offer their support, including free or subsidized rent, port utilities usage, and other formal or informal systems. Sea-

farers’ centers rely also on large-scale events, like annual galas, as well as miscellaneous charitable income. Shipping contributes from time to time, including lump-sum donations that inject a much-needed boost to a center’s financial health. Yet to account for numerous variable expenses – fuel costs, for example, or insurance coverage, SIM card pricing, capital projects, or facility and vehicle maintenance per-ship levies offer a more responsive, more reliable, and more accurate contribution to seafarers’ wellbeing by the companies relying on these men and women for the safe conduct of cargoes around the globe. In early 2016, NAMMA contacted 69 NAMMA member centers and associates to ascertain port levy collection practices in their respective locations. Around half the respondents reported operating some welfare contribution collection system in their ports; the survey’s results highlight both the most significant challenges facing seafarers’ centers today and the possibilities of a brighter future in seafarers’ welfare. We asked a variety of questions: how many NAMMA members engage in contribution invoicing / solicitation, for example? Among those that do, to what degree do those contributions stabilize centers’ fiscal years? We set a secondary, but no less important, goal of determining these organizations’ basic methods. Those methods can help establish a framework around which NAMMA members can construct effective processes to further their missions with the assistance of shipping and port authorities. Among those that collect contributions, how does that process unfold? What methods work well? What factors help determine a high collection rate? How much support

might seafarers’ centers hope to collect in the future? We put these questions to our members; we hope their responses can help centers interested in beginning an industry support system or improve systems now in place. In neither the United States nor Canada have legislatures erected Port Welfare Committees (PWCs) or a National Welfare Board (NWB). However, related bodies, such as Harbor Safety Committees, do carry out some similar work. In one American port, Savannah, a nascent port welfare committee (yet not legally constituted) has great potential to formalize support in the future. Seafarers’ welfare supporters make their contributions on a voluntary basis across United States and Canadian ports. Despite the absence of mandatory welfare levies, almost half of the North American seafarers’ welfare organizations we contacted reported having an invoicing system. We must also weigh welfare contributions, however collected, against other funding sources. Those contributions are often significant indicators of seafarers’ welfare centers’ fiscal health. Many centers face crisis-level funding shortages year after year because of the enormous cost of providing for seafarers’ welfare. Without systematic support, seafarers’ centers face a stark future. Among the 33 centers offering an estimate, welfare contribution budget coverage ranged from 1% to 75%, with the average falling at 21%. We noted an enormous variation in the amounts requested. Among the 33 centers mentioning an exact amount they request, solicitations ranged from a minimum of $25 USD to a maximum of $200 USD. Multiple 43

rubrics exist to determine the total amount a center will invoice for service to a ship. While most respondents invoice once for a vessel’s entire stay, others mentioned alternative arrangements, including $100 USD per day the center conducts a ship visit; $55 for the first 3 days of service and $70 per day after; $25 per ship visit; one invoice per month, regardless of number of port calls; one invoice per day; and a flexible schedule of requests if a ship spends an extended time in port. Six of the centers we contacted reported that payers return 100% of their requests with contributions. This high rate represents an ideal scenario, with instructive success factors. All these centers maintain a standing arrangement with agents, port authorities, or shipping ownership vis-á-vis welfare support. In some cases, the port authority pays the center a set amount for each ship calling at port; in others, agents or owners pay a fixed amount for each ship. Several recommendations emerge from consideing the survey’s formal results alongside informal co versations between NAMMA and member centers. First, the seafarers’ welfare organizations that enjoy the greatest success, by rate of return and budgetary fulfillment, include those with strong relationships with port and shipping stakeholders. This is the single greatest indicator of a center’s success in garnering industry support. Explaining what benefits seafarers’ centers provide to both individual seafarers and shipping ownership often achieves enormous results. Polite persistence, or even beginning a relationship with no suggestion of financial support, can help lay the groundwork for future contributions. In the best scenario, centers will enjoy multiple stakeholders’ esteem. These entities have the authority and the influence to motivate owners to support seafarers’ welfare centers. In one case, a port authority even pays a levy to the center for each ship that calls; whether the owner then pays the port authority, that authority recognizes the seafarers’ center’s value. On the other hand, multiple centers reporting a low rate of return of invoices or a complete refusal of agents or owners to support the welfare center mentioned they do not correspond or speak with those stakeholders often. We cannot overestimate the significance of the relationships between seafarers’ centers and port authorities. Without functioning at least as advocates for seafarers’ centers, port authorities risk impeding the work of these organizations. We learned that port authorities


stand as the single most important actor in the port levy network. With a minimum of effort and resources, they stand to accomplish an enormous amount of good for seafarers’ welfare; with no involvement at all, the work of seafarers’ welfare will wither on the vine. By taking on the responsibility of helping ensure meaningful contributions to seafarers’ centers, port authorities enjoy an incredible opportunity to amplify the good work those centers accomplish.

Centers ought to nurture relationships with local business leaders, news media, and church / nonprofit organizations, as well, due to those entities’ ability to integrate seafarers’ centers into local humanitarian networks beyond the port. From a practical standpoint, connections to philanthropic organizations and church networks can facilitate fundraising. Regular luncheons or simple meetings to exchange ideas and experience could become productive wellsprings of improving seafarers’ welfare provision if centers pursue them alongside partnerships with port authorities. Clear invoicing eliminates one barrier to effective support solicitation. These should include a complete absence of errors, accurate contact information, a trackable invoice number, and an elegant design. Centers should strive to include arrival / departure dates of individual vessels they served, specific invoice / service dates, individual vessel names, an explanation of the of the invoice’s purpose (e.g., “This charge is assessed in accordance with Item #X of Tariff #Y issued by the port...”; or “The X Center provides a warm welcome, relaxing atmosphere, and support services for all seafarers...”), and as much detail as possible for services available (e.g., number of seafarers visiting the center, number of seafarers transported, number of visits / personnel visiting the ship). Centers also should strive to foster a relationship with the paying party, which helps determine how that party can pay with a minimum of inconvenience. The notion of mutual benefit also encourages clarity in invoicing. If attempting to persuade stakeholders of the value of seafarers’ centers, specific data rather than vague suggestions of humanitarian aid and comfort render the process far easier. Ship visitors and transportation services may find such data useful, as it can delineate how much time, effort, and resources have gone into the care of seafarers. Exclusion from port tariffs raises a substantial obstacle to implementing a program of soliciting shipping contributions. Present circumstances in the competitive port sector make including mandatory welfare contributions difficult for port authorities; however, fostering relationships can help overcome this obstacle. When shipping contributes to seafarers’ welfare, centers can

provide better services and help shipping lines maintain a satisfied workforce that performs better on the job. Seafarers’ centers also provide a crucial service to port authorities by tending to those men and women who want to disembark, offering them a place within the port environment or safe passage outside the port when possible. MS For more information, contact NAMMA Director of Programs Michael Skaggs at The full report is available at


2016 – A Year in Review SEPTEMBER 2016 – ICMA AHOY! COURSE IN MANILA, PHILIPPINES The International Christian Maritime Association hosted an immersive one-week training in Manila to understand better the life of Filipino seafarers. Students learned about many different aspects of Filipino life, the challenges of being a seafarer, and enjoyed several guided excursions into the city. Ten NAMMA members participated in the course. OCTOBER 2016 – MEETINGS IN LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA It was great to meet with a group of chaplains working in the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, as well as the new director and team of the LA/LB International Seafarers’ Center. They are taking advantage of the tremendous opportunities in the area to do the work of seafarers’ welfare. NAMMA connected them with new resources and encouraged them to strengthen their ecumenical relationships. NOVEMBER 2016 – VIDEO RECORDING IN VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA Videographer Noah Leon has helped NAMMA produce great video content for several years. Noah has also been available to our members to create promotional video packages that meet their needs. In November, under the direction of NAMMA, Noah spent a few days with the Ministry to Seafarers in Vancouver and crafted a beautiful film capturing the priorities of the local board and staff. DECEMBER 2016 – LAUNCH OF MOBILE WIFI HOTSPOTS The ITF Seafarers’ Trust funded NAMMA to distribute Mobile Beacon WiFi hotspots among its members to allow visiting seafarers to have more Internet access. The project has funded almost 100 individual hotspot units that have unlimited 4G connections. We created great carry bags for the units that allow seafarers to hang them in a porthole to get best reception. FEBRUARY 2017 – HOUSTON SCHOOL PARTICIPATION The Houston International Seafarers’ Center once again hosted a two-week seminar designed to train new chaplains and volunteers in seafarers’ ministry. This program has run since the 1970s and has graduated hundreds of personnel in ministries across North America. This year’s program was particularly memorable as it was the last meeting at the original seafarers’ center building. The new building will be ready by summer 2017 and is projected to host a new crop of students in 2018. FEBRUARY 2017 – VOLUNTEER SEMINAR IN HOUSTON NAMMA organized a special seminar in conjunction with its winter board meeting on the topic of volunteer recruitment and retention. Presenters came from Volunteer Houston and a number of regional seafarers’ centers. It was instructive to discuss trends in volunteerism together. Additionally, Dr. Michael Skaggs presented his findings from research on voluntary contributions of shipping companies for seafarers’ welfare. 46

MARCH 2017 – MEETINGS IN NORFOLK, VIRGINIA It was great for NAMMA to be present again in the Norfolk-Portsmouth area for meetings with local seafarers’ centers. Executive Director Jason Zuidema attended a board meeting of the Norfolk Seamen’s Friend during which he was invited to offer his perspective on trends in the world of seafarers’ welfare. It was deeply encouraging to hear from board members who had given many years of service to seafarers. MARCH 2017 – SAPR SEMINAR AT CMA SHIPPING In parallel to the CMA SHIPPING 2017 conference, NAMMA once again organized a special seminar on seafarers’ welfare. In particular, CMA organizers encouraged NAMMA to host a Sexual Assault Prevention and Response workshop, led by Helen Archontou of the YWCA of Bergen County. Participants learned about the need to eliminate cultures of abuse and about the best practices of first responders. MARCH 2017 – FRENCH-LANGUAGE SEAFARERS’ WELFARE SEMINAR IN QUÉBEC At the end of March, NAMMA was happy to hold its first ever French-language seafarers’ welfare seminar in Trois-Rivières, Québec. Participants visited from several different seafarers’ centers in Québec and welcomed the local ITF inspector. Presentations included a fascinating presentation by Dr. Kaimei Zhang on her research during the MARE Project. APRIL 2017 – MEETINGS IN BOSTON AND NEW BEDFORD, MASSACHUSETTS After a day of meetings in Boston, NAMMA’s Jason Zuidema was invited for a guided tour of the newly remodeled Seamen’s Bethel in New Bedford, Massachusetts. The Seamen’s Bethel – of Moby Dick fame – stands facing the New Bedford Whaling museum, itself a reminder of both the historic importance of whaling and the continued importance of fishers and fishing to our modern economy. New Bedford is America’s leading fishing port. MAY 2017 – NATIONAL MARITIME DAY AND SAFETY AT SEA SEMINAR IN WASHINGTON, D.C. On May 22, Rev. Marsh Drege, NAMMA’s president and Executive Director of Seafarers International House, participated in the NAMEPA Safety at Sea Seminar at the National Press Club during the events of National Maritime Day. Drege focused his remarks on the faithful and creative work that chaplains and ship visitors do to serve seafarers. JUNE 2017 – BERMUDA Executive Director Jason Zuidema travelled to the Bermuda to consult on strategic planning and share information about the wider seafarers’ welfare network with the Bermuda’s Sailor’s Home. The visit itself was a milestone for both NAMMA and the Sailor’s Home, but even more memorable was Zuidema’s trip from Newark to Bermuda aboard the MV Oleander at the invitation of the ship’s owners. The ship is one of the few serving the island. JULY 2017 – MARE PROJECT UPDATE This past year, NAMMA was supported by The Mission to Seafarers to think about the future of maritime ministry and produce tools to assist with future development. Among those tools is MAREVision, a digital display technology that allows centers to post photos and upto-date information from social media feeds. The technology is now running in several centers, including the New England Seafarers’ Mission. 47




Vol. 3, 2017


Publisher JASON ZUIDEMA EDITORS Jason Zuidema and Michael Skaggs CONTRIBUTORS Stefan Franke, Paul Mooney, Michael Skaggs, Jason Zuidema PHOTOGRAPHY Louis Vest, International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network, MTS Seattle, Stefan Franke All photos are copyright NAMMA unless otherwise noted. DESIGN Marie Cuffaro GRAPHICS Austin Schulenburg MARE Project Support MAR

Worldwide Partnership

Opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs of The MARE Report or of NAMMA. Submissions are welcome. Publication is not guaranteed. For guidelines or queries: For other programs of NAMMA or more information on the organization, visit its website at

NAMMA, P.O. Box 460158, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 33346-0158 President REV. MARSH L. DREGE NAMMA exists to provide a network for encouragement, training, and coordination of ministries that serve port communities in North America. THE MARE REPORT © NAMMA 2017 ISSN: 2380-5765 ISBN: 978-0-9905823-3-5 1

Profile for NAMMA

The Mare Report: A Magazine for Seafarers' Welfare Professionals 2017  

The MARE Report (MARE is the 'sea' in Latin) is a magazine published by the North American Maritime Ministry Association to discuss issues a...

The Mare Report: A Magazine for Seafarers' Welfare Professionals 2017  

The MARE Report (MARE is the 'sea' in Latin) is a magazine published by the North American Maritime Ministry Association to discuss issues a...

Profile for namma9

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded