Christmas Appeal 2021

For many of us, it will be business as usual on 25th December! Or will it?

“Happy Christmas.” How important it is to all of us to be able to say those words to those we love. To our families, our friends, our neighbours, most especially on Christmas Day. We do so by giving Christmas cards, by phone or even virtually via Zoom or similar (as we have all got so used to doing). Best of all, we do it face-to-face.

Many of you reading this letter may indeed feel that the worst is behind you. The restrictions which changed life so dramatically might be almost forgotten. However, the empty shelves in many of our shops, and endless “supply chain difficulty” narratives in the news, tell a vital story. The impact of the temporary blockage of the Suez Canal by the Ever Given (to which our teams in Egypt, and subsequently elsewhere, were able to make supportive visits) underlines that story. We are all utterly dependent on our heroic seafarers, for many of whom the challenges and difficulties brought about by the pandemic remain acute and stressful.

As we approach a second COVID-Christmas, crew and their families will be facing it with some trepidation. This year, like last, promises to be particularly hard, with many depending on one of our vital Christmas ministries – delivery of personal shopping at the gangway by our staff and volunteers. Imagine not being able to do your own Christmas shopping? For many of us, it will be business as usual on 25th December (although we may experience shortages because of the haulage crisis).

With shore leave continuing to be deeply problematic, crew are dependent on Wi-Fi on board ship or, if they are in port, on being able to hook up to a local connection. While growing numbers of ships and ports do have such access, many do not.

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If you would like to support the work we do, please click on the button below to donate to this appeal.


Most recently, we have provided strong broadband connections in our Centres and delivered data cards as part of our ship visiting, as well as delivering MiFi units to vessels while in port, enabling seafarers to use their own phones and laptops. That is always vital work – but surely most especially at Christmas – and particularly so after 21 months of difficulty, hardship, and anxiety, well beyond those of normal times.

Having internet access makes it possible for seafarers to connect when no other way of communication is possible. “Dear All”, wrote the crew of one ship in a note to our local team, “thank you very much for WiFi!!!!!!!! It was really nice to have talking with our families. You are the best!!!!!!!” The exclamation marks tell the whole story.

We are thankful they have had a bit more visibility during these last months. Long, long may that continue. Never has there been a more important time to reach out to them in thankfulness and kindness. Please help us do that this Christmas and into 2022. For many, whatever the weather, it is still a bleak midwinter and, to misquote my favourite carol, we can all “do our part”.

Supporters, like you, have played an important part over the past 21 months in enabling us to help seafarers in the many ways I have shared with you today. Without your support, we would not have achieved a fraction of these good works. I thank you personally for this generosity.

We want our seafarers to continue to receive this high-level assistance as and when they need it, so please donate whatever you can this Christmas, helping us make one more Christmas just a little more bearable for seafarers.

In profound thankfulness to you all and with my very best wishes for the happiest of Christmases.

The Revd Canon Andrew Wright
Secretary General, The Mission to Seafarers

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