Lent Appeal 2021

Seafarers have been amongst the most heroic of key workers during this pandemic.

Download the Lent Appeal booklet here. 

They have kept vital supplies moving, despite facing unprecedented and often appalling hardships. These have included the crew change issues that have kept so many of them working long beyond their contract ends. And yet, in a recent survey, when asked if they felt valued in their role, only 8% of crew strongly agreed. 28% disagreed, suggesting they did not feel valued at all. This is so sad. “Sea blindness”, as it is often called, has been a reality for a very long time.

You are amongst the few who can fully appreciate our absolute dependence on these men and women. Fewer still appreciate the enormous challenges they face, and the sacrifices made by them and their families. I have now been closely involved in maritime welfare for 14 years. Right from my early days, it was the “hiddenness” of seafarers that really struck me. This can have all kinds of implications. That is why this Lent we have taken the theme of “Seeing the Unseen”. My letter kicks off the season, and our Annual Lent Appeal. Much more will follow on-line in the coming weeks and download the Lenten booklet here.

At the end of October 2020, the Nave Andromeda came into sight off the south coast of the UK. It started to behave erratically and clearly, something was wrong. Best information seemed to suggest that stowaways had become violent and were threatening to take over the ship. The crew had apparently been forced to lock themselves in a safe place. A military operation regained control of the vessel and it proceeded to Southampton. For the crew, it must have been terrifying.

Waiting in the port was John Attenborough, one of our most experienced chaplains, having served in Mombasa, Antwerp and Medway/Tilbury. “I just knew I had to visit them”, he said. The ship was put in a restricted area with two layers of security, so it was not even possible to get to the gangway.

Eventually, after three days of trying, John was finally allowed on board.  He wrote, “The Captain wanted to speak with me and for 30 mins I just sat and listened to him retell the story. He just wanted to talk it through. As Captain with such responsibilities, it was important for him to have the space to share his story. I also spent time with some of the crew and handed out some sweets and free SIM cards. When I was about to leave the ship, the Captain said to me, “Thank you for bringing humanity back to my ship.”

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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.

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John is one of so many chaplains who, together with our wider staff and volunteers, dedicate their lives to making sure that crew feel visible and valued. The parable of the Good Samaritan is often cited in connection with The Mission to Seafarers. In this story, while many pass by, seemingly oblivious to the need and humanity of the man lying beaten in the road, help comes from an unexpected quarter. The Good Samaritan recognises a fellow human being in need and responds with concern, practical help and generosity. The life of a no longer invisible person is transformed.

Every day our teams around the world are dedicated to ensuring that what so often goes unseen is made visible. We seek to make crew feel valued. We are committed to ensure a swift, practical and compassionate response to need. In doing so we not only respond with a basic humanity, but we hope to share something of the love of God.

Never has our work been more needed than now, with COVID-19 still raging, shore leave severely limited and contracts extended. Anxiety, uncertainty and exhaustion are creating high levels of distress. This Lent, we would be so grateful if you can help us continue to be Good Samaritans to these magnificent men and women.

Your financial support has carried us forward before in moments of crisis, for which we are most grateful, but seafarers need our help more now than ever. We are still in the midst of a raging pandemic, and every pound you donate is important to those we serve.

Given that Lent is a time for reflection, in the booklet, you will find the various ways in which you could consider helping. There are many opportunities. Please give a few moments to reviewing your ongoing support. Without you, we can do nothing. With your help, we can continue to make the unseen seen!

Thank you so very much,

The Revd. Canon Andrew Wright

Secretary General

The Mission to Seafarers

Donate to our Lent Appeal

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

Donate
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