My monthly message often marks new beginnings. I am glad to be able to announce three more this month.

Firstly, on May 13th we will be formally launching our new WeCare initiative. Aimed at improving communication between seafarers and their families, this is an educational training programme designed to be delivered through companies and our family support networks. In the first phase, this will involve primarily the Philippines network. This has been substantially upgraded and developed in recent months, building on the wonderful energy and creativity of a work inspired by some marvellous people.

There are two parts to WeCare training.

The first part is a course that has been written and trialled around safe use of social media. As WiFi is increasingly available on-board ship on a continuous basis (and more and more ships now have this facility) it brings inevitable challenges. To receive upsetting or difficult news when you are at sea, far from home, and totally unable to respond or help can be deeply upsetting. This is just one of the issues addressed. Social media can bring wonderful opportunity, but it can also be destructive. How can it be used safely and responsibly? I have seen the new course which looks excellent.
The second training component will be around financial literacy. Both these subjects have arisen from what we and our chaplaincy teams have heard from seafarers and from questions the industry is asking. The UK P&I Club is funding this exciting new venture, and this promises to be an important partnership. We are extremely grateful for all their help in this their 150th year.

Secondly, on May 18th we begin our trial Superyacht chaplaincy. Our Cyprus chaplain, Ken Wiseman, is going to spend three months in Palma, Majorca. We have become aware of need in this very different sector so we will be offering support on an experimental basis and look forward to measuring the outcomes.

Finally, we are about to launch our new website. You should be able to try this out from around the start of June. The website is important.  It is a vital source of information for seafarers and for supporters – and potential supporters! It promotes our work and is one important way in which we can tell our story. It should help connect our global work. We aim for it will be user-friendly, attractive, informative and comprehensive. Of course, much will be added and amended as time goes on as it evolves.

I spoke last time about John 21. After a fruitless night’s fishing, the disciples were called to try putting their nets out on the other side. The result was an enormous catch! I believe it is right for MtS to be looking to new models of ministry, to fresh ways of working. Do you hear that call as well? After all we seek to live in partnership with a vibrant Creator!  I am so pleased about these new things and look for many more, however small and fledgling.