In 1856, as he looked out across the Bristol Channel, the world looked very different to the Revd John Ashley than it does to us today. Ashley saw hundreds of sailing ships at anchor far from the shore. He devoted his life to preaching the Good News of Jesus to those at sea. The ‘Mission to Seafarers’ was begun.
Today the legacy of Ashley’s visionary work continues with seafarers continues with vigour, dedication and energy. There are over 100 ordained and lay chaplains across the world. At sea there are many tragedies and chaplains are there to help. As the chaplain to the port of Dunkirk notes ‘an essential part of the role of the chaplain is to maintain a presence throughout all the different stages of an emergency situation; constant, calm and reassuring to those in need’.
They need our prayers and our support as they work in the margins of our society. As we know St Paul travelled a lot by sea, sometimes successfully, and as we read Acts, sometimes horrendously unsuccessfully (as he was shipwrecked). What was constant in his travels, however, was his faith in Jesus Christ. No matter how hard the situation, he kept focused on Christ, even as he faced death in Rome. It is this perspective that the Seafarer’s Mission gives to seafarers. No matter the storm, that if they have faith in Christ, all will be well.
Read more about the Seafarers Work here.