A New Season
September 24, 2022
Friends, There is news to share about leadership transitions at the Center. I have accepted a call to serve as the rector (priest in charge) of Saint David's Episcopal Church in Friday Harbor. My first Sunday there will be November 6. I am excited about the opportunity to serve in a congregational setting again, but this transition is also filled with many other emotions, too. For months, the call to go back into parish ministry has been growing within me. Rather than waning, that call has only grown stronger with each passing month. While joy comes with this new call, so does some grief. I will leave an amazing team of people who care deeply for the wellbeing of seafarers. You inspire me, and you have been incredible colleagues and partners in the ministry we have shared together. I am also filled with gratitude and awe for the ministry we have accomplished together. Oh, how much has happened during that time, too! When I first started in February 2021, we were fully engulfed in the pandemic. While ship visits were happening, most of those took place at watch stations or on the gangway. Crew changes were rare, and no one had access to vaccines or shore leave. Only a handful of people were engaged in the work of the Center. Today, life at the Center is so different. Now, crews are able to start and end their contracts as planned. Visits happen at the gangway, over lunch in the crew mess, or in the car on the way to the mall for shore leave. Over 8,000 seafarers have received their vaccines in Puget Sound, and we will always be the first port on the West Coast of North America to have offered those! Seafarers now receive ditty bags or other gifts throughout the year. Thanks to the Port of Seattle, we are now in a new, modern location on Harbor Island. Thanks to the Lanterman Foundation and ITF, the Center now has two new hybrid minivans. And thanks to you and your passion for seafarers, over 40 faith congregations and about 40 people are now regularly involved with this ministry. You have made all this possible! I am also grateful to the Board and to the Rev. Mr. José DeLeon. The Board has appointed Deacon Joey as the interim executive director while the board engages in a search process. Joey has been a remarkable partner with me in this ministry, and he has taught me so much. He is the heart of this work! Joey will have a great team alongside him on a day to day basis, too, including Julia Cooper, Emily Dudek, Kevin Schultz, and Beth Williamson. Joey will begin in his new role on October 3rd. Each of you has taught me so much. More importantly, you have shown seafarers that they are beloved children of God. That is the most fundamental gift one person can offer to another human being. Thank you for offering that gift so freely and with remarkable grace.
Cristi+ The Rev. Cristi Chapman Executive Director, Seattle Seafarers Center Friends of the Center, The board of the Seattle Seafarers Center will miss the leadership that Cristi has provided. In a short time, she has taken the mission forward and lived up to our mission to welcome and care for seafarers who visit Puget Sound ports. We are all happy for her new position as parish priest at Saint David’s but will miss her dedicated spirit that she gave so well to the Mission. The board will put in place a plan that will keep the Center working until a new director is found. We look forward to your continued support for our mission. Saying good bye to Cristi is not easy, but we know that Christ has moved in her life in a way that blesses many. David Stockert President, Seattle Seafarers Center Board of Directors