Signs of the Season
A Message from the Executive Director
A dozen guys huddled together, basking in late winter sun. Suitcases were scattered all around, stuffed for a long journey. Seafarers waited at the gate, just like you and I might wait for airport security. But it wasn’t TSA they waited for. Instead, this crew had to be cleared by port security. Once they crossed the threshold, the next leg of their voyage would begin. What a sight it was. A crew change was happening. Twelve seafarers were about to begin a new contract aboard a container ship, while twelve of their companions would finally go home after being at sea for months. It was a sign of hope, right there in the parking lot of Terminal 18.
The pandemic has been difficult for everyone. Seafarers have been especially hard hit. Contracts have been extended without notice. Crews have gone months without shore leave. For many seafarers, there is no end in sight when they might return home. For months, the very thought of touching land with their own bodies has been a luxury they can only imagine. Being home is even more unimaginable. And yet, there are signs the pandemic is finally beginning to break. On a February afternoon, that group of seafarers were a sign of hope.
So are you. You make this vital ministry possible, through prayer, by visiting ships and shopping for seafarers, with handcrafted hats and ditty bags, and financially with your support. Without you, this ministry could not happen. I am grateful for you and for your commitment to seafarers and Seattle Seafarers’ Center. Your presence and persistence are also signs of hope.
That crew outside Terminal 18 was new. So am I. Like that crew, I know I join a community already formed, working and ministering together to care for fellow human beings. I am grateful for each of you. I look forward to serving alongside you and listening to your stories about this remarkable ministry and these courageous seafarers.
In this new season, where do you find signs of hope?
The Rev. Cristi Chapman
Executive Director, Seattle Seafarers’ Center
The Seattle Seafarers’ Center is an ecumenical partnership between the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia, the Archdiocese of Seattle, and the Northwest Synod of the ELCA. The Center is part of a global ministry encompassing over 100 international centers and is an affiliate of two international seafarer ministries: the Anglican Communion’s Mission to Seafarers and the Roman Catholic Stella Maris.