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The Mission to Seafarers marks 160th anniversary

The Mission to Seafarers is marking its 160th anniversary. The Sea Sunday celebrations take place at Chelmsford Cathedral on July 10.

The charity plans to celebrate 160 years of caring for seafarers around the world with a special Sea Sunday Evensong Service held in conjunction with Chelmsford Cathedral in Essex.

Sea Sunday is held annually. Mission supporters all over the world come together to celebrate and remember the lives of those who work at sea. Since 1856 the Mission has faithfully served the men and women of the merchant fleet who have dedicated their lives to seafaring; crews who have in turn served their countries during war and through peacetime.

The Revd Canon Ken Peters, director of justice and public affairs, will be preaching at the Sea Sunday Evensong service. He said: “I am delighted that we will be holding a Sea Sunday Evensong service in partnership with our friends at Chelmsford Cathedral for Sea Sunday 2016.

“The Mission to Seafarers is celebrating its 160th year, serving the world’s 1.5 million seafarers and their families worldwide; and although much has changed in shipping since 1856 when our mission welfare work began, there are still many dark corners of the shipping industry where abuse, danger, injury and chronic isolation at sea blight daily lives.

“Chelmsford Cathedral and the Mission both undertake essential outreach support through the Anglican Church in Kenya, Africa so we are highlighting our vital work there and asking for your support and prayers. Seafarers in the busy port of Mombasa are able to come ashore and meet with our local Mission to Seafarers’ chaplaincy team for help, advice, support and friendship. But we can only do this essential work thanks to the deep generosity of our highly valued supporters.

“I do hope you will be able to join us at Chelmsford Cathedral which will be held on Sea Sunday 10 July at 3.30pm, for a celebration of the lives of seafarers. I look forward to meeting you there.”

The Very Revd Nicholas Henshall, Dean of Chelmsford said: “We’re so pleased to be the venue for the national Sea Sunday commemorations. It’s a real tribute to the diocese that the Mission receives such support from Chelmsford for the outstanding work they do globally. We hope to welcome supporters from across the area as well as people who are interested in finding out more about the work of the Mission.”

“Our theme for our anniversary is The Mission to Seafarers, then and now. In 1856, moved by the needs and struggles of the seafarers toiling in the Bristol Channel, The Reverend John Ashley set up a ministry to seafarers, which lay the foundations of today’s Mission.

“The Mission has come a very long way since it was founded. We have a dedicated team of chaplains, staff and volunteers providing vital spiritual, emotional and practical advice to the world’s 1.5 million seafarers. Shipwreck, abandonment, piracy and separation from loved ones are just a few of the challenges seafarers face. No matter what the problem, seafarers know they can turn to The Mission to Seafarers.”

A seafarer’s life is often dangerous and lonely. But it doesn’t have to be friendless and without hope. Mission centres provide a ‘home away from home’ where seafarers can relax and use internet and phone facilities to contact their loved ones, while its ship-visitors provide on-board practical and emotional support to crews.

To download Sea Sunday materials and get involved go to www.seasunday.org. Join in the conversation this year via @FlyingAngelNews #SeaSunday or find the charity on Facebook/themissiontoseafarers.

Chelmsford Cathedral is located at New Street Chelmsford. The Sea Sunday Evensong event will start at 3.30pm and be followed by refreshments and a ‘Sea Tea’ until 6pm.

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