13 July 2016
Member of the month: Sailor’s Society
When did Sailor's Society start?
On 18 March 1818, a public meeting took place at the City of London tavern, Bishopsgate Street, London. The minutes acknowledge the significant role seafarers played in the UK's national security and commercial greatness and the meeting concluded that no efforts were being made to promote their "religious instruction, moral reformation and their eternal happiness".
That day Sailors' Society was born with a clear mandate to advance the Christian faith, alleviate poverty and educate seafarers and their families.
We will be 200 years old in March 2018!
What do you do?
We are an international Christian charity working in ports around the world where the need is greatest. Our network of chaplains come alongside seafarers on ships and in ports to provide Christian ministry, welfare care and practical support.
Merchant seafarers and their families are at the very heart of our work: we want to make sure their voices are heard, troubles listened to and needs met.
Where do you work?
We work in more than 100 ports across at least 26 countries. We seek to serve where the need is greatest at home, in port and at sea. We recently appointed six new chaplains in India and have a presence in Europe, South America and Asia.
We have been working in the Philippines since Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013 to rebuild homes, school classrooms and medical centres and provided fishing boats to generate income to get the local seafaring community back on their feet.
What do people say about Sailor's Society?
We often receive lovely notes of thanks from those whom we serve. Recently a seafarer whose marriage had broken up due to the long time he spent at sea, thanked us for our support and closed with the words: "I want you to know that you have touched my heart. I was so touched and thank you. I know God will always there to guide me. Thank you for bringing joy to my life and to others."
How can Christians in the UK get involved?
Our mission, alongside Christians and churches in the UK, is to present the good news of the gospel and bring hope and transformation into the lives of seafarers. Our prayer is that we would have a meeting of minds in mission and explore together the mission field that is on so many of our towns and cities shorelines. The best way to begin this connection is through prayer.
Awareness can also be raised through our innovative Church Connect friendship scheme and churches can hold a Sea Sunday service in their church at any time of the year.
We also have volunteers who knit hats, advocate in their local town or distribute our literature in their community.
Why are you a member of the Evangelical Alliance?
We joined the EA due to our exciting common aim to advance the Christian faith, and because friendship with other Christians is good for the gospel. We can share our prayer needs across the Alliance network and be prayerful for others, learn from our fellow members and we are sure that together we can achieve more in His name than we can alone.
As a member of the Evangelical Alliance, Sailors' Society is one of 600 organisations supported by the Alliance. We facilitate members' initiatives and campaigns and offer support to increase their impact and provide training for organisations on how to engage with the local government and media.
If you would like to become a member of the Evangelical Alliance as an organisation, church or individual, you can find out more here.