My maternal grandfather served in
submarines during and after the first World War, finally finishing on the China
station in 1926 or thereabouts.
We have always loved the sea and watched
trawlermen setting off for the fishing grounds to bring us our fish. We have
cruised with Princess Line and seen lines of people at the purser’s desk
wanting the daily tip removed from their bill! There seemed to be little
thought given to the men and women working in the bowels of the ship who never
came into contact with the passengers.
We have also been very impressed by the hard work and dedication of the staff at Immingham. Our thoughts and prayers are with all the men from the poorer countries who deliver us our food and the goods that feed our very privileged lifestyle and we realise the debt we owe them.
Every time I recall my 35 years at sea in the Royal Navy, it has to include the welcoming hand of Stella Maris.
My first such memory came in Genoa in 1969. I was only 22 at the time and still I can remember the warm welcome.
Within minutes of arriving. I was given a real in-depth knowledge of the area as well as information on faith services. It was like a home-from-home.
I’ve visited many Stella Maris welcoming posts over the years – too many to mention – and I can honestly say this: talking to the team was always inspiring and interesting. They just seemed to grasp the need for seafarers to connect with their faith.
It’s friendly beyond imaginable and soon you are no longer a stranger. If there was a Stella Maris post on arriving at any port, I knew I was off to a good start.
Now it’s pay-back for what Stella Maris did for me during my time at sea.
When it comes to Sea Sunday, I feel privileged to speak in my own parish and other churches about how we can provide much-needed practical and spiritual assistance to seafarers.
If it’s the Rotary Club in Alloa, I stress the importance of supporting our charity.
The response is always positive; people really want to know more and they do want to help in whatever way they can.
When I think back to Genoa all those years ago, it motivates me to try and go the extra mile for Stella Maris.