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.