Mission to Seafarers hosts worldwide conference

Wednesday May 6th 2009

Delegates at the Mission to Seafarers Consultative Forum at St Anne's Cathedral, Belfast, included, from left: Paddy Glover, Bishop of Bloemfontein, South Africa; Bill Christianson, Secretary General, Mission to Seafarers; Canon Douglas Goddard, Chaplain, Mission to Seafarers, Belfast; Viti Whippy, Suva, Fiji; Simon Dharmaraj, Tuticorin, South India; The Rt Rev Richard Frith, Bishop of Hull, Chair of the Forum; Tom Heffer, Secretary General Designate, Mission to Seafarers and Sinon Ro, Pusan, South Korea.Worldwide representatives of the Mission to Seafarers gathered in Belfast from May 11-15.

This is the first time since its formation in 1999 that the Mission to Seafarers’ Consultative Forum has met in Ireland – previous conferences have taken place in South Africa, Toronto and England.

Canon Douglas Goddard, the Mission’s Chaplain in Belfast, said 40 delegates would attend from 10 regions – Japan, Asia, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, the Middle East, Europe, Canada, the Celtic Fringe and the USA.

They delegates are staying in the Stormont Hotel, Belfast, and the business of the conference is being conducted at St Anne’s Cathedral on Tuesday May 12 and Wednesday May 13.

There will also be an opportunity for the visitors to relax and get to know Northern Ireland. On the Wednesday evening they will be treated to dinner with an Irish theme at the Mission to Seafarers’ offices at Belfast Port, before heading to the Dockers Club for a Celtic evening with Irish music and Irish dancing.

They will spend Thursday sight-seeing on the north Antrim coast.

Canon Goddard said it was wonderful that the conference was coming to Belfast. “They are all looking forward to the week. I have had an unbelievable number of emails from all over the world, some from people I don’t even know, and we will hope to show them real Irish hospitality when they are here.”

The Mission to Seafarers, a charity and part of the Anglican Church, offers help and support to seafarers who face loneliness, danger, and separation from loved ones. Further information about the work of the Mission can be found on its website.

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