Sense of purpose ‘palpable’ at Mission to Seafarers All–Ireland conference

Friday November 8th 2013

Canon Ken Peters, The Rev Willie Black, Nicky Wynne and the Rev Colin Hall-Thompson at the conference.Mission to Seafarers, north and south, held their first All–Ireland conference in October explore how they could work closer together.

For many years The Mission to Seafarers in the north (British) and south (Irish) of Ireland have operated on a separate basis. With a view to having a more unified approach and refreshing the outreach of Mission to Seafarers in the island of Ireland, The Mission, north and south, asked International Headquarters in London, to facilitate this all–Ireland conference to explore how they could work closer together for the better care of seafarers and representation of this ministry in Ireland.

They met on October 17 and 18 in the City North Hotel, Gormanstown, County Meath under the guidance of Canon Ken Peters, Director of Welfare & Justice, and Nicky Wynne, Director of Development.

More than 20 staff and volunteers from north and south attended and participated with great enthusiasm.

The Northern Ireland team: Colin Wilmont, the Rev Colin Hall-Thompson, Geoff Launchbury, Robert Sykes, and Sam Gardiner.The Rev Colin Hall Thompson said: “The first day the concentration was on local and global development of the Mission to Seafarers, particularly relationships between headquarters and the local ministry. Of particular interest was a case study on redeveloping a port centre ministry. This threw up strategic thinking on issues including finance, staffing/volunteering, ship visiting, relationship with port authorities and the community round about etc.

“The second day majored on regionalisation, particularly discussing the idea of the island of Ireland becoming a region within the ‘Global Family’ of Mission to Seafarers with a regional council overseeing this concept.

“We were delighted to welcome the new Liaison Bishop, Michael Jackson, Archbishop of Dublin, to assist us with these deliberations. Having been brought up to date (over lunch) with our deliberations, he quickly grasped the situation in the Port of Dublin and the potential of an all–Ireland Council.”

Colin continued: “We are very grateful to him for accepting the position of Liaison Bishop for Mission to Seafarers in Ireland, for giving of his time and taking our deliberations to an even deeper level with his shared thoughts. He gave his blessing to the concept and challenged us to deliver an outline document appropriate to governance.

“The presentations of Nicky Wynne and Canon Ken Peters inspired the group immensely, perhaps particularly how much we can achieve in the care of seafarers through practical and spiritual support, and with the help of the United Nation’s ‘Maritime Labour Convention 2006’ which was inaugurated on the 20th August 2013. The fellowship and sense of purpose between the representatives south and north was palpable.”


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