Members of the LESS ONE ladies fellowship group in Portglenone are sending support to seamen who dock in Cork via the Seamen’s Christian Friend Society worker, Colin Jenkins, who visited the group recently to talk about his work.
Ballymena native Colin explained: “Most of the sailors I meet are on board their ships for many months at a time. Few of them have Wi-Fi on board which means they have very little contact with friends and family. This really hit home to me recently when a captain I was speaking to said that because of nine-month contracts, 30 years at sea would mean him spending only five years back at home with his family.
“It’s not an easy life being a seafarer and some of the crews I met are living in appalling conditions. On one occasion I boarded an LPG tanker with some presents and found 16 Filipino crew in a bad state. A stark message on the notice board read: ‘No provisions…food for today, but none for tomorrow…no soap etc. Please help!’ We were able to bring them more presents and groceries, for which the crew were overcome with gratitude.”
Colin went on to say: “Our work is invaluable and I find that seafarers really appreciate what we do as chaplains in the Seamen’s Christian Friend Society. They are deeply grateful for the times we pray with them and for the conversations and bible telling them about Jesus who loves them, no matter where they are in the world.”
“Crew members also appreciate the gifts of food and toiletries we take on board, especially the woolly hats, scarves, gloves and jumpers which they all love to get. All these gifts wouldn’t be possible without the support of many individuals who donate them and who knit cosy items of clothing, all year round. Our work relies heavily on donations from individuals and churches, so it really is a partnership and we are ‘a link in the chain.”
The LESS ONE ladies lent a hand by knitting a large number of hats, blankets, baby clothes and teddies for his work on the ships in Cork. Colin is pictured receiving these from the group members and their leader, Angela Whyte.
He expressed his thanks to everyone who knitted and provided these.
To find out more about the Seamens Christian Friend Society, log on to: https://www.scfs.org/port/4/Cork