The Church of South India’s Ministry to the Seafarers was appraised and strategized to meet the changing needs and concerns of the Seafaring Communities. This materialised in a two-day consultation on the ministry among the seafarers, held during 23rd and 24th Feb 2017 at the Mission to the Seafarers Centre (MtS) in Mangalore.
The Leadership of the Church of South India, Mission to the Seafarers and Sailor’s Society were present to discuss the concerns related to Seafarers and fishing communities. On this occasion the dignitaries Most Rev. Thomas K. Oommen Moderator, CSI, Rev. Dr. Ratnakar Sadananda, General Secretary, CSI, Ms. Sandra Welch ,Deputy CEO, Sailor’s Society and Rev. Andrew Wright, Secretary General MtS felt that it was now important to minister to the needs of the families of the seafarers also.
CSI’s General Secretary Rev. Dr. Ratnakar Sadananda, proposed an emphasis on the Marginalised among the Fishing Communities of the South India. In his discourse, he felt that the needs of these vulnerable groups also must be strategically approached. Rev. Paul Burt (Regional Director, MtS) helped the participants understand the global scenario of the shipping industry, the concerns and issues of the seafarers globally.
Translating these concerns into Church’s holistic plan of action, was the challenge posed to the Participants. CSI’s representatives from the 13 Dioceses along the Indian coast participated in the consultation to listen to the voices of the Seafarers, their families, and the marginalised fishing communities.
The participants could empathise with the concerns of the seafarers and develop a plan of action to mobilise the church and community to engage in the following areas; address Health and Spiritual needs of the seafarers and their families, promote awareness on exploitation of seafarers, creating a resource hub for seafarers and their families, promotion of youth engagement in the ministry and facilitating and enabling environment for the Chaplains who minister to the seafarers.
The two day consultation was facilitated by Rev. Asir Ebenezer, Director, CSI-SEVA along with the MtS Chaplains, Rev. Vinayalal Bangera (MtS Chaplain, CSI Karnataka Southern Diocese), Rev. Johnson (MtS Chaplain, CSI Tuticorin Diocese), Rev. Kiruba (MtS Chaplain, CSI Madras Diocese) and Rev. Nithin Dethe, Chaplain of the Mumbai Port from the Church of North India.