by the Rev. David M. Rider, President & Executive Director
I truly enjoy my regular visits to mission centers of the Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) outside the tri-state region, including Paducah, KY, Houston, TX, and Oakland, CA. Typically, I plan for three full days of internal meetings with staff, public presentations, and visits to SCI’s training customers or donors—all begun with a pre-dawn jog to enjoy the surroundings.
Last week, I made my eighth trip to the Bay Area of California, where SCI assumed management of the International Maritime Center (IMC) in the Port of Oakland last July. SCI’s Bay Area Community Development Coordinator Adrienne Yee (herself a seafarer come ashore) set up an intensive round of meetings, including the San Francisco Bar Pilots, the Port of Oakland (our landlord at the IMC), Matson Navigation Company, St. Paul’s Retirement Home (where more than 50 residents were eager to hear an after-dinner presentation on SCI’s piracy trauma study), Grace Cathedral Nob Hill (another presentation on piracy), port ship agents, and Christ Church Alameda.
I took pleasure in sharing SCI’s story of serving seafarers from around the world. Thanks to a strong ecumenical Bay Area ministry team—including the Catholic Apostleship of the Sea, the Korean Presbyterians, and the Protestant Seafarers Ministry of the Golden Gate—our ship visits, van transits, and hospitality center visits are up more than 20% over last year.
We are connecting with the church and maritime communities in ways that raise visibility, volunteers, and financial support for our mission. Even my local hotel (the Waterfront Hotel, located right in the port) has expressed unsolicited support for SCI’s work.
To celebrate our first anniversary of partnership, the IMC hosts a Casino Night fundraiser on July 1 at the Oakland Yacht Club. Save the date and join us for a great party for a great cause. (Formal invitations go out in a couple weeks.)