The Episcopal Church’s 77th Triennial General Convention gave opportunity to showcase North America’s largest mission to mariners at a gathering of representatives of the nation’s 14th largest Christian denomination. In the Indiana Convention Center from July 2–11, event staff asked visitors, “What do you know about the Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI)?”
SCI hosted an interactive digital display in the large exhibit hall to give visitors a hands-on experience of the Institute’s various programs. The presentation toured Convention-goers through a virtual towboat and led them down the length of a string of river barges. Visitors to the booth also watched the survivor of a piracy hijacking tell his story. Watch the complete playlist of videos at http://smschur.ch/scigc77.
Employees from across SCI’s five centers engaged with visitors, who included Episcopal Church bishops, officers and other individuals. Many of the callers to the booth appreciated the work of the Institute through an established relationship of volunteerism or SCI’s Mariner Friendly Church program. Others new to SCI’s ministry certified themselves as “In the Know” at the Institute’s Convention exposition.
Visitors expressed keen curiosity about miniature knit hats perched on top of glass bottles of iced tea at SCI’s booth. The smaller versions of SCI’s Christmas at Sea watch caps feature as part of a project to launch this November. At the 2012 Convention, SCI asked volunteers to knit one or more of these “TEAny Hats” to place on top of Starbucks tea bottles. The project aims to draw attention to the work of the maritime labor force delivering goods from distant places. To see some volunteers with their completed hats, search for the hashtag #1200TEAnyHats on Twitter. In total, SCI collected over 230 knitted hats and gave away 1,500 kits to assemble these miniature hats at home.
The General Convention, the primary governing and legislative body of the Episcopal Church in the United States, meets regularly once every three years. For more information about the General Convention, visit http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/ens/category/gc77/. Affiliated with the Episcopal Church, SCI works in an ecumenical partnership of ministry to the global maritime workforce.