The Seamen's Church Institute (SCI) promotes the safety, dignity and improved working environment for the men and women serving in North American and international maritime workplaces. Founded in 1834, the Institute is a voluntary, ecumenical agency affiliated with the Episcopal Church. Take a closer look…
Jul 14, 2010
by the Rev David M. Rider, President & Executive Director
On Thursday, July 8, new Episcopal Diocese of Long Island Bishop Larry Provenzano and his wife, Jeanne, came to our Port Newark International Seafarers’ Center to visit with seafarers and learn about the ministry of the Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI).
Bishop and Mrs. Provenzano arrived midmorning and toured the active construction site of SCI’s hospitality center. After touring the facility, greeting the Port Newark chaplains, and receiving a quick orientation to port life, we whisked our guests to lunch aboard the juice tanker MV Orange Sky, one of several ships that transit from Santos, Brazil to Port Newark to Rotterdam and back, providing a considerable amount of orange juice for the Northeast. (Guess what we drank with lunch?)
As with most ships, a wide array of nationalities comprised the Orange Sky crew. We spent time with an engineer who was completing his contract that day and awaiting transport to Newark Airport to go back to Ukraine and his family. He shared with us a half-dozen family photos, stories about First Communion, and a palpable desire to reunite with his family. Our brief exchange typifies the pastoral conversation our chaplains share with seafarers every day.
After lunch, Jeanne Provenzano departed with SCI Port Chaplain Megan Sanders for a car-carrier ship visit and tour of the port. Bishop Provenzano and SCI Chaplain James Kollin departed for a container ship, the MV Oleander and its crew of 14 from 6 countries (Croatia, Poland, the Netherlands, Estonia, Canada, and the Philippines). The ship comes to Maher Container Terminal in Port Elizabeth, NJ every 7 days from Bermuda. Onboard, Bishop Provenzano and Chaplain Kollin visited the kitchen, mess room, a cabin, the bridge, and the engine room. They met the captain, the chef, the 3 engineers, and 1 oiler while the crew actively worked in their respective places. The bishop was amazed to see the engine room—especially when he saw the oiler, standing inside one of the piston rings, cleaning one of the huge engines. They greeted two captains, since it was the day for the captain from Poland to depart and hand over command to his relief from the Netherlands. Afterwards, the chef offered coffee, cookies, and extended conversation, sharing stories about his family (wife and 6 children) and work onboard.
Before departing, Bishop and Mrs. Provenzano returned to SCI’s International Seafarers’ Center to reflect on their day and discuss future mission partnership opportunities. SCI has a long history of training seminarians and clergy, and Bishop Provenzano expressed great hope and enthusiasm for future training collaboration. He also discussed the Diocese of Long Island’s desire to begin a new church adjacent to the Red Hook terminal where SCI maintains a cruise ship hospitality center. He saw great potential for future parishioners to connect with seafarers in their immediate neighborhood.
The Diocese of Long Island shares a long partnership history with SCI, especially with our Christmas at Sea knitting ministry. We celebrate wonderful years of collaboration and welcome the Diocese’s new Bishop into our community.