PBS Visits SCI’s Port Newark Ministry

Dec 1, 2010
by the Rev. David M. Rider, President & Executive Director

The Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) was honored this week with a two-day visit from PBS Producer Saul Gonzalez and his film crew. Mr. Gonzalez approached SCI to capture the unique dynamics of port ministry for a show called “Religion & Ethics Newsweekly,” a television program devoted to the news of religion and spirituality.

Within a week of SCI’s Port Newark International Seafarers’ Center reopening, the PBS team was able to interview seafarers using our new facilities. The film crew shadowed SCI chaplains as they made ship visits, transported seafarers, and engaged in pastoral outreach. On their visits, they had lunch with seafarers, chatted with captains, and filmed a worship service aboard a vessel delivering road salt from Chile.

Most importantly, the PBS team captured SCI’s pastoral outreach to seafarers. At SCI’s Port Newark Center, seafarers, port workers, and truckers make daily use of our resources—the Internet, telephones, and business services, and, notably, SCI’s pastoral staff with whom they can share the human concerns of the lonely and sometimes dangerous reality of seafaring life. The final video segment will potentially shed light on this reality with the stories shared from our ministry.

The piece will air early in 2011 and occasionally re-run throughout the year. SCI’s website will publish the scheduled date once determined.

SCI expresses particular appreciation to New York Container Terminal and the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey for security clearance and safe access to ships at berth.