When AEP River Operations gathered their senior Gulf leadership on Wednesday, April 15, 2009, at the New Orleans Airport Hilton to hear from the company senior management team and share strategies for the future of the company, the Seamen's Church Institute was there to share its story of Ministry on the River. At the invitation of Mark Murphy, Gulf Project Manager, the Rev. Michael Hammett, SCI Chaplain for the Lower Mississippi River Region, met with the attendees and staff a display table in the break area outside the main meeting room.
AEP River Operations President Mark K. Knoy, a member of SCI's Board of Trustees, introduced Chaplain Hammett to the group at the beginning of his "State of the Company" address, telling the audience that the work of SCI chaplains on the inland waterway system was one of the positive steps forward for the industry. He expressed pleasure in having a chaplain based in the Gulf region, and invited those present—representing shoreside management, senior boat officers, and shipyard/barge service management—to share with their employees the Ministry on the River program and encouraged them to utilize MOR chaplains.
As Knoy and the rest of the AEP River Operations senior management team shared 2009 goals and strategies, one recurring theme was the goal of becoming the "employer of choice" in the industry. Reflecting on this goal, Chaplain Hammett said, "When making boat visits, I like to stress to every crew of every company that Ministry on the River is on the river by the invitation of the industry. The most important resource for any towing company is their trained, motivated and dedicated crews. Our ministry as chaplains is to provide spiritual care and hospitality as a major component of the total care of these crews."
In personal appreciation of his leadership and support, Chaplain Hammett presented Mark Knoy with a hand-crafted Anglican Rosary, made by Ministry on the River volunteer Cheryl Warren of Baton Rouge, LA. The Anglican Rosary is a form of prayer beads, used as a devotional tool to allow the mind, body, and spirit to participate in meditative prayer. Chaplain Hammett has written a guide to assist in using the Anglican Rosary for spiritual formation.