The Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) marked a milestone in service to mariners this year. The Institute is 175 years old. Various celebrations, including some notable commendations from the likes of the Maritime Association of the Port of New York and New Jersey and SUNY Maritime College contributed to SCI’s banner year. These commemorative events culminate in an upcoming Gala in New York on November 11 at The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine.
The Cathedral shares a superlative title with the 175-year-old Institute. They both endure as North America’s largest institutions of their kind. The Rev. David M. Rider, SCI’s President and Executive Director, believes that the choice of venue for the Gala carries meaningful symbols. He says, “At its beginnings, SCI’s founders conceived of the idea of a floating chapel to reach out to the seafarers in their community. They started small, but, over the years, with support from friends and benefactors, the Institute grew. Today, SCI’s service to mariners stretches across the world.”
The Gala celebrates the Institute’s growing presence in maritime ministry. SCI’s Special Events Coordinator Carrie Christensen tells of bringing to life a tribute to SCI’s initial floating chapel in the enormous 11,200-square-meter Cathedral. “We’re filling the Cathedral with images from our extraordinary history,” says Christensen. “The transformed space will house a visual showcase of SCI’s 175 years of service.”
SCI invites supporters from all over the country to see and hear the Institute’s story. Doors to SCI’s 21st-Century floating chapel open at 6:30 pm for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. The dinner program commences at 7:30 pm featuring the Cathedral Organ’s State Trumpets and a performance by The Johnson Girls, an all-female a cappella song group praised by folk singer Pete Seeger as “first rate.”
A Note from the Special Events Coordinator: The 175th Anniversary Gala replaces a special event normally hosted by the Institute in the wintertime, the Christmas at Sea Gala and Auction.