We are living in unprecedented times. All of us have been affected and upended by the spread of COVID-19. I want to assure you that we at The Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) remain steadfastly committed to our mission and responsibility to the men and women we serve in the maritime industry.
Our staff and volunteers are actively pursuing new ways to expand our support during this worldwide crisis, while adhering to the safety recommendations and restrictions issued by government and health officials. Most of my SCI colleagues are adjusting to new routines as working from home becomes the new normal. Thus far, we have been able to mobilize our remote workforce with much success and remain connected and determined to continue our important work.
SCI Chaplains do not have the option to self-isolate any more than crews do. SCI’s Port Newark Chaplains are reaching out to seafarers around the globe and our River Chaplains are doubling their output of “morale boxes”, hoisting drop offs by rope at lock and dam sites and personally making deliveries to shipping company warehouses.
We expanded our ministry of hospitality and presence by initiating a “Stay Home and Knit” program. Christmas at Sea staff reached out to hundreds of our needlework volunteers across the U.S. using social media as a platform to share ongoing projects and maintain our shared sense of community.
Our e-learning team is expeditiously developing an Infectious Disease course to be offered free of charge for mariners and together with our instructors are using this time building for the future of SCI.
We are sensitive to the physical, emotional, and financial impacts that current events are having on the world stage; however, for 186 years, SCI has been, and will continue to be, present for mariners, in good times and bad. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your loved ones and we’d like to reiterate that in the face of this global pandemic, we are here to serve you and our mariners.
I know many of you want to support our front-line professionals. The most effective and safest thing you can do for our mariners is to donate now. Your gift today will help us fulfill our mission.
We are truly grateful for your continued commitment to SCI.
The Rev. Mark S. Nestlehutt
President & Executive Director