Our Mission


Founded in 1834, the Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) promotes the safety, dignity, and improved working environment for those serving in North American and international maritime communities through pastoral care, training, advocacy, and thought leadership.


SCI will leverage the interdisciplinary strengths of our institution by emphasizing teamwork among our employees so we can positively impact mariners’ quality of life.

SCI will take an integrative approach connecting our work in maritime ministry to other fields, like law, education, public health, and public policy.

SCI will continue to provide thought leadership, domestically and globally, on the maritime workplace and mariner quality of life.

The Seamen’s Church Institute is a qualified 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. SCI’s EIN number is 13-5562356.

A Closer Look at The Seamen’s Church Institute


The sea conjures up a lot of images — tall-masted ships, mythical monsters, novels by Joseph Conrad, Ernest Hemingway, and Patrick O’Brian — mostly things reminiscent of days of old. And terms like “sailor”, from the time when ships were powered by sail, and “seaman”, when all seafarers were men, sound like old-fashioned words. But most of us don’t realize that the primary means of trade in the 21st century is the world’s waterways. And international commerce, our entire planet’s economy, depends on professional mariners. While life at sea is mysterious and unknown to many, it most certainly is not a thing of the past. Today, seafaring men and women play an important part in the lives of ordinary people. The first word in SCI’s name, coined over a century ago, refers to people who, by any name, deserve our respect and support as essential workers in today’s economy.


Did you know that most mentions of the word “church” in the Bible refer to faith communities, not physical buildings? When Paul, an early apostle, calls the church the “Body of Christ”, he refers to the people acting as hands and feet to carry out Jesus’ teachings. The work of the church happens as often outside a place of worship as it does inside. Countless faith communities, including organizations like SCI, demonstrate God’s love by offering hospitality and care to those in need. Some folks may wonder if this is a means of recruiting new members, but SCI supports maritime workers regardless of their background or religion, endeavoring to serve the needs of all mariners.


To some, the word “institute” implies a sterile laboratory, its scientists disconnected from civilization as they conduct experiments. But there is another kind of institute. SCI engages with the world and incorporates real-life experience into its mission, always ahead of the trends that shape life on the water. SCI uses seafarer centers and trusted, one-on-one relationships with mariners to anticipate and meet their evolving needs. The many facets of SCI’s institutional work include pastoral care and seafarer welfare services, continuing education specifically for professional mariners, and advocacy for mariners’ welfare providing professional legal services free of charge. SCI understands the challenges mariners face and speaks out for their rights. Throughout its history, as well as today, SCI has helped shape legislation making the world a better place for mariners.

SCI’s name celebrates its history and unbroken service to mariners since 1834. Mariners are the backbone of global commerce, and the Seamen’s Church Institute proudly supports hardworking people who make our modern way of life possible. Our mission would not be possible without the help of individuals, churches, corporations, and foundations that work with us to serve the needs of mariners, present, and future. Take a closer look and discover the Seamen’s Church Institute.