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Christmas Appeal 2013
Journeying through the wilderness. I am Douglas Duncan, the new Port Chaplain for Aberdeen and the North East of Scotland. I have only recently come to realise the importance of seafarers and the work they do at Christmas and throughout the year to ensure that we receive the provisions and presents in our homes which we often take for granted. We rely on voluntary contributions to sustain our work. Please make a donation today and help us continue our work supporting seafarers
Aberdeen port has over 40 supply ships entering and leaving in any one day. What is it like on board some of these ships? There can be much loneliness, as the crew are often away from their families for as long as nine months. Furthermore, often the captain can feel isolated because he has no one to turn to. Only last week I met the crew on an Australian cargo ship which was in port for three days, loading specialist components for an oil company and was heading back to Australia. The return journey would take them 40 days and reminded me a little of Moses being 40 years in the wilderness. I supplied them with some DVDs, a box of books, some religious items, prayer cards, and blessed their journey. Their Moses wilderness would be the high sea and the journey round the perilous coast of West Africa and the Cape of Good Hope - but they went in high spirits.
I recently visited the Shetland Islands which lie 110 miles north of our mainland. Last Christmas the weather on the islands was so bad that ships were unable to gain access to the port for over a week and supplies in the supermarkets were depleted. Eventually, emergency rations had to be supplied. So these islanders truly understand the value of shipping and the job seafarers do to provide us with what are now our everyday items, especially at a time like Christmas.
There is little provision made for foreign seafarers visiting Shetland. However, I was pleased to discover that parishioners from the Catholic church offer hospitality to visiting seafarers, some of whom join them for Mass. Seafarers often lack basic provisions, such as phone cards, and transport to the nearest shops, which are some way from the harbour area. So, following discussion with the local priest and several parishioners, a small team of ship visitors will now provide ongoing assistance to the seafarers that arrive in the remotest part of the northern isles. They see it as giving back and thanking the seafarers for the valuable job they do.
So, as you enjoy the comfort of the Christmas festivities onshore, please remember in your prayers those seafarers who risk so much to bring us the food and other goods we enjoy along with the energy that heats our homes and fuels our cars. We need your donations to continue our work supporting seafarers. Please also pray for our port chaplains, ship visitors and volunteers, as they serve our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Matthew 9:37 – Jesus said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few”. Thank you for your ongoing support. (Follow this link to read about Doug's ministry with AoS)
We rely on voluntary contributions to sustain our work. Please make a donation today and help us continue our work supporting seafarers