From shore to ship reaching out to communities at sea
It’s so hard to be distanced from each other during this Covid-19 crisis, but what if you are anchored on a ship, thousands of miles from home, with no idea when things will change. Those were the thoughts of Dan Perkins when looking at the large ships, static and dotted out to sea in Gerrans Bay. Dan, who worships at St Gerrans, is a volunteer coastguard with the Portscatho Coastguard Rescue team.
Dan spoke with Revd Jill Edwards, and churchwarden Anne Wesley, and together thought how great it would be if they were able to reach out from shore to ship to let them know they were not alone. They wanted the crews to know that they were thinking of them and to invite them to join them with their online services.
They took their idea to local manager, Tom Ebbens, a Senior Coastguard Operations Officer, who is also chaplain to the Coastguard Services and a second year ordinand with SWMTC. Tom agreed and in turn spoke to the Falmouth Coastguards operations centre.
Sending a message on behalf of the people of Portscatho and Gerrans
Earlier this week, a message was sent to the ships in the bay on behalf of the people of the villages of Portscatho and Gerrans, through the digital satellite communication system of HM Coastguard:
Dan said it was a message both the Coastguard’s Multifaith Chaplaincy and Falmouth coastguard operations centre were more than happy to help with. He was delighted that the idea had become a reality saying:
“The lockdown is hard on everyone, but it must be really hard on people caught on the other side of the world with no end date for when they’ll be back with their families.
“We’ve been looking at one of the vessels anchored out in Gerrans Bay for weeks now and decided we wanted to reach out, as a community, and let them know we were thinking of them.”
Shore to ship to let crews know they are held in prayer
The message was sent to the captains of four ships, the Hoegh Pusan, The Arklow Ruler, the Pagadder and the EEMS Transporter. We will let you know how they respond but it’s wonderful that a sense of community can be extended in these strange times. No matter the outcome, the crews on those ships will know that the people of Gerrans and Portscatho are thinking of them and holding them in their prayers.
As Dan says, “We’ve just had Easter, Ramadan has just begun, and I believe faith is really important in times of uncertainty. We’re hoping they can join us.”