The Mission to Seafarers: Port of Thunder Bay
Updated 16 Sep 2017
Each year 50 to 130 ocean-going vessels come to Thunder Bay with crews from India, Philippines, Poland, Ukraine, and many other countries. English is the working language on these ships.
The purpose of the Mission to Seafarers is to promote the spiritual, moral and physical well being of seafarers and their families world-wide. The Mission to Seafarers is an Anglican Mission, with stations in every region of the world. It operates the Seafarers' Centre located at Keefer Terminal, 100 Main St. (extension of the Harbour Expressway). Christian principles and the practice of the Anglican Diocese of Algoma and the Mission to Seafarers of London, England guide the Mission. About 25 volunteers work for the local Mission to Seafarers.
While a number of people volunteer as a Director or assist in various capacities, we are primarily looking for people who would like to help as a Watch Keeper and/or a Driver.
Watch Keeper Visit with seafarers, assist them in contacting their families by selling phone cards, SIM Cards, souvenirs, stamps and post-cards; distributing clothing, Bibles and magazines; and assisting seafarers in any way possible.
Driver Drive a 10 passenger van, pick up seafarers at their ship, take them to the Seafarers' Centre and/or shopping and sometimes to Fort William Historical Park or Kakabeka Falls and return them to their ship.
People can be both a Watch Keeper and a Driver, while some prefer to be one or the other.
Skills, Knowledge and Attitudes
Watch Keepers should be able to use a calculator. Drivers require a G license, and acceptance as a driver depends on the insurance company not disqualifying a driver. Volunteers must support the purpose of the Mission, but they do not have to be Anglican, and they must be able to get themselves to the Seafarers Centre; it is not on a bus route.
The Seafarers' Centre is staffed with 2 to 3 volunteers. The Chaplain is responsible for training and supervision of Watch Keepers and Drivers and is in overall charge of the operation of the Seafarersí Centre. The Board of Directors oversees him.
The season is March 25 to December 20, with the busiest times in May and October to December. Volunteers are scheduled one night per week; and they are called in if a ship is alongside, which is about 60% of the time. Allowance is made for people who go away or need time off. Volunteers who can be flexible about the night they can come in will be given more opportunity to help. If volunteers are available to do more, they may take on additional tasks such as office work, maintenance, being a Ship Visitor, being a Person-in-charge or helping with fund-raising.
The gratitude of the seafarers is the main benefit.
Interested persons are invited to contact the Chaplain. The Chaplain will interview them at the Seafarers Centre. A visit to the Seafarersí Centre will be arranged when seafarers are in to see what goes on. It they are interested in becoming a volunteer, they will be accepted for a 3-month probationary period. They are given an orientation session, a port tour and on-the-job training, and a handbook has been written for them to use as a resource.
The Chaplain and designated volunteers provide on-going supervision. Volunteers are invited to attend the monthly Eucharist and lunch on the first Wednesday of the month at 12:10 p.m..
Contact Canon Ed Swayze, Chaplain, (807) 626-2571.