Seafarers’ ministry goes digital

By ACNS staff
Posted Jan 28, 2016

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Anglican mission agency Mission to Seafarers has teamed up with the North American Maritime Ministry Association to launch a new international digital center for Seafarers’ Ministry. The MARE project (pronounced mar-a) will bring together a number of seafarers’ ministry organizations to deliver support, information and professional development using social media.

The Mission to Seafarers (MTS) say that MARE has been designed with the aim of “enhancing the ability of seafarers’ welfare agencies to connect with seafarers using innovative digital tools.”

The North American Maritime Ministry Association (NAMMA) is a “broad association of Christian ministries . . . that provides encouragement, advocacy, and professional development to its members.” It has developed the MARE project “to equip maritime ministries to use the Internet as a primary opportunity to broaden their support service for seafarers. Funding for the initiative is being provided by the MTS.

“The MARE project will serve three purposes: first, to provide a tool that will actively help seafarers make the connection with shore-based seafarers’ welfare personnel. Second, to produce and distribute social media on seafarers’ welfare that is shareable by local maritime ministries. And, third, to produce high-quality internet-based professional development tools for those involved in maritime ministry,” the MTS said.

“We are delighted to partner with NAMMA in this exciting project,” the MTS secretary general, the Rev. Andrew Wright, said. “Technology has changed the way seafarers interact with their loved ones and we have made much progress in adapting to ensure our support remains relevant and effective to their needs.

“We hope that the MARE project will inspire all maritime ministries to try new methods of service delivery that will enhance seafarers’ wellbeing.”

Jason Zuidema, executive director of NAMMA and the leader of the MARE project, said: “Like many other traditional social service ministries, our members have had great success using seafarers’ centers and when they visit crews on board ships. But it is not always clear how to serve those who live more and more online. NAMMA’s MARE project will help develop new digital tools so that all ministries can continue to be effective.”

The Mission to Seafarers works in more than 200 ports worldwide. In some places in North America it delivers services alongside the NAMMA network in North America.

  • Click here to read the inaugural edition of the MARE Project’s MARE Report.