calendar December 19, 2009 in News

Churches help seafarers have brighter holiday

Volunteers and seafarers share a Christmas party at the Seamen’s Church Institute in Philadelphia this month. (SCI photo)


About 75 people from eight area churches, including St. Luke Lutheran in Ferndale, helped the Seamen’s Church Institute throw an annual Christmas party for seafarers in port in Philadelphia.

"We had so much food and cookies we were able to deliver goodies to ships the next day," according to SCI board member Henry J. Holcomb.  Earlier, seafarers were treated to a trip to Carousel Village at Indian Walk, Wrightstown, where they selected the huge tree now in the Institute’s chapel.

Seafarers select a tree for the Institute’s chapel. (SCI photo)


"After months at sea, the seafarers loved seeing all the green and learning about our traditions," Holcomb said. "They also visited the village’s animal farm and got to pet the goats, emus and lamas."

SCI advocates for the seafarers from around the world who are far away from home and assists them with shore leave, shopping and other details.  The Institute provides a place for seafarers to find community while in port.

St. Luke Lutheran Church, Ferndale, has grown involved with the Institute since Pastor Bill Rex joined the SCI staff as a part-time chaplain.