On Tuesday 23 February 2016, Transformation Thurrock attended a prayer meeting at the Seafarers’ Centre in Tilbury Freeport.
Present were John Ironmonger of West Thurrock Chapel, Tim & Vera Harrold representing Transformation Thurrock, as well as representatives from the Sailors’ Society, London City Mission and the Queen Victoria Seaman’s Rest (QVSR).
Son of a former minister at Socketts Heath Baptist Church, Chris Tuck of the Sailors’ Society, led the meeting with a series of scriptures to provoke relevant prayers for the work. He read out a number of stories of seafarers, a couple of which were heartbreakingly poignant. This ministry of compassion to the stranger is vital.
Alex Campbell of the QVSR also spoke about the fresh vision for the Seafarers’ Centre and the desire of the various organisations that work in unity out of the Centre to give it a new lick of paint and create a means by which seafarers can visit the building at any time of night to use the facilities, especially the Wifi (currently it closes overnight).
The three chaplains based at the Seafarers’ Centre were present. They are (from left to right in the photo):
- Joern Hille from Germany – Deutsche Seemanns Mission & Queen Victoria Seamen’s Rest
- Frans Sahetapy from Indonesia – Sailors’ Society
- Wojciech Holub from Poland – Apostleship of the Sea
These three guys visit ships docking at Tilbury and elsewhere along Thurrock’s stretch of the Thames.
The mission in the docks has been active for many years – the mission to seafarers who come from all around the world to our borough. So coming out of this meeting is a renewed desire for connection, conversation and coordination with the local church.
The former Grays Leaders’ Prayer – now Thurrock Leaders’ Prayer – group used to meet regularly in the Seafarer’s Centre. The Centre, in its current and former buildings, hosted 24-7 Prayer, a number of Christmas Carol services, and the Thames Gateway Prayernet’s inaugural gathering in February 2009 (seven years ago!).
And who can forget Paul Cave’s famous annual appeals for woolly hats and toiletries Christmas boxes for seafarers?
Transformation Thurrock is committed to helping the Chaplains, the Centre and the TLP will re-establish a close relationship, through:
- the Chaplains joining the TLP for prayer as little or often as they wish
- the TLP gathering at the Centre on a regular basis (once some decorating has been done!)
- new volunteers being recruited from the local church body to help run the Centre
This is an exciting moment and the phrase ‘It’s a new day’ was used more than once. After all, Thurrock Borough’s motto is, ‘By the Thames to the Peoples of the World’.
We hope you will want to join us on this journey.