from Paul Cave, Port Chaplain
Christmas Carol Services on board ship
This time of year is a great opportunity for taking Carol Services on board ship. The first one this year came early, on 25 November!
This was on an all-Filipino crewed baulk carrier which had come from Vancouver Canada and was berthed at Tilbury Power Station. I was accompanied by my wife Sheila and also that well-known Thurrock personality Tim Harrold.
The service was attended by most of the crew including the Captain and all the officers. We had the usual Christmas readings read by members of the crew from their newly acquired Bibles which we had given them. These Bibles had been kindly donated by the Bible Society.
Everybody sung a selection of well-known Christmas Carols and we also listened to a very moving song on CD entitled “Mary did you know?”. The address was given by Tim, who gave a very interesting and inspiring summary of the story of the birth of Christ.
All listened with keen interest and showed their appreciation by applauding when Tim concluded.
Last night (Saturday 1 December) we held another Carol Service on another baulk carrier which had come from Australia. The ship was berthed close to my home at Tower Wharf Northfleet. This time the crew were all Chinese, so I enlisted the help of the Chinese Church in Soho.
A group of 14 young Chinese Christians came by train from London to conduct a rather different type of Carol Service! Again most of the crew attended, and even the 2 guys left on watch took turns to come in.
The group started off by playing some party games as an ice breaker. This really broke down any inhibitions and created on open spirit to receive the message of Christmas both in song and spoken word. All the singing and dialogue was conducted in Chinese.
It was very moving to hear old favourite carols sung (including Silent Night) in Mandarin.
We also distributed Christmas parcels on both these ships which had been packed earlier in the week at West Thurrock Chapel. These were all gratefully accepted and laid around the Christmas trees.
Photos, from top to bottom:
- The Filpino crew of the Voyager showing off their newly given Bibles donated by the Bible Society
- The ship’s captain reads one of the lessons while Paul officiates
- Tim and Paul’s wofe Sheila with the crew in front of their presents from the church of Thurrock
- Paul and Sheila with the Chinese crew and team of Christian Mandarin-speakers
- The present-packing team at West Thurrock Chapel
- Mareena Dixey of WTC presenting a package to a grateful recipient