Mary, one of our parliamentary interns shares some thoughts on the interns’ day trip to Southampton docks to see the work of Stella Maris chaplains first-hand.
As part of our induction week at the Bishops’ Conference, we travelled to Southampton to learn more about the charity Stella Maris and the fantastic work they do to help fishermen and mariners.
We were fortunate enough to be joined by one of Stella Maris’ chaplains, Gregory, who kindly picked us up from the train station and took us to the charity’s headquarters. We started off the day with a short meeting to discuss the foundation of the charity and its core guiding principles. Stella Maris aims to help maritime workers across the globe by providing both spiritual and practical support. As seafarers predominantly work far from home, they are particularly vulnerable to exploitation and abuse at the hands of their employers. Stella Maris aims to help them through offering spiritual and emotional support as well as advocacy and informational services. They also supply prayer resources, reduced price sim cards and warm winter clothes, generously knitted by volunteers. Founded in Glasgow in 1920, the charity’s network now extends worldwide, enabling them to work at an international level.
Meeting the people who worked on these ships was truly inspiring as we were able to hear first-hand about the immense impact that Stella Maris’ support has upon their lives.
After visiting Stella Maris’ headquarters, we were taken to Southampton’s docks to see one of the ships that they had previously worked on. We were fortunate enough to be allowed to board the ship and speak to its crewmembers. The majority of seafarers that Stella Maris serves are from a diverse range of countries such as the Philippines, India, Russia and Ukraine. We got the chance to speak to mariners from a wide range of countries and hear about the exciting places that they had visited as part of their profession. Meeting the people who worked on these ships was truly inspiring as we were able to hear first-hand about the immense impact that Stella Maris’ support has upon their lives.
Following on from this, Gregory drove us around the docks to show us how crates are loaded and unloaded from ships. This sparked an interesting discussion surrounding global supply chains and the vast number of jobs linked to the maritime industry. The worldwide economy is heavily reliant upon international trade and the import and export of goods, with Britain being no exception. This highlighted the essential work completed by seafarers, as well as the importance of the support that Stella Maris provides to them. We deeply appreciated the opportunity to learn more about how goods are transported on a mass scale around the world and the work being done to protect those who provide this vital service.
The worldwide economy is heavily reliant upon international trade and the import and export of goods, with Britain being no exception. This highlighted the essential work completed by seafarers, as well as the importance of the support that Stella Maris provides to them.
After our exciting day in Southampton, I am looking forward to engaging with more Christian charities throughout this internship and learning more about applying the teachings of the gospel to everyday life and through social action.