New England Seafarers Mission, the oldest continuous ministry in the Evangelical Covenant Church, was highlighted in a story by the Boston Globe for its efforts to help vaccinate crew members of cargo ships from around the world.
The article notes that only 20 percent of the 1.6 million seafarers around the world have been vaccinated, and many come from countries with low inoculation rates.
Stephen Cushing, executive director of the mission, said, “It’s the global maritime business that keeps the world running. “We owe it to them to welcome them to our country and to give them whatever care we could possibly give them.”
Many of the crews have been unable to leave their ships for as long as a year because governments have imposed restrictions due to the pandemic. The Seafarers Mission and partnering ministries are boarding the ships when they arrive in port to do the vaccinations.
The captain of one ship said his crew, made up of people from around the world, were excited to receive the vaccines because now “there is no need of quarantine at the country of arrival.”
Each year, the Seafarers Mission, founded in 1880, serves 25,000 ship staffers from as many as 167 countries. The ministry provides spiritual guidance as well as a variety of other services that include everything from receiving Amazon packages to helping them contact families.
“This brought it to a whole different level,” Cushing said, “caring for their soul and their body in a global pandemic.”
To read a previous Companion story on the ministry, see Harbored.