Digital ministry aims to boost support for seafarers

The following is the text of a news release from The Mission to Seafarers:

(LONDON) — The Mission to Seafarers and the North American Maritime Ministry Association (NAMMA) are launching a new project titled MARE, which aims at enhancing the ability of seafarers’ welfare agencies to connect with seafarers using innovative digital tools.
The MARE project is an exciting new initiative which will be delivered by NAMMA and funded with strategic support from The Mission to Seafarers, one of the world’s leading international Christian seafarers’ welfare charities. NAMMA is a broad association of Christian ministries founded in 1932 that provides encouragement, advocacy and professional development to its members. By founding the MARE project, NAMMA’s key concern is to equip maritime ministries to use the Internet as a primary opportunity to broaden their support service for seafarers.
The MARE project will serve three purposes: First, to provide a tool that will actively help seafarers make the connection with shore-based seafarers’ welfare personnel. Second, to produce and distribute social media on seafarers’ welfare that is shareable by local maritime ministries. And, third, to produce high-quality, Internet-based professional development tools for those involved in maritime ministry.
Dr. Jason Zuidema, executive director of NAMMA and MARE project leader, said, “Like many other traditional social service ministries, our members have had great success using seafarers’ centers and when they visit crews on board ships. But it is not always clear how to serve those who live more and more online. NAMMA’s MARE project will help develop new digital tools so that all ministries can continue to be effective.”
The Rev. Marsh Drege, executive director of Seafarers’ International House and chairman of the board of NAMMA, said, “A central commitment of our maritime ministry association since its founding in 1932 has been to collaborate with others for the benefit of local seafarers. Nothing shows our values better than both doing something that benefits member ministries and doing it with an international partner, The Mission to Seafarers.”
The Mission to Seafarers works in over 200 ports worldwide and in places delivers services alongside the NAMMA network in North America. Commenting on the importance of developing digital tools for maritime ministry, the Rev. Andrew Wright, secretary-general, said, “We are delighted to partner with NAMMA in this exciting project. Technology has changed the way seafarers interact with their loved ones and we have made much progress in adapting to ensure our support remains relevant and effective to their needs. We hope that the MARE project will inspire all maritime ministries to try new methods of service delivery that will enhance seafarers’ well-being.”
To better understand the projects of NAMMA and its partners, you can view the inaugural edition of the project’s publication, the MARE Report, by clicking here.

By Professional Mariner Staff