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Chaplain's Message

Concerning Our Ship Visiting 

Dear Friends,

We hope you are all keeping well. Three weeks ago, we had to make the decision to suspend our ship visiting until the end of March due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Unfortunately, the case numbers of those becoming infected in the Tokyo Metropolitan area and its surrounding prefectures including the City of Yokohama are increasing each day, and the concerns for an “overshoot” of the number of cases could happen at any time. For that reason, citizens in the Tokyo Metropolitan area and its surrounding prefectures are being asked to refrain from going out or going to Tokyo except in the case of essential needs.

As a result, sadly, we have decided to extend our ship visiting suspension until April 15th. Regarding resuming our ship visiting, we will reassess it on April 15th based on future propagation. But we are still assisting seafarers that need help through digital chaplaincy which enables us to contact them in need via social media/internet. We are buying things from the city and bring it back to seafarers on board ships. Please contact us if you need any help.

Keep safe and healthy wherever you may be at this difficult time.

We very much look forward to seeing you again soon.

God bless you all

A Pastoral Message from the Chaplain Regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Threat 

Dear Friends,

I hope you are all keeping well. Sadly, two weeks ago, we had to make the decision to suspend our ship visiting till the end of March due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). But we are still available to assist any seafarer that needs help. We can go and buy things from the city and bring them back to you on board. Please contact us if you need any help.

The cherry blossoms’ transition from bud to bloom in Yokohama has just begun. But until now we don’t see improving transitions in the coronavirus threat. All day long we hear bad and sad news. The World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11th declared the coronavirus a pandemic. In line with WHO declaration, many countries have declared national emergencies to fight the coronavirus. As a result, panicked shoppers around the world have emptied grocery store shelves as fear of the coronavirus rises. The coronavirus pandemic is causing an economic pandemic. Many sports games and activities have been cancelled or suspended. Coronavirus fears also impact religious gatherings and practices across the world. Indeed, the coronavirus pandemic is driving our lives into states of fear and anxiety.

Coronavirus and the fears it brings remind me of the gospel story (Mark 4:35-41) of the disciples riding through a rough storm, facing fear, and in their fear waking Jesus Christ up from a deep sleep. As you may recall, in this passage the seafarers face a deep fear when big waves come. The only thing they can do is to wait out the storm for the calm to return. We all live in fear. It is a part of our lives, and we need to have the courage to resist being overcome by our fears. The grace and courage to control fear comes from our Faith – our trust in God. Fear can in fact be the beginning of real faith for us. We cannot control the waves of fear, and they may seem to be too large to overcome. But with faith in the Lord, the storms will calm, and we will be able to “surf” the waves of fear rather than allow them to swallow us up.

Thus, in these days of fear and anxiety, let us keep our faith to surf the waves of the fear of the coronavirus. Let these words of Psalm (57:1) inspire us to keep the faith: “Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, until the destroying storms pass by.”

Lastly, my thoughts and prayers are with all seafarers and their families who continue to suffer due to the coronavirus and I offer my sincere condolences to families who have lost loved ones due to this present pandemic.

Keep safe wherever you may be at this time.

I very much look forward to seeing you again soon.

God bless you all, 

Simon

Chaplain, The Mission to Seafarers Yokohama