Yokohama Port Chaplain
After a period of just over two years working overseas, we are pleased to announce the return of Andrew Dangerfield as our Port Chaplain in Yokohama. Father Andrew has been working for the Mission in the Middle East and Hong Kong since leaving Japan in 2018. Please get in touch if you need his assistance during your visit to the Port of Yokohama.
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THE MISSION TO SEAFARERS JAPAN CELEBRATORY MARITIME EVENT
The MtS Japan celebratory maritime event was held on October 13th at Yokohama Christ Church with the presence of HRH Princess Anne, who is the president of MtS. HRH Princes Royal was joined by her husband Sir Timothy Laurence, along with other guests including diplomats and businessmen representing Japan's shipping industry, who all attended the service and celebratory reception.
The Mission to Seafarers has a proud tradition of supporting seafarers here in Japan since 1880s, when a small centre was opened in the fast-growing port of Yokohama, initially as a refuge from alcohol but quickly widened its purpose to offer a welcome to all seafarers. Since those early days, the Mission has expanded its presence to Kobe and Tomakomai and today, all three locations offer a range of services for visiting seafarers, irrespective of nationality, race or creed.
Revd Canon Andrew Wright, Secretary General of MtS, said: We are very proud that the Mission to Seafarers Japan is part of our global family of welfare centres, chaplains, staff and volunteers in over 200 ports around the world. For well over a century, seafarers visiting Japan have benefited from their support and it is an honour to celebrate their contribution to the wellbeing of the men and women serving at sea."
Ms Lisa Bond, Priest’s Warden of YCC, said: “Today was a special Celebration of Mission to Seafarers, and it was a privilege to welcome Her Royal Highness Princess Anne, Sir Timothy Lawrence and Ambassador Madden along with guests from near and far to help in the celebration. It was a particularly beautiful celebration -- made all the more so -- because of the beautiful sunshine and smiles of relief on the faces of everyone present. Even the special police remarked at how they were being awoken all through the night with alarms going off and loud speakers blaring warnings in Japanese. But even so, they were all smiles and quite happy to be at Yokohama Christ Church today.
Primate Nathaniel Uematsu spoke with us about his personal connection to Mission to Seafarers. His grandfather, the second son of a Nichiren Buddhist family, wanted to become a "hero" and make a lot of money. Back during the middle of the Meiji Period, one way to do that was to become a sailor. On one of his trips transporting goods to Europe, the empty cargo ship he and his fellow seafarers were on (over 150 seafarers) ended up in rough waters during a very bad winter storm. The vessel was damaged and he and his fellow seafarers ended up staying in England for 5 months as the ship was being repaired. It was at that time that his grandfather met a missionary with the Mission to Seafarers and from that time on he began to study the Bible with the missionary every day. His grandfather subsequently was baptized and well ... though he never became the "hero" he had first imagined ... he did in fact become an Anglican priest and began to spread the Gospel in Japan. Primate Nathaniel no doubt traces his own Christian beginnings to the shipwreck and care and dedication of the missionary in England more than 100 years ago. That service and dedication is what Mission to Seafarers is all about, and I pray that we can continue to support the mission and the chaplains and volunteers that reach out to the seafarers that visit the ports here in Japan.
Today, I would like to personally thank the other Vestry members for all their hard work in helping with the planning and executing of today's service. Special services always take special preparation and care, but today's was a little beyond the normal special preparation. Even so, the service went without any problem, and in Japanese style prompt and timed exactly so that Her Royal Highness could proceed with her other activities this afternoon. A special thanks to Yuka Ito for organizing the joint choir with Mr. Agata from YSKK and for working with the choir and congregations to make this service meaningful for all who were there. THANK YOU EVERYONE!”