Fourteen brave souls associated with the Mission to Seafarers boarded a small boat at Horseshoe Bay to journey to Mariners’ Rest during the Vancouver visit recently of the international Secretary-General of the Mission to Seafarers to ring “eight-bells” in memory of departed sailors.

The year 2006 marks the 150th anniversary of ministry to seafarers by the world-wide Mission to Seafarers and our local mission marked this important occasion with a series of events recently.

  The Rev. William Pike, Senior Port Chaplain at the Vancouver Mission to Seafarers, and retired Toronto Archbishop Terence Finlay, at Mariners’ Rest, a provincially designated site for burial of ashes at sea. (Glen Mitchell photo)

Mariners’ Rest, a provincially designed site for burial of ashes at sea, is located in Howe Sound in Thornbrough Channel off the west coast of Gambier Island. The Mission is the custodian of records for Mariners’ Rest.

Once there, the group participated in a ceremony of remembrance and blessing followed by Capt. Horton’s ringing “eight-bells” in memory of the departed on the ship’s bell.

The group took local marine artist Captain John Horton’s Steveston lifeboat to the site, a small islet set aside as a heritage reserve that is an official marker for the committal of ashes at sea. A stainless steel cross marks it as consecrated ground.

Burial at sea services of ashes are conducted offshore, not on the islet. No one may go on it, or add or secure anything to the islet. It is located in Thornborough Channel off the west side of Gambier Island.

Special guests including retired Toronto Archbishop Terence Findlay (Canada’s liaison bishop to the Mission to Seafarers London), his wife Joan Findlay, and Rev. Canon Bill Christianson, the Secretary-General of the Mission to Seafarers who is based in London.

The Rev. Canon Bill Christianson

Other events commemorating the Mission’s anniversary included  annual salmon barbecue held at the Mission’s Vancouver Harbour location on Waterfront Road.

On Sunday, June 18, at Christ Church Cathedral, Senior Port Chaplain Rev. William Pike celebrated at the Eucharist where Archbishop Findlay preached and Canon Christianson read the Old Testament lesson.

The Mission also operates a centre at Robert’s Bank and that was where the Archbishop, the Secretary-General, Board Chair Glen Mitchell and others travelled to meet with volunteers who serve at Delta Port.  All enjoyed Canon Christianson’s remarks, some delightful cakes and Phoebe Hamilton’s very strong tea!

The Mission benefited from a business luncheon sponsored by the Vancouver Port Authority on Monday June 19 that was held at the Terminal City Club in Vancouver. 150 individuals from the maritime community, churches and representatives from our sister mission in Seattle/Tacoma listened to an entertaining yet serious keynote address by Secretary-General Christianson, and raised some much needed funds for the Mission’s work.