House of Bishops Donates Phones to SCI

Dec 11, 2008

by the Rev. John F. Hartman, Director of Church Relations

When the bishops of the Episcopal Church went to the Lambeth Conference this summer for worship, study, and conversation, they went equipped with a Church-issued cell phone. But, upon returning to the States, the cell phones were no longer needed. So, what do you do with over 100 cell phones?

Well, anyone who has ever been involved with the Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) knows that one of the important roles of our Port Chaplains is to help seafarers stay in touch with loved ones back home. Many of the seafarers coming into the Port of Newark do not have access to cell phones while on the high seas or when arriving in port. SCI fills this need by lending cell phones to seafarers while they are in port. This communication link is vital.

As Director of Church Relations for SCI, I visited and preached at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Somerville, New Jersey and talked about the use of cell phones by seafarers. Little did I realize that sitting in the congregation was Neva Rae Fox, the Public Affairs Officer for The Episcopal Church, who just happened to be in charge of the cell phones that were given to the House of Bishops.  She eagerly volunteered to give the cell phones to SCI for our ocean-going seafarers.

Within the next week SCI was given over 50 cell phones by Ms. Fox from the House of Bishops. The phones are now in the hands of SCI’s Port Chaplains to be used by seafarers from all over the globe.

A big seafarer thanks to the Episcopal House of Bishops.