After assuming management in July of the Bay Area Seafarers' Center in the Port of Oakland, CA, the Seamen's Church Institute (SCI) hosts a special event at the International Maritime Center (IMC) next week to mark a new partnership in ministry to seafarers. The event celebrates the latest chapter in the life of the Bay Area Center and the uninterrupted vigor with which operations in the Port continue. An Evening in the Port, a fundraising event on Thursday, September 24, 2009, welcomes longtime supporters of seafaring ministry along with those curious about new goings-on at the Bay Area's IMC.
As the largest and most comprehensive mariners' service agency in North America, SCI, headquartered in New York, coordinates chaplains and volunteers who provide assistance to men and women of the maritime transportation industry. The Institute also provides continuing maritime education and legal advocacy. SCI's newest base of operations in the Bay Area expands the network of centers across the United States which welcome mariners far away from home.
The President and Executive Director of SCI, the Rev. David M. Rider, has been traveling to SCI's new Bay Area Center several times over the past few months, supervising the integration of the IMC into the 175-year-old Institute's operations. Rider says, "With a strong team in Oakland-some familiar faces and some new-we acted to secure a smooth transition ... to continue the tradition of meeting vessels with the warm welcome they've come to expect in the Bay Area."
Rider feels that SCI grows and strengthens its mission with the recent expansion to the West Coast. SCI will potentially see seafarers at several different points in their journeys. He says that the integration of the Bay Area Center to SCI's network will offer a continuity of services to mariners and allow SCI to connect with important activities on the West Coast. The Port of Oakland, the US's fourth busiest container port, saw 1,928 cargo vessel arrivals in 2008.
"We feel that this expansion will benefit mariners worldwide," says Rider. "Like a ship heading for new waters, SCI needs the aid of a good crew, including the thousands of supporters that make our work possible. Our inaugural fundraising event on the 24th calls ‘all hands on deck' for this exciting new phase of ministry to seafarers."
SCI's International Maritime Center is located in the Port of Oakland at 4001 7th Street. The event, An Evening in the Port, begins at 6:00 p.m., and tickets start at $75 per person. To reserve a space, make a contribution to the seafarers' ministry in the Bay Area, and more information, contact Adrienne Yee, Bay Area Development Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (510) 839-2226.