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WESTERN SOLOMONS SEAFARERS MARKED INAUGARAL SEA SUNDAY
 
MELANESIAN MESSENGER 080804-1
August 4, 2008

[Melanesian Messenger - Melanesia] Seafarers in the Western Solomons for the first time this year marked what will now become for them an annual Sea Sunday event at Noro on New Georgia.

Until Sunday 27th July 2008, only Honiara has hosted such and event.

Both merchant seafarers and fishermen of companies operating out of Noro industrial township and around Western province turned up in numbers to attend the worship service with family members, friends, church dignitaries and guests.

Sea Sunday is an annual international event normally marked on the second Sunday of July to remember and thank seafarers for their work and the church’s ministry to offer them spiritual and practical support.

The inaugural programme started with a colourful parade by seafarers and guests led by a local panpipe group and then a lively ecumenical worship service. Churches are represented by their choir, youth groups and their church priest, pastors, ministers and elders.

United Church Minister Rev. Qariqari preached at the service encouraging seafarers that being seafarers is a call they must acknowledge and thank God for.

“Life at sea is full of challenges given its nature, however God will always be there for you since he puts you there,” he said.

President of Noro Town Council Mr. Ishmael Kuvi in his address following the service thanked the Mission to Seafarers office for such a wonderful programme recognizing the great men and women who navigate, toiled and labored with unmatched sacrifice for the service of mankind.

“Noro Town Council will continue to support the work of the Mission to Seafarers in the Western Solomons and in particular the development plan of the Seafarers Centre in Noro town.

He said Noro is blessed with seamen and ships both local and overseas therefore recognizing and valuing their unprecedented service through different ways is paramount.

Fr. Mark Graham, Assistant Mission Secretary of the Melanesian Board of Mission of the Church of Melanesia spoke for the office of the Mission to Seafarers.

While local Mission to Seafarers office is run as part of the ministry of the Church of Melanesia, support from other sister churches and shipping and fishing operators in this ministry he said can offer insurmountable assistance to effectively meet the needs of both our local and overseas seafarers.

Seafarers are our nation’s lifeline, but they live hard and often lonely lives on our behalf to ensure that our daily needs are met he said.

“The importance of this ministry is that it gives a quality of service, provides our seafarers friendship, build mental and social relationships regardless of who or where they come.”

He encouraged the churches and its people in Noro, government authorities and shipping and fishing industry in the Westen Solomons to look after and care for their seafarers.

Chaplain to the Solomon Islands Mission to Seafarers Fr. Wilson Mapuru said he was delighted with the way the programme was organized and thanked companies and individuals in Noro for their unfaltering effort.

Meanwhile Noro is soon to host the national Seafarers Centre. Equipment for the centre have already arrived but is awaiting additional funds from the International Transport Federation in London, England to build a much larger space for recreational activities.

Seafarers Centre is where seamen both local and overseas can meet and socialize while on land.