We installed a new Chaplain for Mission to Seafarers in Scotland last night – in Grangemouth. Rev Tim Tunley will spend part of his time working with other Chaplains in Grangemouth and the rest building up a team of people who will do ship-visiting in the ports around the Scottish coast. Dream job, don’t you think?
As I did what I do – and reminded people that this kind of ministry can be lonely – I thought about the day or two I spent with John Hopper visiting ships in Leith and elsewhere. I loved it – wouldn’t necessarily want to do it every day. Clambering around on the gantries at Hounds Point tanker terminal just below the Forth Bridge on a dark night in December isn’t everybody’s idea of ministry … It reminded me of the purity of ministry which is in all chaplaincy. The distinction between ‘people who belong and people who don’t’ just disappears. Most of the people you meet are strangers whom you will never meet again. So you go up the side of the ship with no idea what you will meet at the top – welcome, indifference, hostility. You either rejoice in that or you don’t.