Missions to Seamen (Vancouver, B.C.)

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Authorized form of name

Missions to Seamen (Vancouver, B.C.)

Parallel form(s) of name

  • Missions to Seafarers

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During his holiday in 1835 at Clevedon, an islet in the Bristol Channel, John Ashley, a young clergymen, learned that the people living in the surrounding islets as well as the crew of the fleet off the coast of Wales would greatly appreciate the opportunity to attend a religious service. He determined to devote his life to the men of the sea. In 1837 a Society was formed called the Bristol Mission. In 1845 the name was changed to the Bristol Channel Seamen's Mission with John Ashley as its first chaplain. The cutter "Eirene" was built to visit seagoing vessels. Services were held on board when necessary. In 1856 a preliminary meeting was held in London to form a national society, Missions to Seamen Afloat, at Home and Abroad. Two years later the original Bristol Channel Mission united with the London society to form Missions to Seamen. The society grew around the world into a far-flung;organization. The Missions to Seamen in the Diocese of New Westminster evolved around three branches: Vancouver, North Vancouver and New Westminster. The terms of reference of the Society are: to promote the spiritual, moral and physical well-being of seafaring persons without distinction of race or nationality in community with the Missions to Seamen, London, England; to provide recreational facilities and sponsor recreational activities in the Diocese; to acquire the rights, title and interest in any real or personal property owned by Missions to Seamen organization, including the property held in trust in its name by the Synod of the Diocese of New Westminster; to act in accordance with the principles and received practices of the Anglican Church of Canada and those of the Missions to Seamen of London, England; to raise money for charitable purposes by public and private subscriptions and collections. The members of the Society are: the subscribers to the constitutions and by-laws, persons who made outstanding contributions to the work of Missions to Seamen, and honorary members appointed by the director. Members other than life and honorary members are required to pay an annual subscription. The affairs and property of the Society are administered by a Board of Directors of 12 members. The Bishop of the Diocese is director of the Society ex-officio. The officers elected are: the President, the Vice-president, the Secretary and the Treasurer. The director has the authority to appoint ad-hoc committees to carry out special duties. The director appoints also the Senior Chaplain, Chaplains and Lay Readers in consultation with the Missions to Seamen, London, and after obtaining the approval of the Bishop of the Diocese. In the event of the dissolution of the society, the money or other assets remaining after payment of all creditors have to be delivered to the Diocese of New Westminster to be used for promoting the spiritual, moral and physical well-being of seafarers. The Synod of the Diocese of New Westminster acknowledges the aims, objectives, and work of the Missions to Seamen of London, England in Canon XXVI. The Synod recognizes the Bishop's right to appoint Chaplains to branches of the Missions to Seamen within the Diocese. In 1913, the Bishop appointed a Committee on Missions to Seamen of four members: two members to be elected by the Synod and two by the Chaplain and Superintendent (31st session of the Synod). The Committee reports annually to the Synod and provides an audited financial statement for each year. The first Seamen Institute was established in Vancouver in 1900 by the Rev. G. Fiennes Clinton, close to St. James' Church on Gore Avenue, Vancouver. In 1904 the establishment became part of the Missions to Seamen Society. Three women's auxiliary groups - the Harbour Light Guild, the Senior Lightkeepers, and the Watch Ashore - arranged social activities and raised money for sailors coming from around the world. The North Vancouver Missions to Seamen branch began with a project in 1934 when the St. John's Men Club was looking for a suitable project to provide a shelter for sailors who spent some hours of leave on the shore. Under the leadership of Canon H.P. Barrette, the Mission became a reality early in 1935. It was incorporated under the Societies Act and authorized by headquarters in London to fly the house flag well known to sailors everywhere as the "Flying Angel". The interest for a Missions to Seamen branch in New Westminster was aroused in 1928 among the members of Holy Trinity Men's Club as a response to the ever-increasing number of seamen visiting the port. A Seamen's Clubroom was opened. In May 1929 the link with Missions to Seamen headquarters was established and the "Flying Angel" international symbol and emblem was flown over the club. The parish of Holy Trinity Cathedral offered substantial support to Missions to Seamen in New Westminster by offering rent free location to the quarters of the organization.


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