THE SEAFARERS’ Centre, near the harbour, aptly named ‘The Haven’, has been up and running for a few years now.
The chaplain to the centre, Peter Donald, has spoken at various venues about the project and I have heard him at the Baptist Church and our Nextstop Group.
It has been, and continues to be, very successful with seafarers using the computer room, which has proved a great attraction for them, the reading room, telephone room, games room and, on occasion, the counselling room.
The first time I went along to The Haven was in 2009 to gift them one of my paintings of fishermen. Sister Elizabeth Moran and another volunteer were on duty and Sister Elizabeth immediately thought of placing the painting in the telephone room where it still is. I was very impressed with the rooms, which include a kitchen and a toilet, as well as the aforementioned rooms.
Later I wondered whether to put my name down as a volunteer to be on the duty rota but something held me back. Was it fear? Fear of the unknown, fear or walking home, perhaps in the cold and dark, late at night from an area I was unfamiliar with?
But the feeling and wish to do something persisted. Then I remembers a piece from the Bible, and there is usually a scripture reading to fit any situation in life. There are many situations where it states to “fear not, for the Lord is with you” but perhaps the most appropriate in this case is from 1st Peter ch3 v13 and 14, which says: “Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, do not be frightened.”
So I put my name down as one of the emergency volunteers who can be called on to fill in if someone cannot manage to do their stint. In the four or five times I have done duty, it has been good to meet some of the lovely seafarers, many of whom can speak good English, make them a cuppie on occasion or offer them a sweet or a seafarers magazine or sell them a phone card. They are also very appreciative of the woollen hats which different groups of women in the town knit for them. Altogether it is a very worthwhile project.
So, if there is something you feel led to do which you know is right, don’t be afraid. He will be with you.
Montrose Baptist Church