Presbyterian International Seafarer Ministry

The Presbyterian International Seafarer Ministry is part of a multi-denominational outreach to seafarers on the ships calling in the port. Houston has two centers—the Howard T. Tellepsen Seafarers Center at the main port and the Lou Lawler Seafarer Center at Barbours Cut, in LaPorte. Chaplains of various faiths minister in a non-denominational, non-evangelistic manner allowing them to work closely with and relate to seafarers of all faiths.  Seafarer chaplains see anyone desiring time with them. They visit ships, provide transportation, listen, assist in crises and take the message of God to all. They have religious materials and Bibles available in 47 different languages.  Chaplains who serve the Center try to visit every ship that comes into port, which was estimated to be 8600 last year.

There are multiple ways our church participates.  The first is budgeting funds to send to Presbytery for direct financial support of the two Presbyterian chaplains, Rev. David Wells and Rev. Tom Edwards. Other ways are by preparing Christmas Gift boxes, caroling to seafarers in the port during the Christmas season, and providing parties to seafarers at the Center.

The Christmas Gift boxes are shoe boxes packed with toiletries, cards, small games, socks and other items, which are distributed by the chaplains in December. In 2018 over 11,600 boxes were distributed. Traditionally, Presbyterian Women, under the leadership of Johnnie Haltom, have assembled 40 boxes each year. Recently, families and individuals have added even more.

On two Saturdays in December, the Port Authority provides the Sam Houston, the public tour vessel, to the overall seafarer ministry for caroling to ships and crew that are in port.  Representatives from FPC have participated a number of years.

F.P.C. support of the Presbyterian International Seafarer Ministry has worldwide impact as seafarers experience the love of Christ with Houston hospitality and share those experiences at home.
Presbyterian Women packing Christmas boxes
Rev. David Wells in front of the new Center
Rev. Tom Edwards distributing Christmas boxes

Caroling to ships and seafarers on the ship channel