We learnt with sadness of the tragic passing in October of Terry Whitfield, Chairman of the Durban Seafarers Mission. Terry served the Apostleship of the Sea for 36 years, most of that time on the Executive. He was appointed Chairman of the local branch some 15 years ago and after a few years he was elected National Director, South Africa.
Terry lived his life as a committed Roman Catholic and became an active member on many religious oranisations and in parishes in Durban. Terry was also a Knight of Da Gama for 36 years.
The Pontifical Council for the Pastoral care of Migrants and Itinerant People appointed Terry to the position of Regional Coordinator for Africa( Indian Ocean Region ) of the Apostleship of the Sea, a position he held for the last 5 years, during which time Terry made several trips to Rome as well as having to travel in the Indian Ocean Region.
He also managed a touring company at one time.
We will miss him. RIP
[Mr Whitfield is the second member of the committee which we have lost during 2016, the other being Mr Fred Jones.
We also remember Rev John Kunst and Rev Derrick Potgieter, both from the Sailors’ Society, who were called to Higher Service during 2016.]
Chaplain Steve van Schalkwyk in Cape Town writes about the TIR [Trauma Incidence Reduction] and the [LSR Life Stress Reduction] Courses he and Rev Boet van Schalkwyk attended from 2 – 10 November 2016 in Cape Town.
He reports that course participants gained a lot of new skills and practical experience – in between some fun and laughter – so necessary when work is so intense.
“What struck me was that we all had a sincere desire in our hearts to help God’s people who were in turmoil and emotional pain” said Steve.
The course was presented by Rev Louis Hough, a specialist in this field of trauma counselling. He also held the first such course for chaplains in Durban in 2015
Rev Leta Mavombo, our chaplain from Nacala, reports on her chaplaincy duties.
Leta recently visited a container ship the KOTA NAZIN from Singapore. Although the seafarers on board were busy they took the time to talk to he and Leta took the opportunity of sharing information of the Sailors’ Society. She was surprised to hear that it was the first time they had heard about the society.
They discussed their work and said that although they were busy, they enjoyed the work as it gave them the opportunity of seeing so many countries ‘from the sea”. But like so many seafarers, however, loneliness was a problem. Their families understood that the sacrifices they make result in having a better life.
They told Leta they felt happy as she lightened a situation on the ship which was difficult. She added that they would be able to find a Sailors’ Society chaplains in most ports who could lighten their load and to ask to see them if they do not see them.
Leta took the opportunity of asking the two seafarers to let other seafarers know about the chaplains.
[Let us remember Leta in prayer for her safety as, according to reports, the Mozambican rebel movement Renamo attacked a coal train headed for the Port at Nacala. There has been unrest in the area for some time and we think of her and her loved ones]