About Us

Who We Are

The Ministry to Seafarers (M2S) is a small outreach mission of the Christian Reformed Church located in the Old Port of Montreal, Canada. We work out of Mariners' House, an independent organization supported by various shipping federations and companies, which is conveniently located in the Old Port of Montreal. Our office is located in their building and we work hand-in-hand with them. We have two full-time chaplains and one administrator on staff, and rely on the help of many volunteers.

What We Do

M2S exists to help meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of all seafarers, regardless of nationality or religion, who visit the Port of Montreal. We do that:
  • by being a friend and lending a listening ear
  • by advocating on their behalf with the appropriate authorities, where possible;
  • by offering prayer, spiritual counsel, and free Bibles in their own language;
  • by providing a safe and quiet place for them to relax and unwind;
  • by helping them keep in touch with their families via phone and internet;
  • by providing free transportation to/from their ships;
  • by dispensing food, beverages, clothing, toiletries and personal items that are not available on-board.

Read more about our Facilities and Services, or follow our staff and volunteers as we describe for you a typical Day in the Life of M2S.

Why Seafarers?

In 2008 an estimated 7.7 billion tonnes of cargo was shipped worldwide. That’s 77 with 8 zeros behind it! That requires a lot of ships, and those ships are manned by seafarers – an estimated 1.2 million of them!

Each ship has a crew of only 20 men and women, on average, who are usually contracted on 6-9 month terms. Most seafarers (the vast majority are men) are from Asia and Eastern Europe. Many come from very low-income areas and they have chosen to leave behind those they love and set sail in order to provide for them.

Seafaring jobs are demanding and often dangerous. Even though the shipping industry has regulations governing the working conditions of seafarers, many countries ignore them or do not enforce them. As a result, even in our modern world, many seafarers work in very hazardous, stressful conditions on-board ships, which only compounds the dangers of the job and intensifies their loneliness and helplessness. All this creates a need. A need for advocacy, support, encouragement – and a need for love like Jesus'.

That’s where we come in.

A Little History

In the early 1960s, the Reverend Uittenbosch of the Christian Reformed Church of North America started to visit the ships that came into the Port of Montreal to reach out to the men on the ships with compassion and the gospel. Eventually, in 1965, his work became what is known today as The Ministry to Seafarers (M2S).

God wants us to reach out to all people, near and far, it's true. But at M2S, we like to say we reach the far when they come near!

Staff

Head Chaplain: Michelle DePooter-Francis
Chaplain: David Rozeboom
Administrator: Patty Sarazen

Newsletter

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