Mission to Seafarers 90th Anniversary Luncheon
Ladies and gentlemen. Kaye and I are delighted to be in Townsville, and to join you for today’s Mission to Seafarers 90th Anniversary Luncheon. We particularly acknowledge the presence here today of representatives from the Port of Townsville, including Director and former Speaker of the Queensland Parliament, the Honourable Mike Reynolds, and CEO Ms Crosby, and distinguished representatives of Mission to Seafarers Townsville.
It is highly fitting that many of you may have travelled down Benwell Road to arrive at the Port of Townsville today.
It was named after Hugh Percy Hamilton Benwell, a former British Naval Officer who, among other things, was the first secretary of the Townsville Harbour Board from 1896.
His namesake road invites us to reflect, in today’s context, upon the vital role of the Port as a mainstay in the economic and social development of this magnificent City.
Kaye and I have just had the privilege of viewing the brilliant stained glass window unveiled earlier this month at St James Cathedral to commemorate the Cathedral's close association with the Mission.
Consistent with the role of another mainstay of Townsville life for the past 9 decades, the Mission to Seafarers, the stained glass window depicts Mary atop Castle Hill and Port of Townville, a guiding beacon for ships entering and leaving the harbour.
Through Peter’s decades-long involvement here in Townsville, and my now being the Patron of the Brisbane chapter, I have long admired the dynamism of the work of the Mission to Seafarers, as has Kaye.
There is of course the practical assistance you provide, through access to homely essentials, and these days necessarily to WiFi and mobile SIM cards.
But beyond that, there is the relief you provide from the spiritual and emotion burden born of isolation and separation from loved ones.
This may be as simple as a friendly welcoming face and a warm cup of coffee at the Seafarers Canteen – or no doubt in our tropical summers, an equally comforting cold beverage – or escorting someone to a doctor’s appointment.
These simple gestures are of extraordinary lasting benefit.
They also resonate with the powerful notions of our Christian calling of mutual support and concern for one another.
I thank and congratulate members of the Mission to Seafarers Townsville for honouring your rich history of benevolent service by organising today’s Anniversary Luncheon.
I further commend all volunteers of this immensely beneficial organisation. I express to you all Kaye’s and my wholehearted gratitude and appreciation for the work you do in supporting those who venture out into the realm beyond our shores to secure the material contentment of our world. Thank you.