I had the opportunity recently to meet the Deputy CEO of the Sailor's Society Sandra Welch who was in Vancouver.
We were talking about seafarer centres while sitting in the Waterfront Mission to Seafarers centre which is a large house built in 1906 and Sandra commented how many seafarer centres are made to look like a ship with pictures of ships, life rings, flags etc which of course seafarers live with everyday, instead of the coffee shop feel with big comfy couches that you get lost in, warm lighting, pictures that take you elsewhere, all to help the seafarer relax and feel at ease.
One thing Jesus did was to make people feel at ease often doing so around a table over food, by going out of his way , the extra mile with a loving concern for the well-being of the person(s).On Maundy Thursday with the shadow and horror of the cross looming large over him Jesus met with his disciples in an upper room and they ate, drank and relaxed together. Jesus was preparing them for what was to come, setting them an example to follow, helping to put the disciples at ease.
As chaplains, volunteers, staff and boards responsible for how our Mission centres look I see an important part of our Mission is to create that sense of well-being, the big easy, and that needs to be a part of everything we do from how we conduct board business, the welcome at the centre, to the engagement with seafarers, to how our centres look and feel, all for the purpose of those Christ is calling us to care for and put at ease the seafarers who come to our shores before heading back to the ship and life at sea.
I think it is time for some new wall art!