Mission to Seafarers – Bunbury, Western Australia
Chaplain: Revd William Thomas
Mobile: 0434 550 656
Welcome to the Bunbury Mission to Seafarers (MTS), an Anglican organisation caring for the spiritual and practical welfare of visiting seafarers of all nationalities and faith.
MTS offers seafarers practical help and moral support in a homelike atmosphere. They are a vital lifeline for the many of thousands of seafarers around the world wanting to contact family and friends back home. Volunteers at the Bunbury mission greet seafarers with warm welcomes and friendship. The Bunbury MTS Chaplain also visits each ship on arrival, as some seafarers may not even reach land during their time at port.
At the Bunbury Mission to Seafarers visitors can be assured of a safe environment with understanding and support from many tireless volunteers.
Services offered at the Bunbury mission include:
Free internet and email access.
Bus services to and from Port and to medical appointments.
Pool table, table tennis and darts.
Free magazines, books or clothes.
Access to bibles and Chapel.
Access to music, TV and karaoke.
A weekly church service is held in the station chapel of St Michael and All Angels. Food items and souvenirs from mission shop.
A Brief History of MTS
The humble beginnings of Mission to Seafarers can be traced back to 1835 with a simple question from a child on a holiday.
John Ashley, an Anglican priest, and his family were holidaying in Bristol, England, watching the ships in the Bristol Channel.
Ashley’s daughter asked “How do the people on those ships go to church?”
A visit to the ships left Ashley shocked and confused. He found men with broken souls, men who had been forgotten, mistreated and isolated from the rest of the world. They had no contact with the church, no faith to help them through the wretched conditions they faced.
Ashley was so moved by the situation of the seafarers that he devoted his life to them, ministering to the sailors until his death in 1850. His work was not forgotten, with others priests taking up the calling of the seafarers in other ports.
In 1856 an organisation was formed to effectively coordinate and expand the ministry. A flying angel holding the gospel in one hand was adopted as the logo and in 2000, the name Mission to Seafarers was adopted to recognise the increasing number of women, as well as men, that were going to sea.
MTS still continues to operate with the support and dedication of hundreds of volunteers in over 230 Mission to Seafarer centres around the world.
The Bunbury station of Mission to Seafarers has been in operation since 1900. Eliza Cons started visiting the seafarers in 1890 and the centre became a stand alone station at the turn of the century. From here the mission grew, and the need for the service continues to expand.
Statistics and Facts
The importance of the Bunbury Mission to Seafarers can be typified by the increasing number of ship arrivals, bus trips and crew visits undertaken by the mission.
The number of crew visiting the Bunbury mission grew 40% from 2006 to 2007, reaching 4854. This number is expected to climb to 5500 by 2009.
In May 2008 640 seafaring crew visited the Bunbury Mission.
On average there are 28 ship arrivals each month at the Bunbury Port.
The bus service has grown substantial, with a 56% increase from 2005 (991 bus trips) to 2007 (1551 bus trips).
Mission to Seafarers operates in over 230 ports around the world
More than 3600 phone cards are used.
More than 1500 internet connections are made.
Over 1000 magazines and books are distributed to seafarers.
Seafarers are provisioned with clothing from the clothing rack.
500 knitted beanies are supplied.