Port Chaplains and special ship-visiting volunteers call on the ships in port daily. Port Chaplains are supported by their respective denominations on either a full-time or part-time basis. Volunteer ship visitors have received extensive training from the Port Chaplains on making effective ship visits. Approximately 50 miles of dock areas (25 miles on each side of the Ship Channel) are visited regularly. This includes 110 dock areas in 40 Shipping Terminals! They offer a friendly welcome, an invitation to visit the center and spiritual or practical guidance and assistance to our visitors from around the world. Several chaplains speak other languages, and all are well trained in the cultural and religious diversity of the seafarers. Religious leaders of other faiths are also welcome to serve at the Seafarers’ Center, as there are many seafarers who are Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, and other faiths.
A worship service is offered for those Seafarers that wish to participate on a daily basis. Worship services and other religious and spiritual guidance are offered to the seafarers on board their ships.
Bibles in over 40 languages are provided to our seafarers free of charge. It is one of the largest bible programs in the world.
Chaplain Training School
The experience and knowledge of the Houston Center’s Chaplains has resulted in the Houston Maritime Chaplaincy Training Program, an international annual training school for Maritime Ministry Chaplains and Managers. The program is managed by NAMMA and endorsed by the Apostleship of the Sea.
Christmas Box Program – Each year approximately 11,000 Christmas boxes are provided free of charge to our visiting Seafarers. Decorated shoeboxes filled with many useful items are donated by numerous community churches, school children and individuals from Texas and through the Midwest. This original program has grown in popularity with Seafarers throughout the years.
The Seafarers’ Center provides a variety of sports facilities to our visiting seafarers. A special SPORTS WEEK competition is provided for the Seafarers twice a year. The different ship crew members really get into the spirit of friendly competition and are thrilled with the ping pong, swimming, basketball, track, and tug-of-war games each night of the SPORTS WEEK. The end of the tournament is highlighted with special trophies, plaques and ribbons awarded to ship crews and individual crew members.
Volunteers are needed to answer phones, host special events, and provide practical assistance to seafarers during peak times.