Christmas In Teesport
Tony McAvoy, a layman, is AOS (Apostleship of the Sea) port chaplain in Teesport, in the northeast of England. He reports on the efforts of his pastoral team to bring some Christmas cheer to seafarers. www.stellmaris.net is the website of the AOS worldwide and that of Great Britain.
Teesport has a webpage, www.rcdhn.org.uk/general_directory/diocesan%20_societies/aos/aos1.html on the website of the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle. The Apostleship of the Sea at Teesport, along with its ecumenical partner the Mission to Seafarers, distributed over 800 shoebox-sized Christmas presents to around 60 ships during the Christmas period. The final 25 presents were delivered to the crew of a bulk carrier which arrived in the port on 16 January 2007 after a 60-day voyage from Australia. The Filipino crewmembers were delighted. Volunteer ship visitor Don Readman played a star role as Santa Claus over the festive period. His appearance at the gangway on occasion caused grown men to shed tears of joy.
The presents were donated by parishes of different denominations, some in the immediate area of the port and others further afield but where there is good awareness of the importance of seafarers in our daily lives.