Personal Message from SCI President & Executive Director the Rev. Mark Nestlehutt

Mar 20, 2020

Dear SCI Friends, Supporters, and the Mariners and Seafarers we serve,

We are sailing in uncharted waters. Comparisons of the COVID-19 virus to the influenza pandemic of 1918, our entry in to the Second World War, and the Great Recession of 2007-2009, somehow fail to convey fully the impact that most, if not all, of us are experiencing in our daily life.

In the midst of this time of uncertainty and fear, I want to assure you that we at The Seamen’s Church Institute remain steadfastly committed to our mission and responsibility to those who serve in the maritime industry.

We are actively seeking ways to continue our support during this worldwide crisis, while respecting the safety recommendations and restrictions issued by government and health officials. We are also boosting our protocols to protect staff and volunteers.

SCI has four dedicated campuses: New York City; the Port of Houston, Texas; Paducah, Kentucky; and Port Newark, New Jersey, and our work and ministry touches 18 U.S. States, plus the Gulf and East coasts. While situations and responses by state, municipal, and local health authorities vary state by state, we are attentively monitoring these advisories and implementing operational changes as needed.

As an organization we endeavor to be vigilant, to remain calm, and to follow the advice and directives of local, state, and federal authorities including social distancing, washing our hands, and de-densifying our campuses.

Confronting the challenges that lie ahead of us, I am reminded that we were originally founded as an Episcopal Church, faith-based organization that defined our work to improve the welfare of seamen as a ministry and a mission based on our ability to glimpse our divine creator in the face of every human being. 186 years later, as an interdenominational and interfaith agency, I encourage you not to forget those who are most profoundly impacted by this virus—the ill and shut-ins, the elderly, the physically compromised, and those most economically vulnerable. This unprecedented situation also calls for close monitoring of our mental health and welfare, and those we love. I know that we will, with God’s help, survive this crisis and ideally emerge even stronger as an organization.

I thank you personally for your continued support of the mission of SCI—for the mariners and seafarers we serve, and for our staff and volunteers who undertake this important work.