Support the Café

Search our Site

Ministry to seafarers

Ministry to seafarers

The Rev. Lacy Largent, whom many in the Episcopal Church know through her ministry at Camp Allen, is featured in an article that talks about her “other” ministry, that of a chaplain to seafarers at the Port of Houston.

“The chaplains have offices in the Seafarers’ Center, alongside a small chapel. Patout’s is lined with country flags, alongside an image of St. Nicholas, the patron saint of sailors. Down the hall, a bookshelf holds Bibles in 40 languages. The complex includes a restaurant, bar, TV, pool and basketball court.

Before 9/11, sailors would come to the Houston port’s center by the hundreds to find rest and refuge from life at sea. It’s a tough job but often the only way they could find to support the wife and kids they left in Eastern Europe, Asia or other far-away homes.

Now, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security requires foreign sailors to have visas to exit their ships while in port, even though some don’t know what countries their ships will be visiting and can’t afford the cost. The Transportation Security Administration also has new credentials that citizens and noncitizens must have to move around the port unescorted.

With these measures keeping sailors aboard, chaplains are doing more work on the ships, where they set up Wi-Fi hotspots and provide phone cards and SIM cards for men desperate to talk to home.

“This job isn’t like anything else. We end up staying far away from our homes,” said Pragnesh Tandel, a Hindu from Mumbai working on a cargo ship that stopped in Houston earlier this summer. “It’s good to have them around. They cooperate with us when we need to get phone cards.””

And specifically of Largent’s ministry the article reports:

Before she began serving as a port chaplain, she prayed the Old Testament Prayer of Jabez, and God answered, giving her the opportunity to serve seafarers from across the globe.

“I said, ‘Lord, enlarge my territory.’ I thought it meant a bigger church. Turns out, it meant the world,” she said.

She’s earned the nickname “surf and turf pastor” for her doubled-up duties as a port chaplain and the spiritual director for Camp Allen, the church’s retreat facility in Navasota. Catholics, Episcopalians, Lutherans and Presbyterians form the chaplain team, and about a dozen volunteers also visit ships. Plus, the Houston center hosts a chaplain-training program for spiritual leaders in ports around the world.

Lots more here.


Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

1 Comment
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Paul Fromberg

Lacy is one of the most faithful priests I know. Her courage and persistence in ministry is an example that always amazes me.


Paul Fromberg

Support the Café
Past Posts

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café