It was with sadness that we learnt of the passing of Rev John Kunst, erstwhile chaplain for the Sailors’ Society, on Friday, 12 August 2016, one day before his 84th birthday. John had a wonderful and rich career which took him to several countries, from the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, Germany and finally South Africa.
Born in The Netherlands in 1932 John attended school there and matriculated in 1952. He had strong maritime connections, his maternal grandfather was a shipbuilder and the family owned two yards in the Rotterdam area. It was here that John felt the Lord calling him to maritime ministry.
Dutch Seamen’s Mission
In 1973 his South African career commenced and he opened the Dutch Seamen’s Mission in Durban.
Wonderful fellowship years followed with the Mission to Seafarers, Apostleship of the Sea, Sailors’ Society, the Christelike Seemansorgansasie and the three foreign missions.
Rev. Millen Adams, Principal Chaplain of the Sailors’ Society recruited John into service in SS-SA in 1993. During this time the Chaplains’ ministry in the Port of Durban became an Ecumenical ministry as the founding ministries joined with the affiliate ministries, all working out of the Seafarers Mission. This was a giant step forward as the ministry team was united in voice and went from strength to strength serving seafarers in our port.
John retired from the Sailors’ Society on 31 March 2013 having served as a Sailors’ Society chaplain for 20 years after his retirement from the Dutch Seaman’s Mission.
Ministry to Seafarers
There have been many highlights in John’s ministry to seafarers; the ministry to ships crews in Durban, liberated from the pirates’ grip off Somalia, which was a challenge for the ministry team. We also remember him for his man hospital visits.
We give thanks to John for his life long service to the Lord, which he shared with Seafarers around the world.
John lost his beloved wife, Willie in August 2012. He leaves three children, Marion, Sharon and Peter, six grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Our deepest sympathy to his family, friends and loved ones.