London was this year’s venue for the annual Chaplains’ Conference. It was a good choice of city as it coincided with the Sailors’ Society 200th anniversary celebrations. Chaplains from many countries attended and they enjoyed meeting their counterparts and to compare operating in various countries. E.g. conditions in Madagascar certainly differ vastly from Singapore.

Training and Chaplaincy Information were the main themes with Stuart Rivers, CEO of Sailors’ Society opening the conference and sharing the vision and goals over the next 5 years, the topic being ‘Looking to the future’.

Johan Smith, spoke on Wellness of the Seafarer, a vast subject encompassing a broad spectrum.

However it was not all work as after lectures all had a bit of time to explore London and they also enjoyed a boat ride on the Thames.

The highlight no doubt was the service held in Southwark Cathedral, the oldest Gothic church building in London, where for over 1000 years Christians have worshipped.

The Cathedral is situated near the Thames and close to where the Society was founded 200 years ago on board the sloop “Speedy” which was converted onto a chapel named ‘The Ark” .

HRH Prince Michael of Kent presented the Sailors’ Society’s service awards and in his speech mentioned the Royal support through the years.