Hey ho the Lord is with us!
( sung to a well-known nautical tune)
August 5th 2018 was, for us in the parish of Wyke Regis All Saints with St. Edmunds, Sea Sunday. And , thanks to so many members of the congregation and to Jo Simpson, our organist , the service was a real celebration of all those who work and have worked on the sea. This article is mainly for those who may not have been able to come to the service- but we hope you all enjoy it.
Some of our congregation came in naval uniform or carrying symbols of their connection with the sea. These were blessed on the altar. In our hymns and our intercessions , in poetry and in the scarves, hats and balaclavas knitted for the Mission for Seafarers, we remembered with thanks all those in the Merchant Navy, the Royal Navy, the Coastguard, ,the Lifeboat Service, lifeguards and fishermen. We remembered too all those who love to sail and swim in the water and asked for God’s blessing on them all.
We used a special collect that is really Psalm 23 for seafarers.
The Lord is my pilot; I shall not drift. He lighteth me across the dark waters; he steereth me in the deep channels; he keepeth my log. He guideth me by the star of his holiness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I sail amid the hungers and tempests of life, I shall fear no danger, for thou art near me; thy love and care, they shelter me. Thou prepares a harbour before me in the homeland of eternity; thou anointest the waves with oil; my ship rideth calmly . Surely sunlight and starlight shall favour me in the voyage I take , and I shall rest in the port of my God forever.
The following poem was also read by Chrissie Payne to honour the men of the Merchant Navy who fought in their way in the Second World War.
Heroes by David Partridge
Don’t speak to me of heroes until you’ve heard the tale, of Britain’s Merchant Seamen, who sailed through storm and gale.
To keep those lifelines open, in our hour of need.When a tyrant cast a shadow across our Island breed.
Captains, greasers, cabin boys, mates and engineers, heard the call to duty, cast aside their fears.
They stoked those hungry boilers, and stood behind the wheel, while cooks and stewards manned the guns, on coffins made of steel.
They moved in icy convoys, from Scapa to Murmansk, and crossed the Western Ocean, never seeking thanks.
They sailed the South Atlantic where raiders lay in wait, and kept the food lines open from Malta to the Cape.
Tracked by silent U Boats, that hunted from below, shelled by mighty cannons and fighters flying low.
They clung to burning lifeboats when the sea had turned to flame, and watched their shipmates disappear to ever lasting fame.
I speak not of a handful, but 30,000 plus, some whose names we’ll never know in whom we placed our trust.
They never knew the honour of medals on their chests, or marching bands and victory, and glory and the rest.
The Ocean is their resting place, their tombstone is the wind. The seabirds cry their last goodbye, to family and friend.
Freighters, troopships, liners, and tankers by the score. Fishing boats and coasters, 2000 ships and more.
They flew the Red Duster as they sank beneath the waves, and took those countless heroes to lonely ocean graves.
Their legacy is Freedom to those who hold it dear, to walk with clear horizons and never hide in fear.
So when you speak of heroes, remember those at sea, from Britain’s Merchant Navy, who died to keep us free.
So we ask God to bless all those at sea who work to protect us and to keep our country well supplied with all those things that we need and in the words of our last hymn
“..And ever let there rise to thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.”