Date: February 25, 2020
The International Christian Maritime Association (ICMA) representative members from many countries gathered for the ICMA World Conference 2019 in Kaohsiung last October, to mark 50 years of maritime ministry around the globe. The ICMA is an ecumenical association of Christian non-profit organisations that works with seafarers all over the world.
During the opening ceremony, Pope Francis congratulated ICMA for its humble service and global impact through a pre-recorded video, encouraging those present to persevere in serving seafarers and fishers in the spirit of ecumenism. The Pope also quoted John Paul II’s letter, Stella Maris’ invocation to “provide seafarers abundantly with whatever is required to live holy lives”. In his keynote address, Vice President of Taiwan Dr Chen Chien-jen thanked God for His grace and blessing this gathering of those who cared for seafarers and reaffirmed the Taiwan government’s dedication to supporting fishers and seafarers all over the world.
Among the speakers were the Presbyterian Church of Taiwan (PCT) Moderator Rev David Chen, who expressed gratitude that the conference was held in Kaohsiung, an acknowledgement of PCT’s long service to seafarers. In recent decades, the labour force of the Taiwanese fishery has shifted from the Taiwanese to migrant workers.
The PCT’s Seamen’s and Fishers’ Service Centre (PCTSFSC) provides them with care and counselling, as many are left alone facing challenges beyond their control, said PCTSFSC Chairman Rev Daniel Wu. PCT General Secretary Rev Lyim Hong Tiong delivered the sermon, sharing the brave missionary story of Rev Dr William Campbell, early Taiwanese Christian Ko Tiong and others. The conference
provided the opportunity for those in seafarers’ and fishers’ ministries to worship and fellowship together, bonding over their common commitment.