Rick’s on board for the next stage of the voyage

The book carried by the Dean of Sacred Heart Cathedral, Fr Andrew Doohan, to the farewell lunch for Chaplain to Seafarers, Rick McCosker, was titled “Blessings and Prayers for Home and Family”. It was exceedingly apt, since for many, the Mission to Seafarers (Stella Maris), is a home away from home, and the volunteers they encounter are family away from home.

In 2012, Rick McCosker was a recent graduate of the Tenison Woods Education Centre’s Christian Formation Course when he was invited to consider becoming chaplain of the Mission at Wickham. He told the group of friends and fellow volunteers gathered to wish him well that it was evidence of God’s sense of humour, since he was uncomfortable with heights (think gangplanks) and prone to seasickness!

However, he decided to accept the invitation, in spite of doubts, thanks to the encouragement of his wife (and about-to-be fellow volunteer) Meryl.

In the four years that have elapsed, he has connected with hundreds of seafarers, learned a great deal, particularly about the challenges of life at sea, and supported volunteers in providing a place of warmth, respite, refreshment and prayer – as well as vital access to technology for communicating with home.

Anglican Chaplain, Fr Garry Dodd, spoke warmly of the generous contribution made by both Rick and Meryl. Rick assured the assembly that the couple would remain volunteers. “We plan not to sever ties – we couldn’t do that.”

Before a delicious lunch, Fr Andrew led a prayer of blessing as all extended their hands over Rick. No doubt this retiring chaplain will continue praying the prayer he prays each morning, before his feet hit the ground.

"God, keep me mindful all day what a wonderful thing it is to have a new day to live."

Learn more about chaplaincy in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle and visit the Mission to Seafarers.

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Tracey Edstein Image
Tracey Edstein

Tracey Edstein is a member of the Raymond Terrace Parish and a freelance writer with a particular interest in church matters.