For more than 150 years The Mission to Seafarers has brought compassion and care to seafarers in desperate need around the world.


How our work began

Founded in 1856, the Mission had its first beginnings some 20 years earlier when the Revd John Ashley began visiting ships at anchor in the Bristol Channel. Struck by their isolation and need, he turned down a parish appointment to set up a ministry to seafarers, which became the Bristol Channel Mission.  He later purchased a ship, Eirene, fitted with a chapel below decks, which enabled him to expand his ministry. In 15 years, he visited 14,000 ships and sold more than 5,000 Bibles and prayer books to seafarers.

The Missions to Seamen

John Ashley's work soon inspired Anglican ministries in other ports, and it was decided in 1856 that there should be one organisation to co-ordinate and expand this service to seafarers, called The Missions to Seamen. This became The Mission to Seafarers in 2000, to reflect its role as a society which cares for all seafarers, regardless of rank, gender, nationality or faith.

The Flying Angel

The MtS adopted the image of the angel in 1856, and today the Flying Angel logo is recognised by seafarers around the world as a sign of care, support and friendship.

To find out more about the Mission's history, you can read The Flying Angel Story in the interactive reader or below, or download it. You can also request a copy.

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