Questions regarding church on the ship

michellet Member Posts: 3


I'm interested in volunteering. I'm curious about who pastors the onboard church? What kind of qualifications does Mercy Ships require of their onboard pastors? Is the church on board associated with any bodies and is it Complementarian or Egalitarian?

Thanks in advance!



  • AndreaSchmid
    AndreaSchmid Programs Senior Staffing Manager Member, Moderator Posts: 213

    Hi Michelle,

    Thank you for your interest in volunteering with Mercy Ships!

    We do not have an onboard "church" per say. We have weekly Community Meetings that are somewhat like a church service. There is usually a time of worship, some announcements, time for prayer and a speaker who may or may not be an ordained minister. We have a Chaplaincy department onboard that facilitates these meetings. Our Senior Chaplain is an ordained pastor. There is no church board associated with Mercy Ships. My experience has shown Mercy Ships to be an Egalitarian organization.

    I hope this information is helpful. Please let us know if you have any further questions.

  • michellet
    michellet Member Posts: 3

    Thanks! I’m curious to most volunteers go off ship for Sunday services? Or is it simply the case that having regular Sunday services is likely not going to be a possibility and instead they use the various gatherings throughout the week in place of a Sunday church service?

  • CynthiaHarris
    CynthiaHarris Moderator Posts: 41


    Hi Michelle,

    Though Andrea has replied to your question, I thought perhaps this information also concerning spiritual life from the Volunteer Guidebook might also be of particular interest to you:

    I hope it is helpful. Let us know if you have additional questions. Thanks again for your willingness to serve with Mercy Ships.

    Cynthia Harris

    HR Administrative Assistant

  • AndreaSchmid
    AndreaSchmid Programs Senior Staffing Manager Member, Moderator Posts: 213


    Many volunteers go off-ship for Sunday services, which is a great way to connect with the people whom we are serving and to experience their culture. When I was onboard for a short time, there was a Sunday morning service held in the Ward for our patients, led by the Hospital Chaplaincy team, and crew were welcome to attend, which is what I did. It was a beautiful experience.

    Let us know if you have any further questions.

  • michellet
    michellet Member Posts: 3

    @AndreaSchmid I love that many volunteers go off-ship. I think that worshipping corporately with the community the Ship serves would be such an incredible way to connect! Thank you for all of the info :)

  • merrylhoey
    merrylhoey Member Posts: 2

    @michellet The sunday community meeting is in the evening - which is helpful for those who wish to go off ship to local church services which are usually in the morning.

    There is also a service at the HOPE centre every Sunday morning to which many crew attend.

    The Sunday community meeting is really just like a church service with worship, prayer and a message and we regularly share communion together too. It is very special to gather together corporately and worship God.

    I have been on the ship since July 2017 - and will be back.


  • rameshakula
    rameshakula Member Posts: 1

    Wow this discussion helped me a lot to understand about the mercy ships and I am greatful to have find my answers.

  • TeniahHowell
    TeniahHowell Member Posts: 21

    There are lots of options for church both within the ship’s offerings as well as tons of different church options within the local community. There are also a lot of various Bible study groups throughout the week. You can be as involved as you choose. It is a very diverse place and lots of offerings.

  • IrmaNoort
    IrmaNoort Member Posts: 32

    Hi, I like to respond as someone who has been living on board the past 3 fieldservices with 3 children.

    It depends a lot on the country we stay at, what (and how many different) opportunities there are. Whenever you find a local church, it is easy to connect, especially when you are able to speak the language:) International churches are often English, others are in French.

    During the last field service I kept visiting the same French-English church community and I felt very connected to it, which was beautiful. We love going to the Ward services as well and be there together with the patients!

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