The Maritime Bethel at Savannah provides ‘far away from home’ personal and practical support to seafarers who come into our port on big ships from all over the world. We are a faith based nonprofit organization that includes advocacy, spiritual, physical and emotional support although we are not affiliated to any one church or denomination.
Our Savannah Bethel is in Garden City, just outside the gates of the huge container terminal, and we aim to provide a sanctuary in our five acre park-like setting. Our comfortable facility offers seafarers free internet and private international phone booths and the opportunity to just relax, shower, do laundry or enjoy time away from their daily reality. Importantly to the seafarers our vans meet them off the ships and take them shopping, to the Bethel or, for example, to doctor appointments.
Many seafarers are only in Savannah for six to twelve hours. Having only seen water and industrial ports with no natural beauty for weeks on end they are keen to get their feet onto solid ground and get away from the port.
Naturally, being away from home and loved ones for months at a time with no affordable phone or internet connection service when at sea most are desperate to connect with family and friends by email and phone. Usually seafarers want someone to listen to them, counsel them and pray with them and this is a vital part of our mission.
*Our Savannah Volunteers Pictured Above:
Left to right, (front) Darlene Ross, Esq. Mabeleen Goods (House Manager), Shirley Wright (2013 Christmas-at-Sea Chair), Louisa Fisher (Board Vice President), Standing: Roger Lamb (former British Ship’s First Officer), Jim Gibbons (Wilmington, NC, Development), Lt. Col. Larris Snelgrove, Chaplain Andy Krey, Chaplain Nathaniel Hester, C. DeWayne Ladner (Board President), Phil Boyd-Robertson (Ship Agriculture Inspector) and Capt. Nick Farley (Master Mariner)
Missing From the Photo:
Suki Sommervold, Pastor Don Rieder, Pastor Delmons White, Cheryl Schmidt (Treasurer), All Board Members.
Also, highly active Deckplate Ship Visitors: Benjamin Tablada, Brenda Dasher, Harold Wheeler, Jr., Fire Chief Jimmy Crosby, and Richard Winkle.
Board of Directors
C. DeWayne Ladner*, President
Paul H. Johansen*, Vice President
Marlene Porter*, Secretary
Cheryl Schmidt, RN Treasurer
James Gibbons, Jr.
The Rev. Nathaniel Hester
Chaplain Andy Krey* Ex. Director
Captain Jerome Pereira*
Officer Kevin Singleton
*Denotes sea-going experience
Chair of the Savannah Port of Welfare – Captain Nick Farley
Public Relations – Lesley Francis Public Relations
Artist in Residence – Thomas Mitz
Lead Volunteer – Benjamin Tablada
Live-in Manager – Mableen Goods