Document Type



The first part of this paper will give a brief introduction to maritime missiology, the second section will trace the beginnings of the Boston Seaman’s Friend Society in the nineteenth century and the third will focus on the Vineyard Haven branch of that work well into the twentieth century. Using source material from the American Seamen’s Friend Society - there is a 5,000 document collection of the ASFS papers in the G.W. Blunt White Library at Mystic Seaport, the Boston Seaman’s Friend Society - whose papers are mostly in the Congregational House on Beacon Hill in Boston, and other secondary works from the nineteenth and twentieth century. I am especially indebted to George Wiseman’s book, They Kept the Lower Lights Burning, Wiseman was the pastor of Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church in Oak Bluff during WWII and the son-in-law of Austin Tower. This presentation will look at the many facets that made up religious work among seafarers.