Chaplain, Upper Mississippi and Ohio River region

Chaplain, Upper Mississippi and Ohio River region 150 150 Episcopalians in Connection

Chaplain, Upper Mississippi and Ohio River Region, The Seamen’s Church Institute

The Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) is North America’s largest mariners’ service agency with an annual operating budget in excess of $6 million. Founded in 1834, SCI provides pastoral care services, maritime education and training, and mariner advocacy for the workers who transport billions of tons of cargo each year across the world’s oceans and along our nation’s inland waterways.


Provides direct pastoral care to US mariners and shore-side staff working along the upper Mississippi, Ohio, and Tennessee rivers; and develops and supports SCI’s relationships with church and maritime-industry stakeholders. This full-time position based in Paducah, Kentucky, works collaboratively with other SCI chaplains; and reports to SCI’s New Orleans-based Senior Chaplain for our Ministry on the Rivers and Gulf program.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Visit docked or underway commercial vessels to provide pastoral care, crisis response, averaging 3-4 days in the field per week, with balance of time at SCI’s Center for Maritime Education (CME).
  • Provide Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) and Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) interventions as core tools for mariner pastoral care once trained in these skills
  • Mentor chaplain interns, field education students, and river chaplain associates
  • Strengthen ongoing ministry protocols with other SCI chaplains, including emergency oncall coverage, travel to accident/ fatality sites, and disaster planning with maritime officials
  • Represent SCI at maritime industry events, including networking, dinner invocations, boat christenings, company captains’ meetings, and presentations on SCI’s ministry
  • Liaise with SCI’s Christmas at Sea program leader regarding mariner holiday gift packages
  • Serve as resource to SCI’s development team to expand SCI’s presence in the river maritime community
  • Attend SCI Paducah maritime training events to engage mariners and support SCI colleagues on issues of spiritual resilience and mariner health promotion
  • Conform with all safety and security protocols required by the US Coast Guard, transportation company policies, and SCI


  • Ordination in the Episcopal Church or other mainline denomination is desired. Clinical Pastoral Education, military, maritime, or hospital chaplaincy is helpful, as is work experience in the maritime industry
  • The ability to frequently travel and work hours necessary to cover pastoral crises and other assignments, including occasional overnights and weekends
  • Valid, clean driver’s license
  • Possession of a US Transportation Worker Identity Credential (TWIC) card, or the ability to obtain one
  • The ability to embark or disembark boats in varied weather conditions and lift and carry packages up to 50lbs

SCI Chaplains are required to abide by the International Christian Maritime Association (ICMA) Code of Conduct:

  • Show an unconditional love to the mariner as a human being, created in the image of God, and a sincere respect for his or her personal values and beliefs
  • Fight prejudice, intolerance, and injustice of any kind
  • Respect the loyalty of those engaged in maritime ministry to their particular ecclesiastical discipline and tradition and refrain from proselytizing mariners
  • Co-operate with persons, organizations, and institutions, Christian or non-Christian, which work for the welfare of mariners

SCI offers a competitive salary, generous paid leave, comprehensive and affordable insurance options and a retirement plan.

Qualified candidates should contact SCI’s Director of Human Resources at

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