Field Education Profile: Cora Koehler at the Seamen’s Church Institute

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Field education at Union provides an opportunity for students to bring together their education, skill, and religious commitment in a way that can help them discover their call. Students do their field work in a wide variety of locations, from churches to shelters to non-profit organizations.
SCI organizes an annual program where people from around the country knit hats and scarves for mariners, distributed at Christmastime.
Cora Koehler, a third-year M.Div. student, works in a very unique field location as a chaplain at the Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI). Founded in 1834 on the Manhattan docks, SCI is now based in Port Newark and Port Elizabeth, NJ and is North America’s largest mariners’ service agency. Koehler spoke with us recently about her work.
What’s your day like?
Days start by seeing what ships are in. We divide them up between the three of us who are here as ship visitors. Usually I visit anywhere between 2-5 ships a day. If I’m only visiting two ships, I can usually spend 2-3 hours on a ship and then you really get to see a lot of the crew.
What do you do with the crew?
You never know when you’re getting on the ship what type of visit you’re going to get. SCI provides professional and spiritual care to crew in a variety of ways. Once on board, I explain basic services that the Seamen’s Church Institute has to offer: SIM cards, Wi-Fi access. But, we’re also there to simply talk to the crew.
Koehler on a ship visit
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