News from our Sector Ministers  


Revd Dr David Howling

Servants Afloat and Regional Senior Waterways Chaplain

David Howling

It was Kenneth Grahame, the author of The Wind in the Willows, who wrote; “Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” 

For many years the inland waterways of the United Kingdom have been ably served by waterways chaplains. I believe that there is a need for a similar type of ministry to look after the wellbeing of those who frequent our coastal waterways. Places like Chichester Harbour where almost a quarter of all of the leisure boats that frequent the waters of the Solent are based. It’s estimated that 25,000 people visit Chichester Harbour every year to go yacht racing, cruising, fishing or just simply mess about in a boat.

If there are the two things I’m most passionate about, It’s the Gospel and sailing. So I’ve brought these two passions together to start a new ministry which I’m calling Servants Afloat.

Servants Afloat is a pioneering ministry seeking to serve the people who frequent the marinas, anchorages, and boatyards of Chichester Harbour. Our aim is to share God’s word with fellow boaters through what Henri Newen calls ‘the ministry of presence'. 

The model that we are using is that of The Waterways Chaplaincy (WWC), which is a network of volunteers from local churches who regularly visit the waterways, offering a listening ear, support and encouragement to whoever they meet. Working as a senior Waterways Chaplain provides access to resources and a network that has the potential to grow Servants Afloat from a small local ministry to a national one. 

If you would like to know more about The Waterways Chaplaincy and Servants Afloat, please feel free to contact me. I’m based in West Sussex but I’m always happy to travel and would be delighted to share with you some of the exciting things that God is doing through The WWC and Servants Afloat.