It used to be said that we were a ‘throw away society‘ with unwanted items, even those in perfectly good order being discarded, possibly in favour of newer models. In recent times however, the ever increasing demand to recycle almost everything has perhaps made us stop to think about saving energy, reserving resources and to recognise the ongoing benefit that this will bring to the environment. Being more aware, we may now look to see how various items which are still ‘fit for purpose‘ can be channelled to those who may need them. Indeed, there is an ongoing demand for such, judging by the number of charity bags dropping through our letter box each week.

photo of seafarers with statues and religious items donated by a local parishioner

When it comes to religious items such as statues, icons, crucifixes, etc, it would appear, not surprisingly, that we may be more reluctant to dispose of them. It seems more likely that these may be relegated to a cupboard or stockroom never to see the light of day again; however, it is possible that these items too could be recycled. This is not a new idea, but one used to great effect by the late Mrs Elsie Tebbs of Ss Mary and Romuald parish in Yarm. Elsie would obtain old statues and other religious items, and have them refurbished before shipping them out to poorer parishes in Africa, much to the delight of the recipients.

Elsie was always very generous too in giving religious items to the Apostleship of the Sea, and these, without exception, found their way onto ships for use by the seafarers, either on an altar on the bridge, in a chapel on board or perhaps in a seafarer’s own cabin. This practice has been continued and we obtain a steady stream of statues, etc which we pass on during our ship visiting or after Mass has been celebrated on board.

Our demand for religious items is continuous so if you or your parish (with the parish priest’s permission) have a statue of the Sacred Heart or Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, or indeed any holy item which is still intact and in reasonable condition and you would like to ‘recycle‘ it, please let us know and we will be happy to arrange collection.

Tony McAvoy, Lay Port Chaplain, Apostleship of the Sea