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Home  >  Features  >  Looking Back: First Dock Chaplain

Looking Back

Friday June 11 2021

Looking Back: First Dock Chaplain

From June 1956

Four images of the Rev James Hutchison working at Leith Docks: talking to ship crew members, with men operating a loading crane, with a nurse in the medical centre, and outside the medical centre.

At Leith Docks the first dock chaplain in Great Britain has recently been appointed. The Rev. J. N. Hutchison, St. Thomas’s Leith, who was formerly at Lasswade, has now begun his ministry amongst the 1600 men under the National Dock Labour Board and the Dock Commission. This is the first time that these employees have been included in the work of a port chaplaincy.

Mr. Hutchison reports that he has received a warm welcome from the men. “You should have been here long ago,” has been a frequent remark. He spends every Monday morning in the docks and has already found that men are ready to seize the opportunity “to speak to the padre” about what has been on their mind. Mr. Hutchison is convinced that the Church, through its ministry, must be seen in the midst of daily work if it is not to seem irrelevant to the issues which make up men’s lives. To be there at all is of importance – to be accessible to every man means that you are every man’s minister.

In the photographs above the chaplain is seen on his rounds.

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