PRESS RELEASE, 19 February 2009
LOGOS HOPE LAUNCHES INTO MINISTRY SERVICE!
OM Ships International’s largest vessel sets sail from Denmark. Ports in Northern Europe are first on the schedule.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MOSBACH, GERMANY – Logos Hope, OM’s newest vessel, launched into ministry service, departing from Køge, Denmark on Thursday, 19 February, following a massive project of conversion and outfitting. The ship’s first port of call will be Gothenburg, Sweden, then ports in the Netherlands, UK, Faroe Islands and Ireland.
International Co-ordinator for OM, Peter Maiden said: “As Logos Hope sails from Køge a great day has arrived in the history of OM Ships and, I believe, in the history of OM. It is both encouraging and challenging to think of the huge number of people who will meet with God on this vessel or through teams sent from this vessel in the years to come.”
The Faroe Islands-registered Logos Hope will ‘bring knowledge, help and hope’ to people in port cities all over the world. The ship carries vital literature resources, aid supplies and an all-volunteer crew and staff.
“This is a huge milestone and represents a great step forward in the fulfilment of our vision to impact the life of every visitor. Now it is up to us to fill what God and His people have entrusted to us with life and creative opportunities! The launch of Logos Hope moves us a step closer to ‘touching everyone in a million’. We are grateful for the prayers and practical participation of God's people worldwide!” said OM Ships International CEO Bernd Guelker.
The huge project to renovate and outfit the ship has included replacing and upgrading fire, safety, electrical, and ventilation systems, renewing accommodation and other community spaces, and installing a whole new deck for the ‘visitor experience’, including the world’s largest floating book fair. In recent months, enormous effort has gone into fulfilling all the requirements to obtain the vital Passenger Ship Safety Certificate, and ensuring that all the safety procedures and vessel documentation are in order.
Following initial rebuilding work in a Croatian shipyard, almost all the work has been completed by professional volunteers and other willing workers. Individuals, churches, trusts and other community groups have so far donated over €26,000,000 (£23,350,000 or $33,500,000 with current exchange rates) to make the ship ready for service. A final boost in donations is now needed to help complete remaining projects and cover ongoing operating costs. Work still to be done includes further outfitting in the visitor experience and the 450-seat Hope Theatre. This will be ongoing over the first months of ministry service.
“Momentum is building as Logos Hope sails,” said Logos Hope Director, Mike Hey. “We still have some more work to do to complete the project but we are thankful for the opportunities in the coming ports to welcome people into the unique Logos Hope experience and see the potential of this vessel develop. We start with lots of excitement and growing energy but with much need to see more people join the team.”
The schedule includes a short visit to Gothenburg, Sweden, followed by two ports in the Netherlands. The ship will visit ports in the UK, the Faroe Islands and Ireland, before setting sail for the West Indies, where Logos II—the ship Logos Hope replaces—was well known and much loved as ‘the book ship’. Logos Hope crew and staff are thrilled to be able to embark on this first ministry voyage and put the ship’s public ministry facilities into service. A number of events have already taken place on board as facilities have become available for use.
“We recognise that we would not be where we are today without the great efforts of skilled people—often accomplished ‘behind the scenes’ and with much sweat, pain and difficulty. We are grateful for their perseverance, patience and prayer in the face of many challenges. Their work has been a tremendous expression of personal faith and courage. Looking to the future, the investment made will result in millions of people experiencing the grace and love of God,” said Logos Hope Project Director Lloyd Nicholas, Australia.
Resources on board the much smaller Logos II were regularly overstretched in hosting the many thousands of people who visited each day. Once all facilities on board Logos Hope are completed, and as additional crew and staff join, Logos Hope will offer significantly larger capacity to serve port communities around the world.
The project to replace Logos II began in September 2001. It gathered momentum with the purchase of Logos Hope in 2004.
Now, after years of complex planning and hard work, the ship has reached the point of launch into operational ministry. Up to 400 volunteer crew and staff can live and work on board and many more people are still needed. There are also Short-Term Exposure Programme places available.
For the first time in the history of OM’s ship ministry, a significant number of cabins are set aside for teams from churches and other groups to join the ship and serve alongside the crew for one or more weeks. This is a unique short-term mission service opportunity, and one OM Ships International is looking forward to developing in the coming months.
Contributions towards Logos Hope can be made through OM offices around the world or online at: www.omships.org/donate.