Light in the Bay

26 July 2013

A LANDMARK in Cardiff Bay, in Llandaff diocese, is the lightship Helwick. This year, she is celebrating a double anniversary: it is 60 years since she was built and commissioned by Trinity House, to serve as a lightship in UK coastal waters; and 20 years since she was berthed in Harbour Drive to serve as a floating Christian Centre.

In her former working life, she carried a crew of seven, and her stations included Cowes and Morecambe Bay, and, finally, the Gower Peninsula. As a floating lighthouse, her beam could be seen from 25 miles away.

Now, she beams a light for the gospel. Her forward hold has become an ecumenical chapel, where the eucharist is celebrated every Wednesday. The anchor-chain locker (she spent her life anchored to the sea bed, and could never sail under her own steam, but always had to be towed to new locations) is now the conference room and exhibition area; the Master's cabin is now the chaplain's office; and refreshments and drinks are served in the galley. More than 100,000 visitors went aboard last year.

Meanwhile, the team of chaplains have a ministry not only among visitors, but more particularly among those who work in the Bay area.

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