Traditional Blessing of the Sea
For over a hundred years the blessing of the sea has taken place in Hastings and this year has been no exception. On Wednesday the Revd. Robert Featherstone of St. Clement’s Church in the old town delivered the service to the congregation from the stern of the Hastings lifeboat Sealink Endeavour.
The blessing is not aimed just at the fishing community and lifeboat crews but also those that support them, local inhabitants and visitors to Hastings.
The groups identified in the blessing, in addition to the Lady Mayor (Councillor Judy Rogers) were all represented in the congregation.
Traditionally the blessing had been arranged and delivered by the clergy of the parish, the local Church of England Vicar and the Catholic priest, but in recent years the staff and supporters of the lifeboat station have adopted the hosting and much of the organization. The current Operations Manager (of 27 years) is Peter Adams, who has taken a lead on the organization at its current location. Mr Adams explained that as the local fleet consists, predominantly, of ‘day boats’ the timing of the service can remain fixed and does not need to consider tide times. Wednesday afternoon/evening (traditional early closing day) or Sundays are selected to facilitate attendees.
Sussex Brass provided the music playing a selection including hymns, popular tunes and nautical anthems not forgetting of course the obligatory Sussex by the Sea.