That sinking feeling

Earlier this year, Waterways Chaplaincy (Church Army partners) were given the name of a boater who was new to living on the water. The canal authorities were worried about this newcomer and particularly concerned about the condition of his boat.

A couple of Waterways Chaplains visited his boat and realised it was clearly at risk of sinking. The owner shared a number of relationship issues that concerned him and the chaplains found his anxiety levels a cause for concern.

The chaplains were able to give this man a food parcel voucher and a Gideon New Testament, and promised to bring him a meal in a few days.

When the chaplains arrived with the meal, they were dismayed to find that the boat had now partially sunk with the cat aboard, and the boater nowhere to be seen! Luckily a passing widebeam boat managed to moor alongside and prevent the boat from slipping further into the main channel, and also enabled one of the brave chaplains to get aboard and rescue the cat.

The boater was contacted by phone and he tore along the towpath on his motorcycle, drawing the attention of two police officers who followed him. Eventually, ten people were involved in one way or another in the rescue!

The police rang all possible homeless centres for accommodation and eventually the local council were able to offer the boater a hotel room for the night. Shortly after, an advert was put on Facebook about the cat and within 10 minutes a kind lady had responded who was used to saving strays. She is now keeping the cat until the owner is able to have her back. Thankfully the boater has now been given temporary accommodation.

It was truly amazing how God brought all of these people together to sort out the practical aspects, rescue the cat, and find accommodation for the boater.

To find more about this ministry on the waterways and canals, visit the Waterways Chaplaincy website.

Read more stories of transformation in other areas of our work here.