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Mariners’ Church plans service to honor shipwreck victims

This Sunday is the annual Great Lakes Memorial service at Mariners’ Church honoring the lives lost in the 6,000 shipwrecks that have happened from Superior to Ontario over the centuries. The gathering is intimately tied to the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald which happened near Whitefish Bay on November 10, 1975.

Over 730 feet in length, she was the largest ship that sailed the Great Lakes when the “gales of November” brought her down. You may remember the passage from the Gordon Lightfoot song about the bells tolling at Mariners’ Church. That tradition has never died and will be revived at 3:00 Sunday afternoon, including on a livestream.

Rector Jeff Hubbard has been at Mariners’ for three years and says the memorial mass is always a solemn, yet powerful occasion. He says some of the most poignant material used comes from Psalms.

So there’s a really great psalm that references those who go down to the sea and ships and see the works of the lord.

Mariners’ is a tiny stone building on Jefferson Avenue, framed by the tunnel to Windsor on one side and the colossal glass spires of the Renaissance Center on the other. It is unique in that it serves two different flocks.

It’s always had sort of a dual purpose associated with it of being a parish church for regular folks, but also at the heart of our mission is being a safe harbor for the soul of the sailors of the Great Lakes.

Among his congregants are several of the men on the freighter crews that can be seen on the horizon from vantage points from Copper Harbor to Eagle River on a clear summer day.

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