WEST PEABODY, MA (November 3, 2011) – Steve Cushing was bewildered during a recent worship service when his wife, Sharon, was called to the front of the sanctuary at West Peabody Community Covenant Church. Cushing, the chaplain at the New England Seafarer’s Mission, grew suspicious when Pastor Joel Anderle also invited three others:
Katherine Horvath, the coordinator of mentoring and placement at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, as well as Cushing’s mentee Ben Kim and new wife, Bianca.
Cushing’s suspicion turned to surprise when Horvath presented him with the school’s 2011 Outstanding Mentor Award.
Cushing was chosen from among hundreds of mentors. “He gives beyond teaching,” says Horvath. “He invests his life and really cares for their spiritual lives.”
Horvath notes that Cushing presided at the Kims’ wedding. “Talk about a full-service mentor!”
“I am humbled by their selection, and I guess I have to work harder now to keep the bar where it is,” says Cushing.
Cushing has mentored Kim at the mission, which operates under the auspices of the East Coast Conference. The ministry reaches out to more than 20,000 seafarers a year who come from 150 nations and is a reminder to the crews they are not forgotten.
Oftentimes, the ships are docked for only a few hours. In his nomination letter, Kim wrote, “It is hard to imagine how one can minister to anyone in such a short period of time, let alone tend to the day-to-day responsibilities. However, Steve has been able to manage and exceed in his role.”
Kim noted that people Cushing had ministered to only briefly several years before would return to thank him for impacting their lives.
Kim added that Cushing’s leadership provided him with expanded opportunities to grow as a minister. “It is no challenge to find a mentor who will tell you what to do, but to find someone like Steve who gives their mentee room to deduce things for himself, providing gentle guidance along the way is exceedingly difficult.”
Cushing, a Covenant minister who says he benefited from the school’s mentoring program while he was a student, has mentored several students who have been able to expand the ministry’s international outreach.
“Watching these ministry students grow and learn, using their language skills, organizational skills and tremendous commitments is the real joy I experience and remember,” Cushing says, “and it adds to my own growth and ministry at the Seafarers.