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George Charles Smith of Penzance

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Table of Contents


Chapter 1 Early Years (1782–1796)
Chapter 2 A Floating Hell (1797–1802)
Chapter 3 Bound for “Damascus” (1802–1803)
Chapter 4 New Sailing Orders (1803–1809)
Chapter 5 Casting Off! (1809–1814)
Chapter 6 Continental Crosswinds (1814–1816)
Chapter 7 “Aquatic Preaching” (1817)
Chapter 8 Launching the London “Ark” (1818)
Chapter 9 The Bethel Flag Goes Global (1819–1826)
Chapter 10 The Sailor’s “Sodom and Gomorrah” (1819–1826)
Chapter 11 Toward a Marine Jerusalem (1826–1829)
Chapter 12 Tumultuous Times (1829–1848)
Chapter 13 Back to Penzance (1848–1862)
Chapter 14 “Last Watch Upon Deck” (1862–1863)
Chapter 15 The Legacy of George Charles Smith: A Summary

Scripture Index

George Charles Smith of Penzance
From Nelson Sailor to Mission Pioneer
by: Roald Kverndal (Author)
In the two previous books of his trilogy, Seamen’s Missions (1986) and The Way of the Sea(2008), the author researched how the seafarers’ mission movement began and expanded. This third volume traces the captivating human drama surrounding the origins. In fifteen fascinating chapters the book presents, for the first time ever, the embattled life of George Charles Smith—today recognized worldwide as the founder of the Maritime Mission Movement. Here, the reader can follow the turbulent career of this man of extremes: his humble origins; his harrowing years in a “floating hell” in Nelson’s navy; his relentless war with the “Sodom and Gomorrah” of London’s Sailortown; his dogged pursuit of a “Marine Jerusalem”; his survival of heartless debtors’ prisons; his feting throughout America; and his “last watch” in his home port, Penzance, in southwest England. Perhaps the most powerful affirmation of the lasting legacy of George Charles Smith is how also non-Western participants in today’s maritime mission readily discern in him the profile of a prophet.


  • Far from home, seafarers face natural dangers, social mistreatment, and loneliness even in cramped quarters. Yet ever since Christ rode the waves, his followers have blessed seafarers. Read this book for a stirring true account written by the leading historian of maritime missions. You will never look at the ocean in the same way.

    Miriam Adeney, PhDworld mission professor at Seattle Pacific University and Regent College, Vancouver BC

  • It has been a delight to read this first-ever biography of George Charles Smith, the founder of the worldwide Seafarers’ Mission Movement. With source materials about Smith’s stormy life scattered in so many places, Dr. Roald Kverndal has undertaken a mammoth task in compiling the data for such a formidable enterprise. I am not aware of any statue or blue plaque having yet been erected to Smith’s memory. This book will therefore help to raise rightful awareness.

    Dr. Stephen Friendco-founder of the International Association for the Study of Maritime Mission

  • Wisdom, it is said, is often best taught by experience. In the case of “Boatswain Smith,” he gained the wisdom to become the worldwide grandfather of Christian ministry among seafarers by himself “coming up through the hawse pipe.” The author has knitted together a fascinating series of vignettes from Smith’s own words into the inspirational life story of a man of extraordinary vision and faith.

    Monsignor James E. Dillenburgformerly international secretary of the Apostleship of the Sea at the Vatican

  • This book is a tremendous treasure. Tracing the life of the founder and fearless advocate of ministry among People of the Sea, the book belongs to the practical theology of seafarers’ chaplains everywhere. It can also serve as a wonderful challenge to seafarers themselves to minister among their own. When I recently shared a glimpse of this Pioneer Pastor from Penzance with a seafaring friend of mine, he was just all ears and begged me for a copy one day.

    Reverend Peter Ibrahimveteran port chaplain to International Seafarers in Hamburg

  • Ever since George Charles Smith received his original call to seafarers’ mission in the early 1800s, he has been an icon and inspirer for others—across all denominational boundaries. I too have been greatly indebted to him—not least during my many years of service in the Norwegian Seamen’s Church in London, as a direct successor to Smith’s groundbreaking ministry in the Danish-Norwegian Temple there. Dr. Roald Kverndal deserves our thanks for researching the life story of this truly heroic pioneer.

    Reverend Dagfinn Kvalethirty-year chaplain in the Norwegian Seamen's Mission

Additional Details

  • Pages: 192
  • Publisher: William Carey Library
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publish Year: 2012
  • ISBN: 9780878083947
  • Vendor: William Carey Library