51st Annual Blessing of the Fleet

Mariners' Church of Detroit
March 8, 2015

Numerous ISMA members from around the Great Lakes participated in the Blessing of the Fleet on Sunday, March 8, 2015 at Mariners' Church of Detroit. 
Fr. William Fleming, Rector of Mariners' Church, officiated at the service. 

Serving in the honor guard were: Art Brooks, Wayne Coulston, Bill Griffore, Art Herrala, PGP Ron Ingram, Ron LaPlante, PGP Tom McMullen, Steve Nelson, Ray Oset, Scott Reynolds, Rick Scott and Ken Suddick of Detroit Lodge No. 7; Jim Semerad and Roger Hewlett of Port Huron Lodge No. 2; Grand First Vice President Bob Lund of Chicago Lodge No. 3; ISMA Grand President Joe Walters of Twin Ports Lodge No. 12;  and PGP Ray Sheldon and Adm. Gerald Achenbach of Grand Traverse Lodge No. 23.  Tom Ochs and Paul Jagenow of Detroit Lodge No. 7 were in the congregation.  Four past and present Grand Presidents participated in the honor guard.  Several Shipmasters served in additional capacities during the service.  During the presentation of the Capt. Lewis Ludington Awards, Scott Reynolds served as reader.  During the reading of the names of deceased mariners, Kathy McGraw of Detroit Lodge No. 7 served as necrologist and Grand Lodge President Joe Walters, assisted by lodge President Ron LaPlante, were designated as bell tollers.  Roger Hewlett, Ken Suddick, Bob Lund and Bill Griffore presented the wreaths that represented loss by storm, reef, fire, and collision.  Ron Ingram and Art Brooks were receivers of pennants, burgees and fleet flags.

Three ISMA members were recipients of the Capt. Lewis Ludington Awards:
Capt. Raymond L. Sheldon, Past Grand President from Grand Traverse Lodge No. 23
Capt. Wayne A. Coulston, of Detroit Lodge No. 7
Capt. Robert B. Hull (posthumous award), from Georgian Bay-Huronia Lodge No. 15

Capt. Robert Hull passed away unexpectedly on May 2, 2014 at the age of 59 after piloting a ship through the icy waters of Lake Superior to Thunder Bay, Ontario.  Captain Hull was a member of the first graduating class of the Marine Navigation Technology program at Georgian College, graduating in 1976.  He sailed with Misener and Pioneer Shipping as an officer and Master.  When the opportunity arose, he went piloting and for the last 20 years was working with the Great Lakes Pilotage Authority-Districts 2 and 3.  He joined the ISMA in 1985 as a charter member of Georgian Bay-Huronia Lodge No. 15 and was serving as that lodge’s Secretary-Treasurer at the time of his death.  He was honored to be appointed Grand Lodge Chaplain in 2014, sadly serving in that office for only a short time before his untimely passing.  In 1991, Captain Hull became a full professor of navigation at Georgian College and as an instructor he assisted many students as teacher and tutor.  He enjoyed nurturing the future careers of a generation of cadets at that school.  His passing was noted in numerous Great Lakes publications and one such obituary described Capt. Hull as a kind and wonderful gentleman, a person of faith, a skilled mariner and a trusted colleague.

The Capt. Lewis Ludington Award was established by the Ludington Family and Mariners’ Church in 1994.  Over the years some 85 Shipmasters have been recognized for their contributions to the maritime industry on the Great Lakes.  Detroit Lodge No. 7 has been honored to have a role in the selection process.

(click on photos to enlarge)

Shipmasters assembled in church pews 
Shipmasters assembled in church pews
main altar with ship model
Shipmasters assembled in church pews
Necrologist Kathy McGraw reviews her
notes before the service

Service begins with Presentation of the colors
Fr. Bill Fleming makes welcoming comments
Capt. Wayne Coulston (of Lodge 7)
on altar to receive Ludington Award
Capt. Wayne Coulston (of Lodge 7)
on altar to receive Ludington Award
Capt. Raymond Sheldon
(Grand Traverse Lodge No. 23)
on altar to receive Ludington Award

Capt. Raymond Sheldon
(Grand Traverse Lodge No. 23)
on altar to receive Ludington Award
Julianne Hull, widow of Capt. Robert Hull, on
altar to receive Capt. Hull's Ludington Award
Julianne Hull is congratulated by Ian Ludington,
Great-Grandson of Capt. Lewis Ludington
view of honor guard from side of church
honor guard on altar
honor guard on altar with model of the lumber
hooker Alaska, one of Lewis Ludington's ships.
Mary LaPlante presents the
Detroit Lodge No. 7 Auxiliary flag

Lodge President Ronald LaPlante presents
the flag of Detroit Lodge No. 7

Personal pennant of Past Grand
President Captain Ronald Ingram

Ludington Award Recipients (L-R):
Past Grand President Capt. Ray Sheldon,
Captain Wayne Coulston,
Julianne Hull on behalf of the late Capt. Bob Hull
Ludington Award recipients with members
of the Ludington Family
Capt. Ray Sheldon with his sister, Marie
Strong and brother-in-law
Lt. Commander
Bill Strong (USCG-Ret.)

Capt. Wayne Coulston with
his daughter Genevieve
ISMA Grand President Joseph Walters and Lodge
7 President Ron LaPlante - pose in front of
the Octorora bell, which is rung in honor of
deceased mariners. 

Capt. Joe Walters with his brother, Bob Walters
  Bob Lund (left), Captain of the Chicago Fireboat,
and Capt. Scott Reynolds of the Detroit Fireboat



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