Seamen's Church Institute Names Winston Rice as Gulf of Mexico Chaplain
The Rev. Winston Rice, a former offshore worker and maritime lawyer, will begin his ministry as Gulf of Mexico chaplain for Seamen's Church Institute on April 1. In the new role, Rice will serve mariners and other workers in the offshore exploration and production industry.
Extending the institute's inland ministry efforts into the Gulf of Mexico, Rice joins two current chaplains -- the Rev. Kempton Baldridge and the Rev. Michael Nation -- for SCI's Ministry on the River, the nation's only full-time pastoral care ministry on the Ohio and Lower Mississippi River systems.
"SCI's new chaplain understands the challenges faced by offshore mariners and workers. With a father and grandfather who between them have worked in the petroleum exploration and production industry over the past 100 years, he says he was 'born into the oil patch,'" according to a March 29 SCI press release.
Before becoming a lawyer, Rice worked as a rotary floor hand, or "roughneck," and barge engineer on mobile offshore drilling units, the release says. Later, as a maritime lawyer, Rice specialized in marine and energy law, with special emphasis on insurance and reinsurance of those industries. Over time, Rice's legal career found him practicing on every continent, except Antarctica.
In the mid 1990s, Rice began exploring his Christian faith more deeply, becoming increasingly involved with his church and serving as a chancellor (a church lawyer), vestry member, eucharistic minister, and worship leader. Six years ago, Rice was ordained as an Episcopal priest.
Tailoring pastoral care to the offshore industry enables SCI to meet the needs of the offshore mariners who work in remote and harsh environments, the SCI release said.
"As I've traveled to the Gulf and met mariners, I realized that with a tweak to its pastoral care team, SCI could do a better job of reaching the offshore worker," says the Rev. David M. Rider, SCI's president and executive director, according to the release. "Dedicating a chaplain to the Gulf will enable us to share the range of our services with people who want and need them."