Along the shores of the Sea of Galilee Jesus came upon two brothers, Peter and Andrew, and said to them: "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men." Since that time many people have been trying to follow Christ as fishers of men. Some people have succeeded in doing this through Fish.
What is Fish? It's a movement of individuals working together in local chapters performing services - often emergency services, but not always - for their fellow men.
It all started in 1961 when a small group of people in St. Andrew's Church, Old Headington, Oxford, England, sought to follow Christ and minister to their neighbors. A person was selected to be a street warden and to watch out for the well-being of the people on the street. Fish cards were distributed to all the homes on each street, and people placed the Fish card in their window when they needed help. When a local street warden saw a Fish card he went immediately to the house.
As an American visiting in England several years later learned of this program, and brought the story of it back to Rev. Robert L. Howell, at that time rector of the Church of the Good Shephard, West Springfield, Massachusetts. In that parish, a small group was already meeting regularly during Lent 1964. At the end of Lent Father Howell preached a sermon about establishing Fish in the parish, and shortly five people joined him and his wife in initiating the first Fish chapter in the United States
Today there are more than 1,000 chapters in America as well as many other couuntries throughout the world. In the U.S, Fish operates basically by telephone rather than by signs in the window, but the premise is the same: being fishers of men.
Fish has no national structure and it is strongly believed that it is one of the keys to its success. Each local chapter, as a result, find its own community level and works toward filling the needs, as they arise, that prevail in the community.
The services which Fish is called upon are varied. It can mean taking a child from a school to the hospital. It can mean putting a person in contact with the right agency for obtaining medical assistance. It can mean reading to a blind person. It can mean running a ham radio service to contact family members in another area when there has been a disaster. It can mean securing overnight lodging for someone who is stranded in a strange town. It can mean giving assistance to someone who finds himself the victim of civic red tape. It can mean telephoning an elderly person once a day to check that person is all right and not in need. It can mean doing the housework or preparing meals for someone recuperating from an illness. It can mean running an errand for an invalid. It has meant all of these things and main, many more to the persons involved in Fish and to the people whom they have offered their voluntary services.
Being a Fish means offering our commitment to be a servant of God and to demonstrate God's love through our actions. Because we must all be our brothers' keepers, there needs to be a Fish chapter in evey community throughout the world. If our faith, whatever it may be, has any validity for us, there is no reason why eventually there cannot be Fish in every community.
Very simply, Fish is a movement that won't stop spreading an idea that can't stop growing. This brochure is about some of the publications and aids available for starting, nurturing and continuing the operation of a Fish chapter in any community.