Recently our church had a fascinating presentation about Inverclyde’s Street Pastors. Alistair McAlees, local coordinator, told us how on Friday and Saturday nights and into the early hours of the morning these volunteers regularly – in all weathers – go into Greenock and Gourock town centres, meeting and talking with people going in and out of clubs, pubs and parties.
CARE – LISTEN – HELP
Equipped with special backpacks, the Street Pastors go out in teams of three or four, chatting with folks, offering practical help where appropriate, including handing out water, flip flops (some people end up barefoot!) ‘space-blankets’, etc. Bottles lying on the ground are safely binned, avoiding the danger of their use as weapons. The Street Pastors are Christians from different churches who have a genuine interest in their community.
Street Pastors, begun in London in 2003, now operates in 270 places around the UK. It is a response by Christians who feel that God’s practical love should be seen in action in the streets – not just in churches. Emphasis is on listening to people they meet, allowing them opportunity to express their thoughts, hopes and fears. Information and advice are offered, but this is not in a ‘preaching’ manner.
Training is given in preparation for the variety of situations they meet on the streets. Local authorities and the police endorse the Street Pastors’ work, recognising its real benefits to the community. Initiatives report a drop in crime rates when Street Pastors are on patrol.
Encouraging reports come from people who have appreciated a listening ear and a kindly helping hand at difficult times. This is the Jesus way: meeting and helping needy people where they are.
More information from: http://www.streetpastors.org.uk