You may have already heard mention of the Street Pastors project, but what is it about and how do our churches need to get involved?
Street Pastors is a Christian response to the needs in local communities caused by crime, antisocial behaviour & vulnerability of those who've been out at bars & clubs late at night. In 1993 the Ascension Trust was established as a way of channelling and developing the response. Have a look at their website find out more: http://bromsgrove.streetpastors.co.uk/
"Caring, listening, helping" are the three words at the heart of the vision for Street Pastors. The project is about gospel proclamation, so how does that happen?
The main work is carried out on a Friday night/Saturday morning, often from 10pm – 4am. Teams of people spend time on the streets close to pubs and night clubs. They're there to be ready to help in practical ways when relationships have broken down or the effect of too much alcohol is causing difficulty. Street Pastors are trained to defuse tension and so point people towards better responses.
It's about the church showing in practical ways that we care, will listen & help, without someone having to listen to a sermon first!! It's about getting to know our local community & building relationships into which we can bring the love of God.
All of this is underpinned by prayer. Wherever there are Street Pastors on the street, close by there will be a group of people in a "Night Base" praying. Prayer is a non-negotiable and essential part of the project.
Where Street Pastors work is being done, the results are staggering. Official Police statistics report significant reductions in crime and anti-social behaviour and much of this is attributed to the presence of Street Pastors. In Lewisham crime and antisocial behaviour went down 30% in the first 13 weeks of Street Pastors going live. That rose to well over 80% after more time. Camberwell has seen a reduction of 95% and Peckham 74%.
But this is not just about the more troubled inner city areas of our country. Towns and villages have Street Pastors as well. Stourbridge & Worcester are two places close to Bromsgrove where Street Pastors has been set up. What about Bromsgrove? Do we really need this here?
The Worcester Road end of the High Street on Friday & Saturday nights is a huge problem area. As young people begin to make their way home from pubs and the night club, frequent issues of crime & antisocial behaviour occur. It is often perceived that not enough is being done to diffuse situations before they get out of hand, or to help people out who feel vulnerable or in trouble.
Street Pastors has a proven track record of being able to do this in the name of Jesus. Which of us would want to know that if our daughter was out late at night there'd be someone close by to get help from? Which of us would feel happier knowing that our son could be out drinking with his mates in an environment where he'd be safe?
What will your response be? Do you feel able to get involved? You may not feel able to be a Street Pastor out on the streets, but what about the prayer team, or helping to develop the work through contact with local businesses and community leaders? Perhaps be a member of the Management Committee? or help by doing fund raising?.
Please prayerfully consider your own response to this opportunity and let your church leader know how you think God is prompting you to get involved.
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