Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Street Pasty...

You can read Richard McKenzie's blog of last Friday's by clicking here

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Who ya gonna call - Street Pastors...!!

Friday night was definitely what you would call a wet one!! Rain and wind I've not experienced since Uganda days!!

As a team of 7 we split ourselves into two teams and patrolled the different areas of town centre.

The lashing rain and wind didn't stop people descending into the town centre - and our initial thoughts of "this is going to be quiet night" soon evaporated when a group of girls met one of the teams with "look it's those street thingys' Yes we need to do some work on our image - we've also been called street pasta and street pasties...

Again we had a very positive night, a night of good conversations with door staff, punters, police (some complaining they hadn't got there lollipops!). It feels like we are being accepted and trusted by all those out and about - and that our presence is an important one in terms of ensuring people do have a safe and fun time out.

A few incidents that the pastors were able to help out in and intervene - a potential bust up between 3 lads early on in the evening, supporting and chatting to a number of the homeless out on the streets - giving out space blankets to a few to stay warm! Keeping an eye on a domestic that was heating up and stayed until it calmed down. Helping 3 lost new to the area Irish nurses, helping lone ladies to the taxi ranks, keeping them company while they wait to be picked up, helping an epileptic guy to get home safely.

The guys in the CCTV room needed assistance at one of the venues - a guy there was unconscious through too much drink - Who ya gonna call - Street Pastors!! The team found the guy with the police, the SP wrapped him in a space blanket and a SP hat, got his mobile and started calling people to find out where he lived - it was this or the cells for the night - eventually got through to his Dad in Ireland told us he lived with a flat mate - got his address and the police dropped him home! Another satisfied customer probably waking with a big headache!! More flipflops handed out and girls very excited in meeting us as they heard us on the Radio!!

People of Reading are really friendly and thankful to us - people who we have helped in previous weeks coming up to us and thanking us - the Muslim guy from last week thanked us for listening to him and helping him out!!

The more we go out the more friends we are making and the more people are realising who we are and what we are about, the more this happens the more people will trust us feel safer and able to call on us for help and advice!

There are future development opportunities opening up for us - we've been invited to patrol town centre during student nights and some estates around the town!! Watch this space!!

IF your reading this and want to find out more please contact us on Our Next training schedule is in March!

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Worried mum - no more...

One of our volunteers (Di) emailed me today saying that she had a conversation with a mum who has a 19 year old daughter who regularly goes out on a Friday.

Her daughter came home a couple of weeks ago and told her that she doesn’t have to worry so much about her not getting home till 4am as there are these ‘great people called Street Pastors who look out for you’.....

Whilst the mum is still a tad on the worried side she was delighted when Di was able to tell her what it’s all about.

Well done are being noticed

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Shofar | Trolleys girls| New beginnings...

So... another night cladding on our uniforms and stepping into the unknown in Reading Town Centre to serve our King and country...the first time for team purple!!

...and in the case of one of our volunteers bringing along her enormous shofar - a what you might ask? This is an instrument that was used to announce processions/ holidays/ wars/ used to describe the awesome noise from the thick cloud at Mount Sinai. From St Laurence's the blast of the shofar sounded over Reading signalled the advent of Jesus over Reading - and Street Pastors fully armed and ready to do God's business.

The night started off slowly, but usually the first half is crucial in continuing to strengthen our partnership and relationship with the door staff and the local police. Once again a warm reception from Door Staff we've not previously met.

Due to a fire alarm going off and prematurely ending the punters night at Reflex (the 80's club), this gave us the opportunity to chat more to those on the street hanging around waiting to see if they can back in again. Some good general chats and making ourselves seen and available for people. While we were hanging around reflex, the other team were chasing down girls in a trolley which CCTV had radioed through and starting to cause trouble and a scene a be potentially dangerous - Street pastors to the rescue!

After our mid-night break I, matt, left the gang to it and went home! Post break, the team ventured out once again with the Police saying you couldn't have timed it better, he’s had a bit too much to drink, he’s Muslim and has life issues. This presented the team with quite a difficult and sensitive situation to handle. The police has called an ambulance to get the guy checked out, the team leader being a local GP, thought he was intoxicated with drugs rather than alcohol, which made things harder to handle. While waiting for the ambulance the guy chatted with the Street Pastors for the best part of an hour, listening and chatting and trying to understand the hugeness of the guys issues. The team decided they had done all they could for the guy, they handed him our Street Pastor card in case he wanted to get back into contact with us. If you are reading this and want more information how you can pray then contact us. The team left the guy with the police supervising him.

The highlight so far for the whole team I believe is that at the very end of their shift as they were grudgingly walking back to St Laurence's from having a good time outside the Purple Turtle on Gun Street, heading back about 3ish due to having less police cover in and around town centre at that time, the team bumped into a guy who was previously a Christian from a local Reading Church 15 years ago!! After the team was talking to him and talking about SP and what they were doing, and finding a little bit about him, they were about to part company and out of the blue he turned around and asked if they could pray for him - the team through prayer and asking if he wanted to pray for anything gently led him back to the Lord - AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME!! - please pray for this guy this week!!

Street Pastors I believe is having some real credible impact in the town, still in small ways, but individuals are being impacted by it and quite a few people do thank us for the work we do and recognise what we are trying to do - care, listen and help those in need! All this and we are only been 3 weeks in...