Street Pastors

 

Ripley Chapel, this year gave their Harvest gift of money to a Derby project called `Street Pastors`. It was a scheme I had heard of but hadn’t known too much about. Shortly afterwards I had the opportunity to travel to Cliff College to hear a morning presentation on the work of the National Street Pastor scheme, led by the Director of the Ascension Trust, Les Isaac.
 
Les led us in a time of learning the history of the movement, the purpose and the motivation behind it all.
 
His theory is that in any town the three largest gangs are the police, the council and the Church. Les refers to these as the Urban Trinity and as a result of liaising between all three over a period of two years, he was able to start the first scheme in Brixton, London. That was 8 years ago and now there are schemes running in 27 of the 33 London Boroughs, and nationally there are 3,500 street pastors on the streets of the UK, and many more prayer pastors in Churches praying for their work.
 
Les used Isaiah chapter 52 as his Biblical model which speaks of the “Watchmen of the Night” and that sums up the work extremely well as these are teams of people who will go onto the streets of our towns (in our case, Derby through the Derby City Mission) when the pubs and nightclubs are in operation (usually at weekends) and simply bring the love of Jesus to all who need help. It isn’t street preaching, but community blessing; it’s about meeting the physical needs of people as well as their spiritual needs. In Acts chapter 3 Peter and John went to pray but first they did something for the crippled beggar at the gate. Too often we neglect action and hide behind prayer. This isn’t to decry prayer but it raises the need for both prayer and practical action.
 
In Derby there are 28 partners in their project including 25 different denominations; this really is Christians together and in action.
 
Jesus, the Lord, said “When they see your good works, they’ll praise your Father in Heaven”.
 
The final words on the morning presentation described the Street Pastors scheme as “Christianity doing what it says on the tin !”
A very challenging time and very thought provoking.

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