treet Pastors is a national initiative, first pioneered in 2003 and represented by local groups, whose aim is to care for the local community. This is achieved by volunteers from local churches taking time to listen to and help people practically who are out and about on the streets. Street Pastors are usually on patrol once a month, from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. on a Friday or Saturday night. Street Pastors talk to people who need a shoulder to cry on, or they might sit with people who are struggling with the effects by drugs or alcohol. Their presence supports the police by freeing them up to respond to emergencies. The street volunteers are supported, at one of the base churches, by a few prayer pastors (as well as with other supporters praying from home).
Bishop’s Stortford Street Pastors are currently led by local coordinator, Pippa Roy-Chowdhury and works within what is called the “Urban Trinity” – a partnership between the churches, the council and the local police – with some very strong ties established over the years.
Who are the Street Pastors?
Here, in Bishop’s Stortford, we are fortunate that the Street Pastors have been active for 14 years and have recently spread out into Sawbridgeworth too. Street Pastors have been financially supported in the main by our friends in the Baptist and Methodist communities, but they are keen for representation from all Stortford churches and need support from all of us in three main areas – through the work of the Street Pastor Volunteers themselves, by way of prayerful support and, of course, financial support. There are currently 12 active Street Pastors, ranging in age from 26 – 87 years old!
How has COVID-19 affected the work of the Street Pastors?
The work of Street Pastors has been severely curtailed in its mission by the Covid 19 pandemic restrictions, but their work will get up and running again in the coming months and more volunteers are always needed, in order to enable more to be done to serve the community in this invaluable way. Of course, Street Pastors are motivated by their Christian faith, but their aim isn’t to preach or condemn behaviours, but to provide practical support and a listening ear out of love for those they meet.