So what do Street Pastors actually do? In some ways, there is no straight answer to that question, because every shift is different.
But typically, the shift begins when the team arrives at the base just before 10pm. After a brief time of sharing any personal news and concerns, we pray together then take to the streets. During the first patrol (which tends to be quieter), we often make contact with door staff, street marshals and police, picking up on any particular concerns they have for the night in question. We follow a route which aims to take in all the main bars and night clubs. We are in radio contact with the other agencies working on the streets and will aim to respond to any reports we hear or direct requests for our help. Otherwise, we aim to be led by the Lord to the places where we need to be. Through the night, we usually return to the base once or twice for a break.
The team on patrol is on the look-out for anyone who might need help. This help might include giving flip-flops to a woman whose high heels have been abandoned in favour of bare feet (not a good idea when there is broken glass around!), or giving a blanket to someone sleeping rough. It might include giving directions to the taxi ranks or train station, or helping someone who’s had too much to drink to sober up enough to get home. It might involve comforting someone who’s just had a row with their partner, or helping someone who’s got separated from their friends to track them down. It might mean a casual conversation, or a lengthy chat with someone who is suicidal. It might mean calling the ambulance for someone who is injured, or talking with those who have been involved in or witnessed a fight.
Find out more about Street Pastors here.