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24 June 2018

Sharing hope on the streets of Southampton

James Musson James Musson Ministry Leader for Communications
Southampton Street Pastors - sweeping

Jenny Coleman, member of staff at Southampton Street Pastors, updates us on the work of Street Pastors and offers information on how to get involved.

While on patrols we are seeing a new openness in people’s response to Christian faith, receiving prayer and the Bible. Street pastors have been recording data on people’s interest in faith from our patrols for the last year.

We can definitely see an appetite for hearing about God and even requesting prayer in the ‘faith data’ collected over the last 12 months:

  • Praying with people as requested by them – 63 times
  • Praying with people as instigated by the street pastor – 120 times
  • Having faith conversations – 211 times
  • Handing out Bibles – 24 times
  • Seeing answered prayer – 151 times
Southampton Street Pastors - encounter

Below are just a few examples of some of the stories of faith from recent patrols. These illustrate, more than ever, how much the church is needed and appreciated on the streets.

  • On a school patrol, a school pastor had an in-depth conversation with a Year 10 lad about doing your best and feeling good about what you had done. At the end of the conversation, the school pastor put out his hand to shake the young lad’s hand and the lad gave the pastor a great big hug of appreciation for his encouragement!
  • Street pastors on community patrol went into a local park and met a group of 20 to 30 year-olds holding candles and remembering a friend of theirs who had recently died, leaving two children. The street pastors offered to pray for the deceased and his family, and this was welcomed by the group. The ensuing prayers were recorded on a phone by some of those present so they could show the deceased’s family.
  • A known couple who sleep rough flagged down the street pastors in a park during the early hours and brought to their attention a young man who was on the ground intoxicated and unresponsive. He was wearing a shirt despite it being only four degrees! Had this man not been found it was likely he would have become hypothermic. The street pastors had not planned to walk this way but God had guided them to take a different route back to base.

The leadership of Southampton Street Pastors believe that it is a great tool for the church’s local outreach. It is one way in which the church can share the varied gifts, skills and abilities that we have all been given, including the practical and the spiritual. We would like to encourage anyone, whether a church leader or a new Christian, to come on an observation with one of our patrols, even if it is just out of pure curiosity.

Southampton Street Pastors - coat logo

Southampton Street Pastors offers a full training programme designed for anyone who would like to join us. Here are a couple of examples of feedback from recent training courses:

  • “I found the training was in-depth, encouraging, engaging and challenging. Throughout the training I felt moved, I also was encouraged by the other people on the training course. Meeting other Street Pastors and trainees and talking to them was a highlight for me, it’s awesome to be with people who love Jesus and want to serve.”
  • “I thought the training was pacey as there was a lot of ground to cover. I made some really strong bonds with people I had never met before from very different backgrounds. For me that’s a really strong indicator of the course being a success as that’s exactly what we need to do on patrol. Overall it was the most intense, challenging and rewarding training I have ever done.”

If you are interested in taking part in the upcoming training, get in touch with the Southampton Street Pastors' office, who would be happy to send you an information pack and application form about becoming a School Pastor, Street Pastor or Prayer Pastor. (Applications are needed by Friday 7 September 2018.)

Visit the Southampton Street Pastors website here: https://streetpastors.org/locations/southampton/join/

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