|Street Pastors are volunteers from local churches who share a genuine concern for their community. They make themselves available to care listen, and offer practical help to whoever they meet whilst out on the streets for one evening per month.|
Newsletter September 2020
As some of the TV soaps are currently showing past episodes, here are some our stories from over the years. What isnít mentioned in these reports are the incidental conversions that take place because Street Pastors are Christian volunteers from local churches. Like many other Street Pastor teams we have had the comments as we exchange hellos with the regulars outside the pubs: "I donít have any time for that God stuff, but I like what you are doing!" We do share our faith in Jesus especially when people ask us why we do what we are doing and we will pray with people on the streets and in the pub.
To read the full newsletter click here
Christmas Newsletter 2019
Oldham South Street Pastors
It is now just over ten years since our Street Pastor Team began working in what was then a notorious area for anti-social behaviour along the Hollins Road corridor. Of those original members Amanda Lane, Carol Shepherdson and Linda Kendrick are still actively involved. Since those early days we have grown into two teams, one based in South Chadderton and the other in Failsworth. We currently have 17 members and we manage to be out three or four Friday nights per month in Chadderton and two Saturdays in Failsworth.
Over the years the situations in those two areas have ebbed and flowed, when one area has become quiet for a time the other has thrown up all sorts of challenging issues and then vice versa. Currently some of the main issues are gang related which is exactly the environment Street Pastors first began in places like Brixton and Moss Side challenging the church to go out onto the streets of its own communities. A police officer who we have worked with over the years recently said at a public meeting that he always knew when our Street Pastor team were out on the streets because an atmosphere of calm and tranquillity seemed to descend on the area. Powerful testimony indeed.
Of course it is not always so serious, a few weeks ago we came across a lady who had been walking a neighbour's dog in Coalshaw Green Park and was locked in after the gates were closed. She was in a very distressed state and very grateful that we were able to assist her over the fence and escort her safely home. As they hurried to her assistance Paul and Graham, being of a certain age, couldn't help but picture the episode of 'Only Fools and Horses' were Del Boy and Rodney come running through the mist dressed in Batman and Robin costumes.
There are also teams in several other areas around Greater Manchester including one being established to work in the centre of Manchester. If this could be for you, contact us and find out more
The Chadderton Street
(above) goes out every Friday night, between 7.30pm to 12 midnight and
since forming in 2010, they have been building relationships within the
local community. The team often engages with groups of young people who
gather within the neighbourhood and who usually ask, ďWhat is a
street pastor?Ē followed by, ďDo you get paid?Ē When we
explain who we are and why we are there, we are quickly accepted and
begin to get to know them.
The Chadderton team,
along with a similar team working in the Hollins and Failsworth
districts of Oldham is part of the Oldham South Street Pastor
I am pleased to report that our teams are still out regularly in Failsworth and Chadderton and although there have been of some concerning issues arising mainly involving young people coming in from outside the area, so far we havenít come across too much of this whist we have been out.
Mike and I were at a meeting recently talking about the role of Street Pastors, and it was mentioned that where ever across the country there is a Street Pastor team operating, police statistics show a marked drop in anti-social behaviour and even more serious crime and GBH. The importance of prayer and the part played by our prayer pastors was mentioned and a Police Officer who we have worked closely with over the years then said that you could always tell when the Street Pastors were out because there was a noticeable sense of calm and tranquillity that came over the area. It felt quite humbling to hear such feed-back.
However there are times when our teams can offer more practical help too. Whilst Abi, Linda and Karl were out in Failsworth, they were told that a boy had collapsed at the tram stop. As they got onto the platform the young man was sitting up and a young lady who we later found out to be his girlfriend was sat with him. She told us that the young man was claustrophobic and had a panic attack due to the packed tram, and then collapsed. He was white as a sheet and shaking hard, and we were initially concerned that he may have taken something but they both assured us that he hadnít and he did then start to calm down and the symptoms subsided. Linda put her jacket around the young man's shoulders, and we gave him some water and sweets to suck. He was now very anxious about getting back onto the tram to get his girlfriend home safely. We had a quick chat with the girlís mum over the phone and reassured her that everything was ok before taking them both home.
On another occasion in Chadderton the team again just happened to be on hand when help was needed. As they were heading back to Thompson Lane they heard a loud screech and knew straight away someone had come off a motorbike. As they hurried up Whitegate Lane and near the Newsagents a man dragged himself onto the pavement crying out. David sprang into action to support the man lying down, careful not to move him. Carol and Donna were both on to emergency services giving details. It didnít matter they said that two people were relaying info at this point. Passers-by and neighbours were also offering help. One lady phoned the manís Nan on his mobile. Thankfully the man was conscious, talking, though in pain, a PC then arrived quickly followed by a response paramedic and then an ambulance crew. The manís Nan had also arrived and was able to go with him in the ambulance and David told her that we would continue to pray and she was grateful. We had been told that the man was just leaving work so the following Monday David called in to his workplace with a card and met one of his colleagues who had been driving out from work just behind him. He told David that fortunately the man should make a full recovery.
Sometimes when we are out, although the streets we walk are familiar it seems as though we have entered into a surreal world. We were climbing the steps to Freehold Metro by the looming hulk of the derelict Hartford Mill when a young man and woman came flying down the steps from the platform. They stopped to chat with us and we exchanged a little good natured banter. He was smoking a roll-up and she had a half full glass of beer in her hand. They offered us a spliff, which we politely declined. They seemed to know what Street Pastors were and asked if we had lollies, so we obliged. As they departed the man insisted on shaking our hands one by one. At that point two PCSOís and a PC came running down from the platform and shouting at the couple to stop. It appeared that there had been a confrontation with the PCSOs and the couple had refused to give their details. The couple shot down the steps with the Police following but were apprehended at the bottom. If they hadnít stopped to chat to us they would have been well away, but it left us feeling that we really had a very different role and were viewed very differently to the statuary services.
For further information on Street
Pastors, Prayer Pastors or how you can support the work of Street
Pastors, please contact: Graham Radcliffe, Coordinator Oldham South
Thanks to all those who helped and
supported the evening.