The June meeting commenced with a service in church, led by Chris Jupp, a Reader and MU member. This was followed by a short business meeting in the Hall, before Marion introduced our two speakers for the evening, Ian and June, who are members of the Bury Street Pastor team.
Ian Began with a computer presentation explaining the work of the team – that they were all volunteers with a concern for the local community; that they were drawn from various churches; that they go out on the streets on Friday & Saturday nights; that their main job is to care; they have to have good listening skills, which can lead to an opportunity to help.
The volunteers must be aged 18+ and had to undergo 50 hours of training before they could go out onto the streets. The training shows that the street pastors do not preach; do not judge; do not condescend; do not replace the police. The Street Pastor scheme was started by Lee Isaacs – in London – to help improve the lives in communities. It is an interdenominational Church response to urban problems; engaging with people on the streets and in night time venues to care, listen and offer practical help.
The first scheme was begun in London about 11 years ago. This was followed by schemes in the Midlands, then Greater Manchester and Stalybridge. The Bury Team was inaugurated at Bury Parish Church in 2011, when 300 volunteers were commissioned.
Training and uniforms for sac volunteer costs £300, which the volunteers try to raise themselves. Ongoing costs include the purchase of ‘flip flops’ to hand out to girls with broken heels; special bottle tops, which can be inserted to prevent drinks being spiked; lollipops to be handed out to ‘mouthy’ individuals; bottles of water, mints and rubber gloves.
Teams of at least 3 go out onto the streets. They don’t know what situations will occur. In Bury they use walkie talkie radios, which link up to CCTV in the town centre and personal mobile phones for communication. They use ‘Manna House’ on Irwell Street as a base. Working between 10pm and 3-4am, often their role is a clearing-up one, removing broken bottles and getting people home safely, when they are not capable of doing so themselves.
Because the teams have a non-confrontational approach, it lowers aggression, and brings reassurance, lowers the threat of crime and actual instances of crime.
Street Pastors is a clearly visible presence of the Church in action on the streets. After many questions Ian & June were thanked for their talk by Isobel Hinchliffe.
Mothers’ Union Favourite Recipe | Chocolate Tiffin Cake – click here for recipe
- Marion referred to the Cymbal & Wave of Prayer leaflets
- Biscuits were provided by Eileen Smith, Shirley Roberts and Joan Feeley to celebrate special birthdays
- Dates for diaries – June 17th will be a Walk & Supper at Next Door at a cost of £13 – please book with Elsie. Walkers met at 6.30pm at Carmelo’s car park. Meal at 8pm.
- The Deanery AGM is at All Saints on June 25th
- St Paul’s Ramsbottom is holding a Flower Festival 27th-29th June.
- The Day Out will be to Fleetwood on August 19th.
- Val gave information of the ‘Make a Mothers’ Day’ collection. A total of £300 has been sent to support the projects.
- Mothers’ Union has paid half of the cost of the new boiler in the Hall kitchen