In these days when many people are concerned for their own and their loved ones’ safety and health, what would move someone to walk the streets late at night to help strangers? Street Pastors are Christian volunteers from all denominations who willingly stay out until the early hours of the morning to care for people who are vulnerable, showing compassionate care and concern to everyone they meet.
Founded on the streets of Brixton by Reverend Les Isaac, OBE, in 2003 as a response to critical social issues, there are now 270 Street Pastor groups across the UK and seven internationally. More than 12,000 volunteers have been trained to serve as Street Pastors, not only on the streets but in many other public spheres as well, such as schools and after terrorist attacks. One of its strengths is that the work is supported by churches of every denomination.
Whether offering a listening ear to a vulnerable clubber, mentoring a troubled teen, giving food to a homeless person or responding to a national emergency, Street Pastors are making a significant difference in communities across the UK and beyond.
This book, with incredible and, in some cases, life-saving stories, celebrates their work, which has been credited with saving police and NHS time and money, reducing crime and improving neighbourhoods. Street Pastors also appear in some GCSE Religious Education syllabuses. Taking a humble stance, it demonstrates the practical ways in which God cares about this world and all the suffering in it and dispels the myth that the Church is not relevant today.
Luke and Sue say,
‘There are many times when [we]’d rather stay at home than go on patrol all night but then [we] would miss out on seeing God at work and prayers answered.’
In the preface Les Isaac, OBE, writes,
‘The Church is a force for good in the world. Stories from the Streets seeks to demonstrate and celebrate this by highlighting the excellence and the transformative power of the work being done by what I can only describe as a formidable army of Street Pastors who have become a welcome presence in their various battalions in towns and cities across our nation. The book captures the excitement and the passion of all the volunteers who serve as Street Pastors as well as the gratitude of those with whom they come into contact. The stories also remind us that God is in the business of taking ordinary people and using them in powerful and practical ways.’
About the authors: Sue Shaw is a former teacher who has worked for Street Pastors both in paid and voluntary capacities, including two years in Antigua. Dr Luke Randall, a research microbiologist, has volunteered as a Street Pastor for ten years and is a team leader in the Greater London area.