Monday, 19 October 2009

Pastors On Patrol

A new initiative has got underway to help resolve some of the problems caused by street revellers who overdo the party atmosphere.

Street Pastors are an inter-denominational group made up of members from 11 local evangelical churches who take their religion out of the pulpit and onto the streets.

They will patrol Reading's streets from 10pm til 4am on Fridays and Saturdays, offering lollipops and flip-flops, as well as alcohol and drug advice and train and bus information.

Matt Hearn said, "Mainly we want to be a friendly face around the town."

He was interviewed by Heart Radio, explaining that the initiative has been tried in over 120 locations over the past 7 years, and that there are now around 3,000 volunteers participating nationwide.

He added,
"We are excited for where God is leading us and how the project will grow, develop and impact Reading town centre for the sake of his Kingdom."
Alan Magness brought together Christian socal action groups through the Safer Reading Forum, local Pubwatch members and town centre Police to form the action group.

Meanwhile politicians from Labour and Conservative parties have been quick to latch onto the initiative to praise the efforts.

Richard McKenzie stoops to condemn any organisation who don't support the Street Pastors while simultaneously announcing his willingness to get involved in a slanging match with opponents who do.

The former councillor says he's got involved because upset people need help:
"You can see there are alot of people who are lonely or who are lost. They all need someone to keep an eye out for them. To make sure they get home safely."

Update: Jane Griffiths thinks the organisation may have been hijacked for election purposes.

Oranjepan says:
Where charity starts at home, faith crosses the doorstep, yet hope still springs eternal.


  1. Abbey Nationalist19 October 2009 at 22:07

    This is all a bit odd.....

    This scheme has been running in Reading for at least two years; the Street Pastors have been doing some good work with prostitutes in Oxford Road. I know this because the Evening Post had a particularly crass article about them. So (as Jane Griffiths says) it must be true.

  2. His Kingdom? Is God aiming to re-establish Wessex as a kingdom?

  3. enjoying the new tom waits20 October 2009 at 23:39

    Abbey Nationalist - good work in what ways?

    Richard McKenzie is a piece of work. I see his 'blog' doesn't accept any comments at all, which says it all....

  4. I suppose it's about time christianity did a bit of good. I wonder why they need a secret friend in order to do this. Why "pastors", too?

    Shouldn't something more basic happen with our society to make binge drinking less attractive?

    I can do drug and alcohol advice: "You've had enough. Stop doing that now."

    Train advice at 4am "You've got a long wait, have a lollipop."

    I like the concept of good work with prostitutes.

    "My father's a slum missionary
    He saves fallen women from sin.
    He'll save you a blond for a fiver
    My god how the money rolls in!"

  5. Tim,
    I don't know how binge-drinking can be made less attractive, it's being completely demonised as it is.

    What the establishment politicians could do is make sober society more attractive and welcoming - it's not irrational that so many people seek an escape from the grind.

    Abbey Nationalist,
    similar schemes have been tried, but the difference is that this one apparently has higher-level political backing. There is clearly a coordinated constituency at work here.

  6. I take your point re making sober society more attractive. But I think binge drinking happens, like taking any recreational drug "because it's fun" rather than to escape.

    After all, one doesn't do that because it's nasty to do. Well, I find it nasty, but I hate throwing up!

    It seems to be a cultural thing to go out and get hammered, rather than to go out and have a glass or two. And I can't fathom it. Even when I was a kid I couldn't fathom it.

    And, totally off topic, this Echo/JS-Kit thing... I can't say that I find it enhances the experience of commenting. Worth an article on blog things so folk can comment?


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