The Prayer Pastors Team:
An Interview with Janice
Whilst our Street Pastors patrol teams are out and about on the streets, our Prayer Pastors hold down the fort. Not everyone enjoys being on the front-line, and not everyone can commit to the time or training our Patrol team members require. Instead, many of our volunteers choose to become Prayer Pastors, a vital part of the Street Pastors initiative.
When it comes to running any organisation or event, you inevitably have people working in the background. These busy worker-bees are the people who keep things running and keep an eye out for any potential issues. 10-year Prayer Pastor veteran Janice is such an example.
“I knew from the beginning of the Street Pastor initiative in Ashford that God was asking me to be involved, but I said, ‘No!’ with lots of excuses, the main one being that I was too old.” Says the now 73-year-old.
However, the oldest Street Pastor involved at that time was in his 80s and labelling herself as ‘too old’ in her early 60s couldn’t hold up for long. After deciding to join, she received training and her first assignment to her once-monthly team shift as a new Prayer Pastor.
“I loved being a part of the team from my very first shift, and I still love it as much now.” She says.
“Being a Prayer Pastor is so rewarding because I feel that we are doing something positive to help make our town a better and safer place in which the youngsters can go out and enjoy themselves.”
What do Prayer Pastors do?
Janice explains that a Prayer Pastor’s primary role is to provide both spiritual and logistical support to the Street Pastor Patrol teams.
“As a Prayer Pastor, my main role is prayer. While the Street Pastors are patrolling the streets, those of us on duty cover them in prayer for them to be kept safe and for God to go with them. We also pray for the town that night and the people that the team will meet. When the team finds a situation, such as a drunken brawl or a fight, they radio in to us at the base. We pray immediately, then let Town Control know in case they are unaware so that they can make sure their security cameras are facing the right direction.”
Part of the Prayer Pastors’ role is to keep all interested parties up to date.
“We have a Town Control radio at the base, and we can hear what is going on in the town, then relay anything relevant to the team so they can go to the incident and offer assistance if needed. Through our own radios, we maintain contact with the Street Pastors every 20 – 30 minutes, to be aware of their position and know that they are safe. At the base, we use the computer to fill in a report form which is a record of all that goes on during the evening, such as the streets patrolled, any incidents and people talked to.”
A Memorable Experience
She provides an example of a memorable incident.
“I remember one night at about 3.30 am a call from the Town Control radio was received to say that the door staff at Hustle night club were reporting a fight beginning between two groups of youngsters outside and that it was likely to turn nasty. We radioed to inform the Street Pastors from the base, and they headed down to the club. Meanwhile, we began to pray and begged God to calm the situation down before a lot of people got hurt.”
She explains that the incident took place across the street from the Ashford Street Pastors base, where the Prayer Pastors gather.
“We could see out of the window where the fight was going on, so we prayed with our eyes open. As we prayed, the main protagonists suddenly stopped, put their arms down by their sides, turned and walked away in opposite directions. By the time the team arrived at the scene, the fight was over, and they could then chat with the hangers-on and all ended on a good note.”
In most towns with a Street Pastor initiative, the crime figures have gone down, which is acknowledged by the police and local councils. Street Pastors work together with the local police and councils through the local coordinator. They keep the coordinator up to date on what events will be occurring and the concerns for the area. The Street Pastors teams can then participate and safely keep an eye out for these issues.
What would Janice say to anyone interested in joining Ashford Street Pastors as a Prayer Pastor?
“You will not regret it, and you will be doing something worthwhile, helping to keep our streets safer.”
To find out more about Ashford Street Pastors head over here.
If you would like to sign up as a volunteer, follow this link.
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To donate to our costs of supporting the vulnerable in our community, go here.