To begin with, I volunteered, not always a good thing I thought as I headed towards the town centre at 9.15 p.m. And I don’t like very late nights either, but I’d promised to go, and to my surprise I had a really great time, and the 3 a.m. bedtime made me feel 16 again! ! Let me explain: I’d asked to go out with Doncaster Street Pastors for the evening, 9 p.m. until maybe 4 a.m. to see how they worked.
Four Street Pastors met me at the United Reformed Church in Hall Gate, and people joined us, doormen, licensees, a First Responder with two special constables to support him, and police, all those working on a Saturday night to ensure those who were out to have a good time had a safe good time. We had a warm drink and were given information about the evening, that there was an event at the Dome and that the previous night had been quiet and uneventful, and then we went our separate ways, but saw each other through the night as we walked round. We five together with our two Prayer Pastors then prayed together for a safe night, and that others should see that we did it for the love God has for those we met, we left our Prayer Pastors at the church to support us in prayer throughout the night, and headed to where the clubs are, strolling along chatting and keeping our eyes open. We carried bottles of water, flip-flops for shoeless girls, – not especially for those who were going on holiday! -lollipops to give a sugar boost, insulated emergency blankets and ‘phones. Our Team Leader carried a radio for immediate contact with the police CCTV and our base should the need arise. The night was relatively quiet, we gave out water and flip-flops, chatted to people we met, saw no fights or people lying on the pavement, and no queues for taxis. Many people greeted us warmly, wanted to know what we were doing, and that was the opportunity to say that we came from local churches. We were generally considered to be useful, helpful, “right good people”.
There were so many positives, I genuinely did enjoy myself and felt very comfortable. There was quite a buzz, everyone there was out with the intention of having a good time, and the overall impression was of good humour and enjoyment. I saw no under-age drinkers thankfully, and I know from my working life that many many under-18s are bought drink by over-18s. I saw people working together for the safety and enjoyment of others. Most importantly I saw Christianity in practice: four devout and cheerful people showing by their actions the love of the God that they serve.
And the pasties? So many times people reading the clothing logo said, “Street what? Pasties, ooooh…..” Pasties are warm and comforting and welcoming, there are worse things to be called!