This morning Luton Street Pastors had training around our Local Community. We gathered in the midst of the emerging story of the shootings and attacks in Paris. In the shock of this devastating news, we met to discuss our local issues around conflict and building peace.
In the face of such outright hatred and hurting, our small group could easily feel powerless and overwhelmed. We sat together, not yet knowing all the details of the attacks, not knowing the number of dead and injured, and not knowing what the impact of these attacks would be closer to home.
We understood already that we face an incredibly diverse culture in our town; our team sought to find out more about our local community issues. Luton has a population of around 215,000 people and of those 55% of non-British ethnic origin – our community consists of people from over 110 nations and who speak 140 languages. In this context, Luton Street Pastors are in a unique position as peace-makers amongst ever-changing circumstances.
We were led by a key peace-maker locally, Peter Adams, and by a representative from the Police Community Cohesion team. Our team were incredibly challenged by the morning as we faced the difficulties and tensions we have seen before on our patrols, but we were also encouraged by the positive work and peace that exists in many places across the town.
The issues society and communities face today are complex and ever-changing, but Peter reminded us that Peace is a sign of the Kingdom of God, and we are agents of Peace.