You may have heard about a group of people called Street Pastors.
Who are they? What do they do? Where can you find them?
Here is an interview with Elizabeth Seaman, one of the street pastors in Chandler’s Ford. In the interview below, Elizabeth talks about her experience as a Street Pastor, working together with Jill and Roy Johnson.
Note: Original text by Elizabeth; questions added by Janet.
How long have you been a Street Pastor?
Elizabeth: Early March 2013 will be an important milestone for us as it marks the end of our first year as Street Pastors in Chandler’s Ford.
When do you ‘roam the street’?
Elizabeth: Street Pastors have been running for a few years in Chandler’s Ford, and every Friday evening, small teams are on patrol across the local area. Each team consists of volunteers drawn from churches across Chandler’s Ford, with a different team going out each week.
What’s the aim of Street Pastors?
Elizabeth: The aim of Street Pastors is to meet and engage with local people of all ages wherever they are, helping those that require assistance or just offering a listening ear.
What area does the Street Pastors cover locally?
Elizabeth: Over the past year we have covered all areas of Chandler’s Ford, including Fryern, Hiltingbury, Velmore, Valley Park and Freespace (the BMX and skate park close to the M3).
A summary of your typical evening?
Elizabeth: What we quickly learnt is that there is no such thing as a typical Friday night, and that no matter what the weather is throwing at us, we always go out. We meet people of all ages but usually it is youngsters that we interact with –and some members of the teams have even been known to try their hand on the BMX bikes at Freespace, to the great amusement of the regular users of the ramps!
Teams have also been out on other days of the week at local events such as the Hiltingbury Extravaganza, or supporting other volunteer groups on Bonfire Night.
Are Street Pastors only working outdoor?
Elizabeth: Occasionally our patrol can take us indoors for part of the evening, such as visiting the St Boniface youth group to speak about what we do.
On another occasion we were invited into Velmore Community Centre to join a pre-wedding party for a Muslim bride and groom-to-be. This was a wonderful experience as we not only learnt about their wedding customs but also enjoyed the excellent food.
What’s your special message?
Elizabeth: Finally, a word about those that support us every Friday. We would not be able to do our work without the support of Prayer Pastors. They not only pray for us, and for those that we meet, whilst on patrol, but they also listen to us when we have our mid-patrol break and provide us with that all-important refreshing hot drink!
It has been a fascinating first year, and we look forward to another 12 months of great experiences, with hopefully a drier summer……