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Street Pastors

To raise awareness of the work of street pastors.

by Janice Ross

Suitable for Key Stage 3

Aims

To raise awareness of the work of street pastors.

Preparation and materials

  • Street Pastors is an interdenominational Church response to urban problems. Street pastors engage with people on the streets to care, listen and talk together. Further information can be found on www.streetpastors.co.uk/
  • You will need:
    a small dustpan and brush
    a pair of flip-flops
    a foil/space blanket or, if that’s not possible, an image would do
    image of street pastors.
  • Be prepared to read, or invite someone to read, the passage from Matthew 25.34–40 (see ‘Time for reflection’).

Assembly

  1. There used to be a TV programme back in the 1970s called What’s My Line? in which a panel of three had to guess the occupation of a contestant. The panellists were each allowed a few questions, but the contestant could only answer ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. Of course, the more obscure the occupation, the easier it was for the contestant to win.

    Perhaps you could think up an occupation to beat the team. How about a sommelier, a shark tank cleaner, a worm collector?

  2. (Show the first three items in the order given above.)

    Three pupils could be allowed one question each, to which you answer only ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.

    Pupils who live in an area where street pastors are active, and recognize the character, may like to explain why these items are necessary for the job.

  3. Street pastors usually work on a Friday or Saturday night from 11 p.m. to about 4 a.m. Their job involves walking the town or city streets where people gather at that time, perhaps after a night partying or drinking.

    (Show dustpan and brush.)

    Where street pastors find broken bottles and glasses carelessly left or dropped on the pavements and road, they brush the glass up.

    (Show flip-flops.)

    Where they find teenage girls or women in bare feet, perhaps carrying their high-heeled shoes (because their feet have become too sore to walk in the shoes any longer), they hand out a free pair of flip-flops.

    (Show foil/space blanket.)

    At this time of year it’s very cold during the night and many people out for a good night are not wearing adequate clothing. It’s very easy to become hypothermic, especially if you have had too much to drink. When street pastors notice people in danger of hypothermia, they may offer them one of these blankets.

  4. Street pastors will organize taxis to get people home; tend to those who may be sick or disoriented; diffuse volatile situations, and generally provide friendship and care for anyone in need at that time of the morning.

    They are monitored by the police and have to take part in 50 hours of training in everything from first aid to conflict management and child protection.

    They can be recognized by their jackets and hats bearing the words ‘Street Pastors’. (Show image of street pastors.)

  5. Street pastors are all volunteers. Many are over 60 years of age, many are grandparents. They come from all walks of life.

    Why do they take on this job? Many of the young people ask them this question! Usually they would answer that it is simply because they care. All of them are Christians who would say that they are only doing what Jesus would want them to do, walking where he would have walked, offering help and friendship to the people he is interested in. Street pastors could be called ‘the Church in action on the streets’.

  6. Great friendships are built up and many young people, especially, are very thankful for the watchful eye of people who genuinely care at times when they may be more vulnerable than usual.

    One recent entry on Facebook said, ‘Can anyone tell me how I woke up this morning wearing a pair of purple and yellow striped flip-flops of all things?’

    She had been ‘street pastored’!
 

Time for reflection

Reflect on these words from Matthew 25.35–40: ‘Then the king will say, “. . . for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”’

Prayer

Dear God,

thank you for the work of street pastors in our towns and cities.

Thank you for their care and concern,

especially for young people such as ourselves.

Protect them and lead them to people who need

a kind word,

a listening ear,

or even a pair of flip-flops.

Amen.

Hymn

‘When I needed a neighbour’ (Come and Praise, 65)

Publication date: February 2013   (Vol.15 No.2)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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