Cirencester had its first Street Pastors patrol last weekend (Saturday 19th February). Bernard, Michael, Vivien and Wendy were the team and were universally greeted warmly and with a great deal of affirmation from young people, taxi drivers, door staff and the police. Two off-duty police from nearby Cheltenham stopped to talk with the team to tell them they were doing a great job.
Two people tried to press money in to the teams hands, when they said they were Christians from the churches of Cirencester. A Lithuanian asked, “Madam what is ‘Street Pastor’” when told he blessed them and shook their hands and was incredulous that 11 churches were involved in sponsoring the programme.
One small group wanted to borrow the hats and have their photos taken, our team did not oblige and the police were not far away confirmed that the taking of a hat is a ‘trophy’. We’re going to order some spares as its possible that we might lose the odd cap from time to time.
The town was quite busy, noisy and sometimes boisterous but always friendly towards the ‘Pastors’. Several beer bottles were safely placed in rubbish bins. One establishment offered them tea and coffee but it was not opportune to accept the offer then. One young woman, carrying her high heeled shoes, was offered flip-flops but as she was waiting for taxi she declined the offer even.
“You volunteer … out this late at night … and at your age!”
“Can I try on your hat?”
“Just wanted to let you know you do a terrific job” – off duty police men and women
“Fair play to you .. fair play” with a thumbs up gesture, the same young man “… so when I get wasted (too much alcohol) you’ll be there to help me. That’s great, thank you”
The team were supported the whole time by Sheelagh, Anna and Keith paying for them back at the Prayer Room and making tea, hot chocolate etc. The team and the prayers’ all departed together around 3.45am Sunday morning rejoicing at the overwhelming welcome they received