Woohooooo – after weeks of working our way through paperwork, getting references from people, passing an interview stage and attending numerous training sessions we never expected, me and my better half were finally commissioned as street pastors yesterday afternoon!!!
The commissioning service was held at St Swithun’s CoE, East Grinstead, and not only did many vicars, fathers, pastors and ministers attend but also the deputy mayor and representatives from the police. The speeches were moving and told of the long road it had taken to get the group off the ground. What struck me, though, was how enthusiastic the police were about our new group. On top of this, it was great to sing worship songs accompanied by an organ instead of a full band for a change. The official commissioning bit was marked by all street pastors being handed their new caps and swearing an oath before the prayer pastors were asked to come to the front to be prayed over as well.
Afterwards, there was coffee and cake for everyone, and sandwiches for the street pastors and prayer pastors until at 7pm it was finally time to head out onto the streets in groups. The police stopped the traffic on the High Street so that the press could take some photos of our new uniforms, and then we dispersed to introduce ourselves to businesses and people in the town.
The whole week I had been apprehensive and very nervous, but when it came to actually talking to people, it was a joy to share what we were about and were meaning to do. Our group went to the Atrium first, chatting to the manager at the cinema, a girl at the bar in the Crow’s Nest and people at Wetherspoon’s. From there we walked down London Road towards the Bridge Cafe, across the bridge to the playground and skateboard park, around Moat Pond and all the way back.
An amazing 1 1/2hours spent chatting and getting to know people.
Can’t wait for our first, real patrol next week!!