Hello from the Street Pastors and Prayer Pastors in East Grinstead

We are a team of volunteers from various churches in EG and surroundings who patrol the streets of our town every Saturday night from 9pm until 3am on Sunday morning, lending an open ear, helping where we can and generally caring for people in need.

Mostly, people’s reaction to Street Pastors is very positive. They are usually amazed that we are volunteers and start wondering why we might be helping the “lowest of the low” (their words, not mine). We love being asked as it gives us an opportunity to share that we want to show people God’s love in a very practical way. This regularly leads to very good conversations.

At around 2am, Poison IV nightclub closes, and many youths spill out into the street. We often dive straight into the crowd, handing out lollipops (who can look aggressive with a lollipop in their mouth?!) and calling in to our Base at West Street Baptist Church where our invaluable Prayer Pastors are based. It takes around 2min for rowdy behaviour to stop when they start praying, and we can’t acknowledge enough how God’s spirit working His peace on the streets.

Lots of girls gladly accept a pair of flip flops when they aren’t able to walk on their heels any longer, and we have given out innumerable amounts of water bottles and swept up broken glass.

Normally, we step aside and pray when aggression broils, but on occasion street pastors have been led to march drunk men away from trouble or hold two people’s fists apart from one another in order to save a girl who had fallen under the fighting men’s feet…

No evening is like another, and we have the privilege to connect with lots of different people:
people who are new to the area; birthday parties often in hilarious costumes; people who are stuck at the train station; people having forgotten keys or having locked themselves out who are in need of help; people needing an arm to lean on to walk home; teenagers at the skate park; several injuries which required space blankets and waiting for an ambulance; but also people who have lost faith due to circumstances and are desperate for someone to listen.

As a PR event in May, Street Pastors held a “What’s not in my line” competition which saw some 17 shops in town put an item they don’t sell in their shop window. Our next event is a celebration: On 21st June, from 7pm at the West Street Baptist Church, we will be holding a Bring and Share Pizza Party for all Pastors and supporters; to celebrate our first anniversary of patrolling the streets – a great opportunity to meet up.

Prayer requests

  •   Please pray for protection of the team while they are out on the streets.
  •   Please pray for peace on the bridges at the bypass and God’s spirit to minister to people’s hearts when theyare in desperate situations
  •   Please pray for peace outside the places with the longest opening times. Exuberance fuelled by alcohol veryoften turns into aggression at closing time.
  •   Please pray for more volunteers to join as Street Pastors. If you are interested, feel free to make anappointment with Mary, our coordinator, to come along on a night shift as an ‘Observer’, to help you discern if this work is for you. eastgrinstead@streetpastors.org.uk

Yvonne Shaw