Street Pasties, Street Patrol and Street Angels are just some of the names given to Worthing’s Street Pastors.
Sometimes, they are even mistaken for parking attendants and the police.
In fact, the Street Pastors are all members of different churches in the town who offer their services on Friday and Saturday nights to try to help clubbers get home safely.
Co-ordinator Annette Charles explained: “We go out at 10pm and stay out until after the last club closes, getting home around 4.30am.
“We do this because we want to show the love of Jesus to the young, and not so young, clubbers in a real and practical way.
“We do not preach but will talk with those who want to talk and that can mean we answer questions about our faith. We have, however, been known to stop a conversation if we hear a call or observe a need to move on to help others.”
The pastors go out in teams of not less than three and each team goes out once every four weeks.
“It is quite a commitment but we are always encouraged by the thanks and support from the clubbers who like to tell us how we helped them or a friend in the past, when they were a bit the worse for wear,” said Annette.
“We help in a variety of ways, from giving out water, lollipops and foil blankets, to helping hypothermic people, lying in doorways, to get home.
“It sometimes is life or death but mostly it is giving people flipflops, or a bit of friendship when they have been deserted by their friends, or helping them to phone someone to come and pick them up when they are unable to be taken home by a taxi and staying on to see them safe.”
The pastors work closely with Sussex Police and door staff, sharing a radio system so all parties are aware of what is going on and back-up can be called for when it looks like the pastors can help.
Annette said: “We are told by the police that the incidence of anti-social behaviour has dropped by 25 per cent since we started working. This is a useful and encouraging measure but our real feedback comes from the people we help.
“We are always open to, and grateful for, funding as we have costs in buying flipflops, water and other items, along with the rental of our headquarters and training. So, any help in that area would be greatly appreciated.”
Street Pastors in Worthing was started by Ginny Cassell and her husband Mick about eight years ago. They were inspirational and hard-working, organising training, encouraging everyone, welcoming outreach in the churches and providing insights and humour along the way, but have now moved on to other things.
For more information about Street Pastors, contact Annette Charles, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07717 634734.
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