Life as a Street Pastor

Every second Friday between 22.30 and 2.30am, I am part of a group of street pastors who patrol Hounslow High Street. Founded in the UK over ten years ago by Les Isaacs, Christian volunteers are trained up to help and care for people in practical ways. There are now over 12,000 of us operating in several countries.

We start and end with prayer with our prayer pastors who commit to pray for us whilst we patrol. In our very fashionable and distinct uniforms we then go out to chat with people. We have met people who are suicidal, alcoholics, unemployed and/or homeless. Sometimes the conversations can be intense.

We can spend a lot of time laughing. Especially the youth can be very entertaining in the wee hours. We once waited at the bus stop with a youngster fully clad in a Batman dressing gown who was to take his cousin home. He gave us all huge hugs when she and the bus arrived.

Revived after a short break for tea, coffee and biscuits we are out at 2:00am when the pubs and clubs close. Young ladies barely able to walk in their high heels are ever so shocked and grateful when we supply them with street pastor flip flops! We give out lollipops (the bouncers seem to look forward to them the most) as an ice breaker to get young people talking to us and we give out water. We have a list of numbers for cabs. There has been more than one occasion when we prevented young women going home with males they clearly do it know!

We do our best by our presence to diffuse fights, taking care of anyone who is injured and sometimes talk with those involved in the fights. We work as team to ensure each other’s safety.

Gayle Farrell