Moira's night with Street Pastors Print E-mail
Tuesday, 13 March 2012 16:38


Moira Copeland, one of our members here at Hopehall recently went out with the Street pastors in Paisley to find out what it was like. Here is her story of the experience.

There’s a desperate need for street pastors in Paisley city centre. They are out in the street from 10pm (ish) to 4am (ish) on a Friday night. The police would like them to do Saturday nights too but there aren’t enough teams. They have radio contact with Paisley CCTV room and are monitored on camera. Also the doormen (women) keep an eye on them and they have radio contact too, directly to the police. They are not there to preach, as folk mistakenly think, but rather to care for vulnerable people. I found the whole experience wonderful. Yes I was tired but the adrenalin kept me going.

A lot of the folk on the street knew about street pastors and welcomed them. My team were given lots of hugs and grateful thanks and called “angels”. Wow!! On the first turn around of the centre we chatted to the doormen (of the pubs and clibs) who alerted the team to any likely misdemeanours.... (i.e. a sense of trouble brewing) there were none on the night I was out. The team chatted to a well known (to them) homeless person and bought him pakora. Back to our base for about an hour. The real biz doesn’t kick off really ‘til the dancing closes at 3am. Most were well behaved, happy, some more drunk than others. I was amazed at the amount of girls wondering about in their bare feet, carrying their shoes. Street Pastors are well known for handing out flip-flops! It’s quite amusing trying to see an inebriated female trying to bend over to put these on. They laugh and we laugh too….. and help them get them on of course.patrol2

Conversations were struck up about God and church etc, by some people but it is VERY MUCH initiated by them….not the Street Pastors…and that’s ok to then dialogue with them. As an observer I spent from 3am ‘til after 4am keeping two sisters company as they tried to get a taxi home. There are taxi’s coming in and out of the street, some booked, and some just knowing that there will be folk needing a lift. There are also some private cars “cruising” the street pretending to be a taxi and whisking off some unsuspecting drunk girl (or boy but that’s another story). That’s who Street Pastors are there to protect!! There are guys wandering about hoping to get “aff wi’ a burd”, usually a drunk one, and they are a plenty! The two sisters….one told me she had a wee baby of 11 months old and this was her first night out in such a long time. Her sister was getting “friendly” with a nice young man so she and I chatted. She was given a blanket (the tin foil kind) to keep her warm. She told me that her grandparents went to an evangelical church and that she was going to take her wee baby, when she was older, to Sunday school there because she thought it was wonderful we stayed with her to ensure her & her sister’s safety. That gave me such a thrill. Church/God was never mentioned but she knew we were associated with the church in some way and it brought to her mind the evangelical church where her grandparents go. (Not Hopehall!!).

I got such a buzz that night and I’m going out again. I’ll probably join up and go for training. In my opinion, in this day and age these young people, who think they’re having a great time, would never enter a church building, so “church” has to go to where the people are. Is that not what Jesus did?

If you would like to find out more about Street Pastors you can visit their website here.