The annual In Day for Glasgow Street Pastors took place on Saturday 27th January at Mosspark Baptist Church. Following a warm welcome from the Rev Michael McCurry and worship led by Christy Passmore, the morning session took the form of our AGM. Reports were received from the co-ordinator, the Prayer Pastor co-ordinator, the treasurer and the team leaders from the Safe Zone. Our chairman, Alasdair Duncan, lead us through changes to the constitution before delivering his own r...eport and reflections which included a moving 'thank you' to all involved in GSP. Lunch was served in the church hall courtesy of Dionne Abbot and her wonderful helpers. The afternoon session started with an inspirational worship session led by the Mosspark Baptist team after which the Rev Edwin Gunn spoke, very powerfully, on the need for Intimacy with God. The 'worship and the word' set the scene for Shaw Anderson (ATS chairman) to lead us through the commissioning of 18 Street Pastors from the Glasgow initiative, joined by 2 from Paisley. In a new development for Glasgow, we commissioned 17 Prayer Pastors, in recognition of the vital part they play in the work of GSP.
Friday 2nd February will be the first night of patrols for our teams in 2018. We're delighted that the Safe Zone will be open on Saturday night too, a month earlier than last year and will be open every Saturday night until the end of June! Please pray for all our volunteers, old and new, as they go out once again or serve in the Safe Zone in Jesus name, to 'listen, care and help'.
The new season of training commences on Saturday 17th February. If you know of anyone interested in volunteering with GSP then please direct them to the website at www.gsp.scot where they will be able to find details about the application process.
To God be all the praise and glory. Amen.
During the month of December we had contact with a number of reporters and representatives from the media. Lindsey Johnstone, an independent reporter, took the time to walk with one of our teams. Her report, which was published in Euronews, can be found at the link below. Thanks to Lindsey for more positive coverage of the work being done by Glasgow Street Pastors.
A big thank you to Niall Christie from the Evening Times for the opportunity to talk about Street Pastors. January 2018 will be our tenth anniversary of being on the city centre streets, listening, caring and helping. May God continue to bless 'the work of our hands' as we continue to humbly serve Him and the people of this great city.
We recently had the pleasure of welcoming Ian Marland, a freelance journalist, on a patrol with us. Please read, like and share his report.
We are indebted to Gordon Macpherson who walked with us on the 4th November and captured images of Street Pastors at work including these taken with Claire's permission. Please pray for Claire, known to so many of us, as she comes to terms with the death of her son Scott.
Much of what is involved in being a Street Pastor is about helping people ‘in the moment’, however what often seems like a brief encounter to us can have a lasting impact on the people we help. A young man, assaulted on Sauchiehall Street a few months ago was with friends on another night out recently and ‘just happened to meet’ one of the Street Pastors who had helped him. His appreciation was overwhelming as was the respect and thanks shown by his friends for what we do. An...other young man spoke of the help he had been given in the Safe Zone in December 2016. He was taken there overly drunk. ‘I don’t know what would have happened to me if it were not for you guys’. Yet another story surfaced of someone who said their life had been ‘turned around’ because of the help received from a Street Pastor team and now they were in a good job and happy.
In the past few weeks we have also listened to some of the homeless men and women we know from our many conversations with them, speak of their family tragedies, the battles they face with depression and suicidal thoughts as well as the daily struggle just to survive. On one of our recent training days at Glasgow City Mission we heard more of the wonderful work being done there and testimony from two members of staff of God’s transformational work in their lives, taking them from addiction to freedom. Both spoke of the impact upon them of ordinary people loving them when they were at their darkest moments. Every act of kindness and compassion, every prayer, every conversation, every pair of socks or gloves given away may in fact make a lifesaving difference to someone in their darkest moment.
Paul says in Romans 1 v 16 ‘I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes’. Every time we walk someone to a hotel, take them to the bus station at 3am in the morning, assist them to a taxi, call family and friends to arrange for their safe return home, we are releasing something powerful into the lives of those we engage with. The love and care they experience from us may well be the start of a process of transformation in their thinking, living, believing. This is the gospel of hope and power that we carry.
You will be able to find full details of our statistics for the month of October on the streets and in the Safe Zone on our website www.gsp.scot at the Docs page.
So what is it to you, that I sit here alone
As you walk by, intent on your phone?
I’m nothing at all; I have no worth
To each one of you, I’m lower than earth.
My life’s full of hate- from you and from me
What is there to love? I’m sure you can see
Nothing of worth. So I expect you
To walk by and ignore me like everyone else too.
Yes, I take drugs - tell me why not!
I know that they harm me and make my teeth rot
But nobody cares. Not really. I know
By your actions. True love would show.
The best that I have is a friend on the street.
An understanding soul who helps me to meet
My needs and addictions, a person who gives
An ear to my sorrows and knows how I live.
I look at your faces, sometimes, to see
Just what you’re thinking as you’re looking at me.
“Get out and get working!” You’re faces all say
As you judge without knowledge and pass on your way.
You can’t know my life or you’d be sitting here too!
The pain and the hurt that would break you in two.
They hated me there and it drove me out here
To a life on the streets of numbness and fear.
So before you sit down on your great judgement seat
Lift up your newspaper and put up your feet.
Spare me a thought, though you won’t spare a pound
And see in your heart if a prayer can’t be found.
Thrilled and delighted that the Glasgow Evening Times have published the story about Alexander's visit to Glasgow and the wonderful contribution he and his mother Lisa have made to the work of Glasgow Street Pastors. Thanks to Stacey Mullen for her words and Kirsty Anderson for the great pictures too, but most importantly, to Alexander and Lisa for seeing a need and doing something about it!
It was a joy to welcome Alexander Sangster, aged 9, and his mother Lisa MacPhee to St George's Tron church this morning. They arrived yesterday from Fort William with 4 bags of hats, gloves and socks which had been collected following an appeal made by Lisa. We thank the people of Fort William for their generosity, Alexander for noticing one morning at 8:30am the rough sleepers on our city streets and then doing something practical to help and Lisa for making it all happen!! The Evening Times covered the story so watch out over the next couple of days to find out more about this amazing young boy.
The month of September heralded the start of what is always a busy season in the life of Glasgow Street Pastors. By using the link https://gsp.scot/docs/ you will find the complete statistical summary of our work for the month of September. A significant development has been the opening of the Safe Zone on a Friday as well as a Saturday night. As a result of our extended opening times, 78 people used the service, staffed by 29 Street Pastors over the course of the month. Our ...volunteer first aid colleagues have played an incredible role in dealing with the many people brought in with alcohol or drug related issues as well as minor injuries. They are an integral part of a truly amazing team!
Stories emerge from the Safe Zone which highlight how important it has become as a ‘safe place’ in the heart of the city. For example, a young woman kept safe while her boyfriend drove down from Aberdeen to collect her. She was in the Safe Zone for three and a half hours! A young girl reported missing from a children’s unit kept safe until collected and returned to her place of care. Several young people brought in by Police officers and kept safe until parents’ or friends could come and collect.
On the streets, we have witnessed God at work in remarkable ways too! Difficult situations have somehow been ‘resolved’ following contact with our wonderful Prayer Pastors! Opportunities have arisen to pray with people over 40 times, often at their request rather than our suggestion. We have shared in meaningful, faith related conversations and some other interesting ones too! One young man after lengthy discussion about how God couldn’t possibly exist said to a team member, ‘you better not be praying for me’!
God has demonstrated His faithfulness to us in so many ways, it gives us strength to keep going as we enter the final, very busy quarter of the year. Please continue to pray for all the volunteers in this significant, God centred ministry in the heart of the city. Pray for those in training as we have reached the midway point in the programme and as they go out on Supervised Patrols. Above all else pray that we will continually, in the words of the hymn,
‘give Him the glory, great things He hath done’.
Why walk in the dark, in the cold and the rain
When we should be in front of the telly again?
It’s been a hard week - just pour out a glass.
Sit yourself down, put your feet up, relax!
Aye right! Not us - we are the Street Pastors.
We wind ourselves up, get out and go faster
We might yawn again and feel the self pity
But we answer the call to be there for the city.
“Why bother?” They ask us again and again.
“It’s all self inflicted - there’s nothing to gain
From being nice to a drunk. They’re just causing mayhem
Look after yourself. Just never mind them.”
But that’s not it at all. We’re there for the drunks
The lost and the homeless, the weird and the punks.
We follow the leader, We must love the lost
To give what they need and not count the cost
Don’t look on us now as if we are heroes
We’re just normal people with God walking near us.
He gives us our love as a tool to be used
To give hope to the damaged, addicted, abused.
“Yeh, thanks you Street Pastors.” They call from the ranking
But we know it’s not us, it’s the Lord they are thanking.
Lord keep us from pride in the words as they fly
And help us remember; but for God, there go I.
It is an amazing privilege to put on a Street Pastor uniform on a Friday or Saturday night and, led by the Holy Spirit, meet and minister to people in need of support and care. Our teams issued 187 pairs of flip flops and disposed of 293 bottles. We stopped to talk to homeless men and women or those begging on the streets on 159 separate occasions. On over 40 occasions we supported people who found themselves in vulnerable situations. Conversations relating to faith matters a...nd opportunities to pray for people occurred 34 times.
A team of 16 Street Pastors were in attendance at the Bellahouston Park Summer Sessions on Thur 24th August to be available at the end of the event to provide assistance in any way we could. This was a combined effort with our friends from Paisley Street Pastors. It was an amazing night of ‘God-incidences’ as we witnessed friends being reunited in the most incredible circumstances. We helped a couple find their car. They were not from Glasgow and couldn’t remember where they had left it near the park! We reunited a young woman, quite miraculously, with her credit card which had been found by a team member on Mosspark Boulevard! Yet again God demonstrated His concern for the practical things that often lead to distress and difficulty in life.
Sadly, this month we also encountered young people who were spending their first days as rough sleepers. In some cases, it was due to a breakdown in family relationships. As the seasons begin to change, please pray for the many vulnerable people, young and old, for whom the streets are their ‘home’.
We also give thanks to God for the 15 people who started training in August to become Street Pastors and we look forward to them joining the incredible team of 114 existing volunteers who make up Glasgow Street Pastors!
To God be the Glory now and always!
AUTUMN TRAINING HAS STARTED!
On Saturday 19th August at Thornliebank Parish Church, the autumn training programme started with a session on Roles & Responsibilities, led by Elaine Nicoll and Andy Sharp. Twelve new trainees were joined by twenty-nine existing Street Pastors who were undergoing refresher training. The Saturday session was quickly followed by an evening at St George’s Tron church on Tuesday 22nd August, where the Rev Alasdair Duncan led a group of twenty-two new and existing Street Pastors on the topic of Listening Skills. The next session will be on Wednesday 6th Sept at SGT when we will consider what it means to work as a team.
Please visit our website (www.gsp.scot) for full details of the training programme and application process.
This came in during the night from some grateful people..............
Dennis Heggenstaller 2:19am Aug 12
Hey guys ,
You helped us tonight to find a hotel room to sleep....
Thank you very much we never experienced such kindness!
Greetings from the German couple
Dennis and Julia
We got this in from a girl we met on Friday night......
'I was out at campus on sauchiehall st on Friday night when the street pastors were a great help to me, thank you so much'!!
It's what we do!