Lincoln BIG has welcomed news that six new recruits have joined the city’s street pastors team.
And it is hoped that more will soon be encouraged to follow them, so that the team can once again field more members to patrol the city’s streets regularly on Friday, as well as Saturday nights.
The new pastors (traditionally referred to by their Christian names only) are: Roy, Peter, Corinna, Bea, Becca and Maggie.
Lincoln Street Pastors Co-ordinator Teena Twelves said: “Before the commissioning ceremony at Bailgate Methodist Church, we had about 27 street pastors and 14 prayer pastors, so this is good news.
“We are delighted to welcome the new recruits, but we are still in need of more volunteers, after suffering a reduction in numbers over the past few months. That has meant that we can only send a team out on the last Friday night of the month, instead of every Friday.
“We still send a team out every Saturday night – and they work between the hours of 10.30pm and 3.30am, but we need more people to give full Friday night cover too.”
Lincoln Street Pastors, who have a base within Lincoln BIG’s offices, have been an important presence, providing a listening ear and support to revellers and the homeless out late at night, for more than 10 years.
In their backpacks they carry coffee, soups and water, along with flip-flops for bare feet, giving comfort to party-goers, and space blankets offering essential extra warmth to the homeless on cold nights.
Teena said Lincoln Street Pastors have been helped by a funding boost of £15,000 from Lincoln Methodist District and Circuit, and a further £10,000 from Lincolnshire Police for training purposes.
“We have been successful in recruiting more pastors after visiting churches and community groups where we have been able to tell people much more about what we do,” said Teena.
The pastors commissioning ceremony saw the Bishop of Grantham, the Right Reverend Dr Nicholas Chamberlain deliver the formal prayer of commissioning and each pastor was given a Bible.
Caps were presented to them by Lincolnshire Police Inspector Claire Hime and Lincoln BIG Evening Economy Manager Marion Cooney was delighted to present each pastor with a special lapel badge.
“The street pastors do a great job in helping to ensure that people enjoy a safe night out in the city and those in need receive essential help,” said Marion.
Lincoln BIG Chief Executive Sarah Loftus said: “We are a growing city and we want everyone to enjoy their weekend nights out. The street pastors do a wonderful job in ensure people feel safe and we hope their numbers continue to rise.”