December 5 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
The Lowestoft Town Pastors team welcomed nine new members during a commissioning service hosted by London Road Baptist Church in Kirkley.
The service this month was presided over by Lowestoft Town Pastors chairman Barry Willson, who described the role of the pastors before leading the congregation in prayer and handing out certificates to the new members.
It was followed by a barbecue in the church grounds.
Four of the new recruits have completed training, including first aid, and will join nearly 40 other volunteers as town pastors. Working from a base at the Fisherman’s Mission in Battery Green Road, they will walk the town centre area between 10pm and 4am on Friday and Saturday nights.
The pastors offer a listening ear, and hand out water and chocolate, to anyone in need of their help, including those left vulnerable as a result of drinking alcohol. They also aim to provide a friendly presence in the town by helping to defuse potentially aggressive situations.
Dave Willis was commissioned as team coordinator, and also as a town pastor. Also commissioned were Stu Precious, Lyn Rivett and Heather Butler.
Mr Willis said: “We are a presence to care for folks that are out enjoying the night-time economy.
“Folks out enjoying themselves who have had a drink can be vulnerable in many way. It could be young ladies out on their own needing taxis or people that are unwell. We are there to listen and chat and look after people.”
The town pastors are supported by a wider team of volunteers who provide assistance from the Fisherman’s Mission or pray from home for the pastors while they out on patrol.
Also commissioned were Alan Boyce and Dawn Sanderson, who will work from the base in Battery Green Road, and three home-based prayer partners Freda Strange, Patricia Hollingsworth and Donna Wren.
Mr Willson, who is one of the founding trustees of Lowestoft Town Pastors, is retiring at the end of the year. He said: “This is the fifth commissioning we have had since the scheme started and I have had the pleasure of commissioning all of them.
“It has been a real privilege to be part of London Road Baptist Church for the service and I’m grateful to them for making space for us to hold this event.”
The commissioning service was also attended by Waveney MP Peter Aldous and Lowestoft police representatives PCSO Michael Soanes and Sgt Claire Simons.
Sgt Simons said: “From a policing perspective I can’t under sell what they do. They defuse conflict, are often there as the first point of need for people and they support the sick and vulnerable.
“They provide welfare so that we can get on with dealing with other things. They do that through good will and on a voluntary basis.
“We get paid to do our duty and have an obligation to help people.
“I think a lot of us are quite in awe of what they do really.”
Mr Aldous added: “Having been out with the town pastors, the benefit of what they do is crystal clear.
“It is tremendous that so many people have come forward and made a commitment to come forward and join them and keep the whole thing going and growing.”