Despite the heavy rain on Friday, May 24, nothing could dampen the excitement and enthusiasm of those attending the Commissioning Service held in Trinity United Reformed Church for the first group of trained Street Pastors for the village of Billingshurst.
Representatives from West Sussex County Council, Horsham District Council, Billingshurst Parish Council, Sussex Police and local clergy, together with Billingshurst residents, all lent their support.
Billingshurst Street Pastors have been undertaking a comprehensive training programme for the last six months, benefitting from interaction with and training from among others, BEAT Responders Heartstart; HDC Youth Support Team; NHS Sussex Partnership and with generous help from Sussex Police.
The first team of volunteers, all drawn from local churches, were commissioned by Anwar and Hannah Bourazza, representatives from the Ascension Trust (the umbrella organisation responsible for Street Pastors which, since its formation ten years ago, has trained over 11,000 people for this important voluntary work).
After the service the Street Pastors undertook their first patrol in the village and were well received by all those whom they met - in local businesses, pubs, restaurants etc as well as on the streets.
Billingshurst Street Pastors aim to provide a friendly and helpful presence at various times of the day and evening throughout the village. They will listen to everyone, young and old and provide help to any who need it, without prejudice.
Contact with the community may range from a friendly chat to pointing people to an appropriate agency should they have a specific need.
As Street Pastors become a familiar sight on the streets we anticipate that more local Christians will decide to get involved.
Anyone interested in joining the street patrols or supporting the work by becoming a Prayer Pastor should contact the Ministers of either Trinity United Reformed Church, Billingshurst Family Church or St. Mary’s Church Billingshurst.