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Town Pastors arrive in Sudbury!

17 August 2009 One Comment
Peter Avery and Denice Finch 2

Earlier last month, Sudbury saw the introduction of Town Pastors, a voluntary group of Christian men and women, supported by Churches Together in Sudbury & District, whose mission is to share their love of God in the community  by patrolling the centre of town on a Saturday night between 10pm and 4am. Following its initial success in Ipswich, the scheme spread to Bury St Edmunds, Woodbridge and Stowmarket and now Sudbury. I met local organizer Pastor Peter Avery from Living Waters Fellowship to ask him about the scheme and how the first couple of Saturdays had gone.

Why, I asked, does Sudbury need Town Pastors? Peter answered very concisely: “On Saturday nights there are a lot of young people who are out in town, some of these people are vulnerable when they come out of the pubs and clubs. They can become split up from their group, be worse for wear either through drugs and/or alcohol, and as a result are vulnerable. Either they become lost and disorientated and, worse, could be involved in a fight.”

Peter explained that part of the scheme’s aims is to come alongside those in need and possibly help them sort out any trouble. This could involve something quite simple but by having a chat, maybe calming and defusing a tense situation, the issue can be resolved. If someone is out in the streets suffering from the cold the pastors will provide space blankets, water to help with dehydration and even ‘Freddo’ chocolate bars for energy. However, if a violent situation were to arise they would immediately call the police.

“We’re not there to judge, and whilst we are Christians who believe in sharing the love of God in the community through this work, we are not there to preach but to offer practical support. Our primary role is to help ensure that people out in town have a safe night,” said Peter.

The scheme runs in partnership with the police and operates radio links with a prayer base as well as the local clubs and pubs via the Pub Watch Scheme.   The prayer base consists of a team of people who, as well as staying in radio contact with the pastors, provide support during the night, along with others at home, through their prayers.” The prayer team is a vital part of the scheme without which, it could not function” Peter explained.

On their first night the pastors met and helped numerous people. Peter explained how, by drawing alongside the confused and disorientated, the pastors helped, not only with a potentially dangerous situation, but this action helped alleviate the pressure on the police and ambulance service, thereby allowing them to concentrate on more serious issues.  In fact Ipswich saw a 70% decrease in incidences within just a few months of the scheme which started three years ago.

So if you are out and about late on Saturday night and see a couple of people wearing high visibility jackets and caps emblazoned with the Town Pastors logo, you will have no trouble guessing who they are!

Lynda Sebbage

Churches Together in Sudbury & District

Photo – Peter Avery & Denice Finch

One Comment »

  • Kevin Jones said:

    Thank you Lynda

    That was a really good account of what Town Pastors are all about.Thank you also for your time and effort put into the write up.
    I pray that as more people get to see and hear what we are doing, that they will be inspired to get involved.This is such a great way of showing the people of Sudbury just how much OUR GOD cares for each and every one of us.

    Bless You.


    Sudbury Town Pastors