On Sunday evening, April 22, St John’s, Ballyclare, hosted a Commissioning Service for Antrim & Newtownabbey Street Pastors.
Street pastors are trained volunteers from local churches who care about their community. They patrol in teams of men and women, usually from 8pm to 2am on a Friday and Saturday night across many cities and towns in the UK.
The local branch of Street Pastors, whose chair is the Rev Neil Cutcliffe, has been serving in the local community since 2013.
The branch currently covers the area of Glengormley, Mayfield, Rathcoole, New Mossley, Monstown and Ballyclare, offering support and care to people who may be out on the streets late at night during the weekend. It is hoped to expand further in Antrim.
St John’s has established a new partnership with Street Pastors, now becoming the base where volunteers will set out from at the weekends. On Sunday evening, 13 additional volunteers from across many churches were commissioned for this ministry.
Representatives from the council, political parties and district policing were also present, highlighting to the congregation how important this partnership is to the wellbeing of the community.
Rector of St John’s, Ballyclare, the Rev Jonny Campbell-Smyth, said: “The Church’s role is to offer the hope and love of Jesus to people in our community. Street Pastors is a very tangible way in which we as a Community Church want to express that love, and through it to bridge the gap between Church and Society.”