Co-ordinators News 7th June 2017
It is gratifying that during the month, 192 people expressed thanks to our teams for the work they do. Sometimes this was also given with a hug, a handshake, a ‘high five’ or just a look and a nod of appreciation. We also make it into lots of ‘selfies’! Glasgow people are generous with their thanks to us. A young man we encountered in the early hours of Sunday morning had spoken to two of our teams in quick succession. On Sauchiehall Street he explained that he was ‘not religious’-how many times have we heard that-but in his opinion we were an example of true Christlikeness. That has to be the best expression of appreciation ever! To be identified as being like Jesus is both humbling and an incredible testimony to the importance of listening, caring and helping unconditionally. Our actions speak powerfully of our Saviour to the watching Glasgow public!
Later that morning one of our teams was asked by a young woman, after we had given her a foil blanket if she could, ‘do what we do’. We explained that as a Christian ministry, a living faith was the starting point for anyone who wanted to be a Street Pastor. While being envious of people who did have faith, she did not profess to believe in God and felt disappointed that she ‘couldn’t do what we do because she didn’t believe’. We explained that of course she could help people even although she wasn’t a Christian. Her words made me think, and I came to the conclusion that I wouldn’t want to do what we do unless I had a belief in God. Our faith in God is not only what sustains us in life, it is also the hope we carry of transformation, of freedom from chains that bind, of love and acceptance, of grace and mercy, of a new beginning. The young man we met may not have understood the theology behind these truths but he got it from what he saw in our teams. A singer songwriter called Godfrey Birtill wrote a song with the chorus,
May we continually be in the place where our desire and passion is to carry the presence of the Lord into the city streets so that the people of Glasgow might see Him in us and through us. Listen to the song and be blessed and challenged.
Co-ordinators News 6th May 2017
The month of April proved to be another busy time for Glasgow Street Pastors. We gave out 257 pairs of flip flops, lifted 408 bottles, which could have been used as weapons or caused injury in other ways. We helped over 90 people who found themselves in difficulty on the streets and 37 who received help at our Safe Zone. By using the link https://gsp.scot/about/ you will find the complete statistical summary of our work for the month of April, both on the streets of Glasgow and in the Safe Zone.
We had 80 Street Pastors out on patrols and 17 who also listened, cared and helped in the Safe Zone, all backed up by our team of Prayer Pastors who kept watch through the night and prayed directly into situations reported back by the teams. We are a significant presence in the heart of the city, bringing the love of God into difficult and often desperate situations. For example, help was given by a team to a female who was the victim of a serious assault while waiting for an ambulance to arrive. Paramedics were called to deal with an unconscious woman, who had been sleeping rough. A distressed couple were given time and help in the Safe Zone. A man without medication for epilepsy was assessed by our first aiders and then taken to the Royal Infirmary. The Safe Zone team often went ‘the extra mile’, quite literally, to ensure the safe return home of people that no one else cared about at 4am on a Sunday morning!
I have been challenged since the beginning of the year by the words of the song, ‘greater things are still to be done in the city’. The ‘harvest is plentiful’ and so much more could be done in the city, but requires an increase in the number of called, equipped, compassionate and passionate people who are willing to serve. To that end we are looking to recruit more Street Pastors, Safe Zone Pastors and Prayer Pastors. In the coming weeks more details will be given on this page and on our website about the training programme which will commence in August. In the meantime, what about coming out with a team as an observer? Why not request an application form or encourage someone you know to ask for one through our website? What about encouraging your church to invite a guest speaker to talk about the work we do?
During the month we had faith conversations and prayed with over 70 people. We also had 234 conversations with homeless people!
The ‘harvest IS plentiful’. Is the ‘Lord of the harvest’ calling you to join this ministry of mercy and grace in the heart of the city?
Co-ordinators News 5th April 2017
So he said to me, "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the LORD Almighty. (Zechariah 4v6)
Praise God for what has been accomplished by His spirit in the month of March. By going to the ‘About’ section of the website at gsp.scot you will be able to find the complete statistical summary of our work for the past month both on the streets of Glasgow and in the Safe Zone. Behind the statistics however, praise God, are the stories! Praying on the streets for people with addictions and issues such as paranoia, anxiety, depression. Spending time with people having suicidal thoughts. Comforting and counseling those grieving for lost loved ones, caring for a vulnerable female who had been robbed and ensuring her safe return to her accommodation. Dealing with two very drunk people for over two hours, looking after a female who had collapsed due to an asthma/panic attack. Cleaning and dressing the infected needle site of an addict and providing him with a clean hat and gloves as well as tea and toast. In all these and so many more situations we have seen God at work by His Spirit. What a privilege is ours to not only work for God but to work with God.
March has also been a month to praise God for His provision for the ministry. We were delighted to accept a donation of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) from businessman Scott Jackson that he had won in a competition run by St Andrew’s First Aid training. This will give us another dimension to the service we currently provide in the Safe Zone. You will find the full story «here».
We also received significant financial donations during March in support of the ministry providing further evidence of the favour of God on the work of Street Pastors. We praise God for the gifts and those whose hearts have been open to the Spirit’s leading as they have supported our work in the city centre.
During March two of our Street Pastors were engaged to be married! We congratulate Peter Brennan and Jan McKerrow from Friday team 4 and pray God’s blessing on them as they look forward to life and service together. Sadly we also said farewell to Henry Merriweather from Saturday team 1 and we wish Henry well as he moves to a new ministry in Shipley.
On a personal note can I thank you for your prayers and concern during my recent stay in hospital. It was both comforting and humbling to know that so many were ‘lifting me up’ particularly during the days of uncertainty surrounding the nature of the condition I had developed. Please continue to pray for a full and complete recovery.
While writing, the words of a Robin Mark song have been on my mind...
No not by might,
Nor even power,
But by Your Spirit O Lord
Healer of hearts,
Binder of wounds,
Lives that are lost, restore
Flow through this land,
'Til every man
Praises Your name,
Co-ordinators News 7th March 2017
The Safe Zone opened for the first time in 2017 and while we only had 7 visitors, our doors being open made a significant contribution to those who visited. A homeless man with HIV rested with us until we closed. A grieving woman was loved, counseled and helped on her way home. A vulnerable girl who had been robbed was supported and arrangements made to get her back to her accommodation. A boy too drunk to be allowed on a bus to London was able to rest until fit enough to take control of his circumstances. Some of our ‘friends’ simply dropped in for a chat now that we were open again.
It was wonderful this weekend to witness love in action and to see how blessed we are in Glasgow Street Pastors to have compassionate and passionate volunteers, ready and willing to serve, ready to use their gifts to minister to others, ready to honour God! Thanks to all who made a difference by being available to be used by God…… Street Pastors, Prayer Pastors, Safe Zone Pastors and First Aid support. Continue to pray for those we encountered this weekend, that something of the love and compassion they experienced will draw them to faith in Christ.
Coordinators News 27th February 2017
We have prayed with 36 people. One lady in particular who had been on the streets for 30 years was prayed for and as the team laid hands on her she spoke of what she thought was ‘electricity going through her’ as God ministered His love. The 28 faith conversations provide further evidence of the spiritual hunger waiting to be met each night as we ‘walk in the Spirit’.
This week sees the reopening of our Safe Zone on Saturday night. It has been thrilling to see how ‘God has made a way’ to open the doors again and we look forward to meeting tomorrow night (Tuesday) at 7:15pm to prepare and pray for our first night. This Saturday also sees the next of our regular Prayer Pastors meetings at 11am and it is encouraging to see the way in which this vital ministry is growing and being led effectively and intentionally by Willie Henry.
On Friday 24th February I attended my first Ascension Trust Scotland Directors meeting in Perth! It was great to meet the other directors and catch something of their vision for the work in Scotland. It was also a real pleasure to meet Les Isaac OBE and listen to him speak about ‘Going Deeper’ in 2017 particularly in the area of prayer. He echoed many of the sentiments shared by our own chairman at the In Day about ‘walking and praying’ as we engage in the spiritual battle we face every time we set foot on the streets. I sense this will be a year of many victories won first and foremost in the place of prayer!
Coordinators News 30th January 2017
We recognised those who in the course of the year had stepped down from active service and special mention was made of the retirement of one of our ‘senior’ Street Pastors, John Beresford.
The afternoon was unforgettable with an inspirational message from our chairman Alistair Duncan and then the commissioning of 16 Street Pastors. We were grateful to have Sandy Scrimgeour, CEO of Ascension Trust Scotland with us to lead us through this memorable part of the day. We left with a sense of gratitude to God for what He has done and a sense of excitement and anticipation for the greater things He will do in 2017.
Within a matter of days after our gathering we received £4,500 in grants and other donations, a sign of the favour of God on Glasgow Street Pastors! As we enter a new year of ministry I’m reminded of the words from Micah 6 v 8 ‘He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God’.
As we continue to ‘listen, care and help’ may we do so out of humble dependence on our just and merciful God who calls us to be like Him in all our engagement on the city streets.